Anyone who’s seen the aftermath of a car-on-deer collision knows the scene is far from a pretty one. But officials in Pennsylvania say a group of 41 scammers took the time to stage similar gory tableaus to fake single-car accidents and defraud insurance companies out of $5 million total. [More]
Frauds and scams are awful and when it comes to your money, of course a service like PayPal is expected to protect customers from such shenanigans. But the company’s infamous process of filtering frauds has also proven difficult for customers trying to prove they actually are who they are in the past. That’s all changing now, says PayPal. [More]
CBS’s The Early Show aired a segment last Friday about counterfeit holiday lights and extension cords, mostly from China and mostly available at dollar stores, that can cause fires. The problem is that the manufacturers use shoddy materials, and sometimes even fake UL stickers, to give the impression that they’re following safety guidelines. You find out they’re not when your tree goes up in flames.
The smaller versions of Madoff are still out there, convincing people to hand over their savings for foolproof investments that don’t actually exist, but every once in a while the authorities nab another one. This week it’s Philip G. Barry, a Brooklyn-based guy who operated out of my own neighborhood and happened to run a pornography business.
Cash4Gold has an important message that they want us in the media to bring to the public. As the most respected name in direct-to-consumer gold ripoffs, Cash4Gold is “greatly concerned” that other entities are fraudulently using their good name for in-person gold-buying events.
Christine is looking for a new job, and she found this neat little credit report scam. The scam is pretty transparent in this case, but we thought we’d put it out there as a reminder anyway. Remember, if you want a truly free credit report, only use annualcreditreport.com. Everything else comes with a hidden cost or enrollment in a billed membership—and if a potential employer inists on a specific “free” service that isn’t free when you read the fine print, you can be pretty sure it’s a scam.
ArsTechnica reports that a judge has ordered Neovi, the company behind Qchex, to immediately stop offering their service, which allowed people to create and send checks drawn on any bank so long as they provided the account info. As you can imagine, this led to abuse by scammers who would use Qchex to create fraudulent checks.
They met Rempel the next day with a suitcase. They said it had $10.6 million in shrink-wrapped U.S. bills. Rempel wanted more proof. His new friends pulled out one bill and “cleansed” it with a liquid “formula,” which washed off some kind of stamp. Rempel was told that process made the money “legal tender.”
“Lisa” writes, “I recently found out that I was a victim of identity theft.” What shocked her, and us as well, is that after Capital One notified her that they’d approved the card with another address, they followed up by sending their fraud claim to the criminal’s address instead of Lisa’s.
Timothy, our hapless eBay seller who kept having problems listing his laptop on the auction site, was contacted by a Real Live Human from eBay the day after we posted his story. “Garrison” apologized for the frustration, and said he’d be making a note on Timothy’s account to keep it from getting shut down by other agents. He also suggested several listing options that were pretty well-covered by our commenters in the original thread.
SmartMoney has come up with five new spins on classic scams to watch out for in 2008: “The financial woes and natural disasters of 2007 have armed scammers with plenty of new tricks—or resourceful spins on old ones—aimed at separating you from your cash.”
The cult of personality that is Ukranian ubermensch Aleksey Vayner requires an entire new set of Internet tools to keep tabs on it.
The cock just keeps rocking at the H&R Block terrordome.
“Help me, Obi-Wan Consumerist. You’re my only hope.”
An American preacher on Crusade [sic] in Africa offers an unusal come-on to Lesotho’s poor: he cures AIDS.
“The banking industry is less than halfway through this latest scam, which will continue to affect large numbers of cardholders.”