U.S. & Dutch Authorities Shut Down International Scam That Bilked Millions From Elderly

U.S. & Dutch Authorities Shut Down International Scam That Bilked Millions From Elderly

Simultaneous legal actions by both the U.S. Department of Justice and Dutch authorities seek to shut down an alleged mail fraud scheme that tricked elderly Americans into paying tens of millions of dollars with the false promise of winning valuable prizes in return. [More]

Spider Mann

Technology That Improves Phones Also Means Scam Calls Are Easy And Dirt Cheap

The same technology that means you can talk to friends or loved ones anywhere in the world for pennies per minute or for free has a harmful downside: it also means that scammers anywhere in the world can call you cheaply, too, using overseas call centers and an utter lack of human empathy to drain the pockets of victims, who are mostly senior citizens. [More]

Ludovic Bertron

New And Improved Version Of Popular ATM Malware Spotted In The Wild

Modern ATMs are just computers attached to machines stuffed with cash, and that means that ATMs can also be infected with malware and viruses. Back in 2009, a piece of malware that could make an ATM spit out cash or give out the card numbers of people who had recently used the machine was found in the wild, the not-very-creatively-named Skimer. Now the security company Kapersky Labs has discovered a new and better (if you’re not a bank or a consumer) version of Skimer out in the wild. [More]


Fortune Teller Admits Stealing Millions From Clients For Lifting Curses

Whether or not you believe in dark curses or not, you shouldn’t be paying someone your hard-earned cash to lift them. The Department of Justice says the former owner of a fortune teller business in Virginia pled guilty in federal court to committing mail fraud and laundering more than $1 million she stole from her victims, after telling them she was clairvoyant and could see into the past and the future.

Here’s What You’ll Find Inside A Real ATM Skimmer Found In Indonesia

Here’s What You’ll Find Inside A Real ATM Skimmer Found In Indonesia

What would you do if you were on vacation abroad, and you found a skimmer attached to an ATM? Security consultant Matt South discovered a camera attachment on an ATM in Bali, Indonesia, and decided to bring it back to his hotel to take it apart. He found a plastic enclosure that contained a modified motion-activated spy camera, and four holes that turned out to be a USB port. [More]

Bill Bradford

Slamming, A Classic ’90s Phone Scam, Is Still Alive And Well

You might remember slamming, or switching someone’s long-distance carrier without their knowledge or permission, as a crime of the years just after phone deregulation, when the idea that one could switch long-distance carriers was novel. It’s a scam that still happens to people with landlines, though, and you should know how to prevent it, and what you should warn landline-having friends and relatives not to do. [More]


Amazon Unintentionally Paying Scammers To Hand You 1000 Pages Of Crap You Don’t Read

For a certain kind of reader — the kind who can go through three books a week easy on her commute, let’s say — an unlimited subscription, wireless, e-book service sounds like a dream come true. That’s what Amazon promises with their Kindle Unlimited service, but the plan may be backfiring — not so much on readers, but on authors and on Amazon itself.


Why Is My House Listed For Rent On Craigslist?

Why Is My House Listed For Rent On Craigslist?

It must be an awkward conversation when you call up a friend to let her know that the house she owns is up for sale on Craigslist, but protecting us from scams is just one of the many purposes that friends serve in our lives. In California, a woman was surprised to learn that her house was listed as a rental on Craigslist, when she had no plans to rent it out. [More]

Scammer Must Repay $7.75M For Running Bogus Prayer Center & Consumer Complaint Service

Scammer Must Repay $7.75M For Running Bogus Prayer Center & Consumer Complaint Service

When facing times of trouble, some people choose to believe in the power of prayer. Others put more trust in their ability to file an official complaint. A Seattle-based scam artist apparently figured he would cover all his bases, operating a trio of bogus companies covering everything from religion to consumer gripes. [More]

(Robert Scoble)

Seagate Employee Falls For CEO W-2 Scam, Sends Everyone’s Personal Information

Snapchat isn’t the only technology company that has fallen victim to the tax-season variation on the classic CEO e-mail scam, where a scammer impersonating the boss asks for all employees’ tax information. An employee at hard drive company Seagate fell into the same trap, sending 2015 tax information for thousands of current and former employees to unknown scammers. [More]


Inspectors In Massachusetts Combing Gas Stations, Other Card Readers For Skimmers

Look out when you’re on the road: police and state standards agencies have noticed a scary trend near highways in New England. Bluetooth card skimmers are appearing on gas pumps and ATMs in New England, slurping up customers’ payment data and beaming it to thieves who may be sitting just around the corner. [More]

Diabolical IRS Phone Scammers Call SWAT Team, Tell Victim They’re There To Collect

Diabolical IRS Phone Scammers Call SWAT Team, Tell Victim They’re There To Collect

IRS phone scams, where the perpetrators call up victims and demand that overdue taxes that they don’t owe be paid by prepaid debit cards, are cruel schemes that vacuum millions of dollars out of the pockets of people who don’t know any better. The only way they could be worse would be if they actually endangered victims’ safety while wasting law enforcement time and taxpayer money. They’ve figured out how to do this. [More]

Ads for these products promised rapid weight loss (without anything to back up that claim), used fake customer testimonials, and promised "risk-free" trials that were all but impossible to get out of.

Scammy Sellers Of AF Plus, Final Trim Weight-Loss Pills Made Millions From Bogus “Risk-Free” Trials

You may have heard radio ads for weight loss supplements named AF Plus and Final Trim, promising “24 hours of fat burning power” and “maximum weight loss,” along with supposed real-world testimonials about how well these pills worked — and how you can try them now through a “risk-free” trial. Problem is, those people in the ads claiming they lost all that weight are just as fictitious as the free trial. [More]

What Does A Grocery Store PIN Pad Skimmer Look Like?

What Does A Grocery Store PIN Pad Skimmer Look Like?

Have you ever wondered how customers could slide their cards through and enter their PINs on a compromised payment terminal without even noticing? While some skimming schemes involve Bluetooth transmitters and require disassembling the device, installing a skimmer can be as simple as snapping an identical part over an existing card reader. [More]


ID Thieves Also Use Call Centers To Outsource Their Scams

We all know that a lot of businesses outsource customer service work to call centers around the world. But what you may not know is that there are also call centers that specialize — and openly advertise — their services in aiding ID theft and other cyber fraud. [More]

(James LeVeque)

Most Scams Use The Same Three Underlying Tactics To Steal Your Money

From fraudsters bilking the elderly by posing as their cash-strapped grandkids, to fake lawyers defrauding immigrants in need of legal help, we’ve covered a wide range of scams on Consumerist. But while there are countless variations on these crimes, they are all based on the same few ideas. [More]

(Jeffrey Beall)

Colorado Investigating Scammers Who Hoard DMV Appointments, Sell Them To Undocumented Residents

When something is free, but it’ll take a long time to get it, there’s always the chance that someone will try to take advantage of the situation to make a profit off impatient people. In Colorado, the attorney general’s office is investigating a scalping scheme that involves scammers hoarding driver’s license appointments with the Department of Motor Vehicles, then turning around and selling them to undocumented residents. [More]

Here’s How To Recognize A Fake Coupon

Here’s How To Recognize A Fake Coupon

Fake coupons: you’ve seen them online. Maybe you’ve even tried to print or share them. Yet at best, you won’t get a discount. At worst, you’ll end up with malware on your computer. How can you tell the difference between a coupon that’s fake and a legit printable online coupon? Here are a few hints. [More]