We are not experts and any and all things paranormal, but perhaps auras are a thing, and perhaps it is possible for one person to repair another’s aura and prevent bad things from happening to them. However, it seems unlikely to us that it’s possible to do so by giving the “psychic” all of your savings and family heirlooms to watch over for you. And yet, someone tried this, and someone fell for it. [More]
Tax refunds put large amounts of money in peoples’ hands, meaning tax season provides opportunities for con artists to prey on unsuspecting marks. The Internal Revenue Service is attempting to get ahead of the game by sending out warning signs of potential scams in a press release sent through the Better Business Bureau.
When was that first time you saw a scam or ripoff? That first time the rock was lifted up and you saw that dark potential of human nature squiggling and squirming underneath? Mine was on the steps of the Met in New York City.
It’s bad enough that banks have been negligent at implementing the government’s loan modification program, but now a BoA mortgage loan officer is being sued for making extra money illegally on struggling homeowners. According to the Boston Globe, a new lawsuit claims the employee was demanding as much as $1,500 from each borrower before offering help foreclosure help, and routing the funds through his own company, Foreclosure Alternatives. The lawsuit also alleges that the man falsely represented himself as an attorney for BoA.
Nick received an automated call from some scammy outfit this morning that told him his debit card had been deactivated. The scam looks simple enough, but it’s probably worth looking at as a reminder to others.
This weekend was supposed to be the Boston 411 Spring Home & Bridal Show, but it was cancelled at the last minute. Now police are saying that the entire thing was an elaborate scam that pulled in money from attendees and vendors, raking in more than $150,000 over the past five months. The scammers used a website, Facebook page and Twitter account to promote the event, used PayPal to accept payments, sold fake hotel room reservations and issued fake conference passes. Boston police and the FBI are investigating, but so far nobody has been taken into custody.
I bet if some guy approaches you on the street right as you’re about to walk into your bank or credit union and asks you to cash a check for him, you’d say no. That’s a good idea. Apparently at least two people in Madison, Wisconsin thought they were doing a good deed and helped the man out. It turns out that the checks were drawn on a closed bank account in Atlantic City, NJ.
The Federal Trade Commission has a website at www.ftc.gov/jobscams with information on the types of scams you’re likely to find in Help Wanted listings. They’ve also put together a short video (below) that describes how scammers try to charge job hunters fees to pay for job certification, or to provide access to executive-level interviews, or to acquire study materials that are supposedly crucial to passing a hiring exam. It’s a good refresher course in what to look out for when you’re answering ads.
I like flowcharts because they appeal to the part of me that wants to be a robot. I also like them because they make multi-step decision paths incredibly simple to follow, even if you don’t have a lot of insight into the big picture. This flowchart from LoginHelper.com will help even your PowerPoint-slideshow-forwarding relative (yes, that one) shoot down phishers as soon as they hit the In Box.
The next time you stay at a bed and breakfast and you see a kindly old couple lingering in the common room after breakfast, be suspicious! The Wolffs have been scamming inns, hotels, rented homes, and bed & breakfasts since 2005, reports the Boston Globe. They offer to pay via check, and until recently–when they stayed in one place so long that they were still around when the check bounced–nobody ever thought they might be pulling a fast one. They’re due in court this month for defrauding several inns over the past summer.
The UK website Scam Detectives has published a two-part interview with a self-described former Nigerian 419 scammer. Take all of this a healthy dose of skepticism–the author admits he has no way of verifying if anything the guy says is true. Oh, and the reason I call it a short interview is because halfway through the second call, the author tells the scammer he doesn’t like him and wants to hang up. Before that happens, though, you get to read about foot soldiers, something called a wash wash, and the response rate on scam email blasts.
In the wide world of scams, this combination of a phone call and computer malware is sort of a novel twist. Jay likes to string phone scammers along to waste their time, so he managed to get quite a few details about how this particular scam works. If you’ve got naive family members with access to computers, either take away their computers or tell them never to download software from a stranger on the phone.
Hopefully most of you know better than to ever accept a check from a stranger, but I think it’s always good to share horror stories like this one to remind people of why it’s a bad idea. The problem is, if you deposit a check that turns out to be fake, you’re the one who will be held responsible for it. Unlike credit card theft, there’s no law or rule in place to protect you from check fraud or advance fee fraud–and your bank doesn’t want to be left holding the bag any more than you do.
The Real Hustle shows two methods fraudsters can use to jack your ATM card and PIN. The first is the skimming method most of us are familiar with. The second is a lo-tech distraction-based method that, while interesting, seems a little higher risk than most card thieves are willing to put up with.
We all like to think we’re basically scam-proof, and that our reason and skepticism will protect us from even the most talented hustlers. More likely, we just haven’t encountered those hustlers yet.
Apple just swung the banhammer pretty hard at Molinker, a development company, after a customer named Patrick Timney pointed out that the majority of reviews on Molinker apps were fake. Until yesterday, the company had 1,011 apps on the App Store, mostly easy-to-knock-out travel guides for 99 cents each. Now they’re all gone, and Apple’s VP Phil Schiller told iPhoneography, “Yes, this developer’s apps have been removed from the App Store and their ratings no longer appear either.”
The Centers for Disease Control have issued a warning that there’s a new, swine flu-themed phishing email going around. It says something about an imaginary State Vaccination H1N1 Program, and asks you to create an account on the cdc.gov website–and if you click the link, malicious code may be installed on your system. Obviously you have brain worms if you fall for this.