The Apartment Rental Credit Check Scam Is Alive And Well

Six years ago, we alerted the world to the apartment rental credit check scam. That’s a scheme where apartments or houses that may or may not exist are advertised on Craigslist or other classified ad sites to sell not-so-free credit checks to prospective renters. Unfortunately, in spite of our campaign and warnings right on Craigslist ads, these schemes are alive and well. [More]

(Misfit Photographer)

How To Avoid Getting Scammed When You Sell A Timeshare

Timeshare vacation properties are a strange market: there’s always someone ready to try to sell you fractional ownership in a vacation property, but it’s much harder to unload a property when you don’t want it anymore. That’s why, if someone approaches you to help sell a timeshare, you should be wary and know who you’re dealing with. [More]


Police Chief Totally Messes With Phone Scammer Telling Him He’s Won $7K From The Government

A scammer peddling magical $7,000 rewards from the government chose the wrong person to try to dupe: A police chief in Indiana filmed his phone on speaker while a stranger explained to him that yes, the government does just give people “free grant money” for no reason, and that he could get his money at Western Union. [More]

Reminder: Don’t Fall For The Walmart Mystery Shopper Scam

Reminder: Don’t Fall For The Walmart Mystery Shopper Scam

Almost exactly four years ago, we first warned you about the Walmart Mystery Shopper Scam, in which con artists offer their potential victims employment as undercover quality assurance inspectors who get paid to shop. Yet scammers continue to try running this ruse, so we figured it was a good time for a reminder. [More]

(Kenny Louie)

Fake Cop Wants Prepaid PayPal Cards To Make Your Warrant Go Away

Here’s an innovative scam that’s been reported near St. Louis, and could soon come to a doorstep near you. Victims report receiving a phone call from someone who identifies himself as a local police officer, who tells the target that they’ve missed a court date, and must pay up within an hour or an officer will immediately arrive to arrest them. While the threat of being arrested is scary, this is not an actual thing that happens. [More]

Not the psychic involved. (Ron Dauphin)

Lovelorn Man Claims Fortune Teller Scammed Him Out Of $700,000

While many of us would love a glimpse into the future, one man says he was scammed out of a hefty sum of money in his attempt to find out what was keeping him from finding romantic bliss, saying he forked over $700,000 to a fortune teller only to find that his expensive efforts were all in vain. [More]

Scammer Convinces Tourists To Pay $409 For Free Staten Island Ferry Tickets

Scammer Convinces Tourists To Pay $409 For Free Staten Island Ferry Tickets

It costs a lot of money driving into New York City through the Hudson River tunnels or over the George Washington Bridge, and subways and cabs certainly aren’t free. So you can’t fault tourists who assume they have to pay to ride the free Staten Island Ferry — but more than $200 per ticket? [More]

A Legitimate Car Seller Will Not Ask For Payment In Amazon Gift Cards

A Legitimate Car Seller Will Not Ask For Payment In Amazon Gift Cards

As gift cards go, Amazon gift cards are pretty flexible: they’re available in any amount and can be used for a wide variety of merchandise. You can even use them to buy imaginary cars. At least, that’s what happened to a Michigan man who thought that he was buying a car that was in Montana, but was in fact sending four thousand bucks into a scamtastic void. [More]

Watch Company Collects $1 Million On Kickstarter, Spends It All, Then Hides

Watch Company Collects $1 Million On Kickstarter, Spends It All, Then Hides

Kickstarter is not, and never has been, a store. Yet companies that use the platform to fund the production of a new product are eventually supposed to, um, make that product. Backers who contributed more than a million dollars to produce thin e-ink watches want answers from the company that promised these watches, and they aren’t satisfied with “we’re broke” as an answer. [More]

Our forensic artist's recreation of the crime.

Scammer Dad Uses Daughter To Sell Nonexistent Girl Scout Cookies Door-To-Door

It’s a pretty common sight every year to see parents escorting their Girl Scout daughters around the neighborhood, ringing doorbells and trying to move as many Samoas and Tagalongs as possible. So the residents of one Pennsylvania town didn’t think twice when a man who grew up in the area came around with his youngster to sell Girl Scout cookies — that is, until those treats never materialized. [More]

Fake Waitress Steals Diner’s Credit Card, Goes On Spending Spree Next Door At Target

Fake Waitress Steals Diner’s Credit Card, Goes On Spending Spree Next Door At Target

How many times have you put your credit card out to pay for a restaurant meal and had an employee other than your server pick it up? It’s not uncommon, especially in busier eateries, so some diners wouldn’t think twice when it happens. At least until the card hasn’t been returned because the helpful “waitress” who took it is actually at the Target across the parking lot making purchases with it? [More]

(Mike Mozart)

Cops Using GPS To Track Credit Card-Skimming Devices Back To Scammers

For years, we’ve been telling you about credit card skimming devices that collect the information on your card when you swipe at places like ATMs and gas pumps. The common-sense thing to do when finding a skimmer is to remove it. And while that prevents anyone else from being victimized, the scammers who hooked up the illegal device are rarely caught. That’s why some police are now leaving gas pump card skimmers in place but adding a GPS tracker to follow the skimmer back to its criminal creators. [More]

(Jim Perry)

FTC Halts Mortgage Relief Operation Targeting Consumers In Foreclosure

Financially distressed consumers on the brink of foreclosure have enough to worry about without having to be on the lookout for shady mortgage relief companies making hollow promises to save their homes. Today, the Federal Trade Commission put an end to an operation that took advantage of homeowners’ vulnerabilities. [More]


How Scammers Trick You Into Giving Up That Security Code On The Back Of Your Credit Card

There are a lot of purchases you can make with the information on the front of a credit card. But ID thieves who have the card number, name, and expiration date will still hit a speedbump if they have to enter that (usually 3-digit) security code on the back of a victim’s card. Notice that we said “speedbump” and not “dead end,” because some scammers have figured out how to get this crucial info from their victims. [More]

Google launched a new tool today that sends alerts to users when they enter their log-in information into a site that isn't actually from Google.

Google Launches New Tool To Protect Consumers’ Password Security

Sometimes cyber criminals do such a good job camouflaging their ploys to steal consumers’ personal information that you might not recognize that the site you just entered your password on isn’t a legitimate login page. In an effort to combat such ruses, Google has created a new tool for its Chrome browser that aims to ensure users’ passwords don’t end up in the hands of ne’er do wells. [More]

(Tara Chavez)

Telemarketer Penalized $3.4M For Scamming Elderly Into Paying For Unwanted Medical Alert Service

Two years ago, the Federal Trade Commission shut down a Brooklyn-based telemarketing scheme that bullied elderly consumers into paying for a medical alert service they never ordered or wanted. Now a federal court has hit the telemarketer’s repeat-offender operator with a $3.4 million penalty. [More]

Robocalling Phantom Debt Collector Accused Of Harassing, Defrauding Consumers

Robocalling Phantom Debt Collector Accused Of Harassing, Defrauding Consumers

People hate debt collectors, perhaps as much as, if not more than, they despise robocalls from telemarketers. And phantom debt collectors — those who attempt to collect debts that aren’t owed to them, if at all — are among the worst of the bunch. So when you combine the automated recorded messages of robocalls with the incessant harassment of phantom debt collectors, you create a particularly loathsome Frankenstein’s monster. [More]

A notario público courts customers on the side of a building. This example of notario advertising was provided by the American Bar Association's Commission on Immigration.

How ‘Notario’ Fraud Preys On Language Differences & Can Result In Unfair Deportation

While the news is filled with reports of various frauds perpetrated on American consumers, one particularly nasty scam doesn’t make as many headlines because it preys almost exclusively on recent Spanish-speaking immigrants who think they are paying for quality legal advice but instead get someone with nothing more than a notary stamp. [More]