Some strange things happened to Rob’s Skype account recently, Scammers drained his account balance and tried to steal money from his credit card, too. While his credit card remained untouched, and his account is now secure, he’d still like that stolen balance back. Skype is awfully sorry, but he’s not going to get that money back.
We’d heard that credit card information can fetch as little as $1.50 on the open market, but we never really thought about what the experience of actually purchasing the info was like. Well, it turns out that buying a stolen credit card is a process riddled with fees. Who knew?
Here’s a tip to anyone looking to squat in a foreclosed home — People probably won’t believe you if you tell them you purchased the property from Yahweh (aka God, aka Big Man in the Sky). It’s a lesson a Montana man learned this week after being convicted of not only illegally living in a home that wasn’t his, but also trying to use it as collateral for a loan.
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.
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.
Todd got ripped off by a scammer on an eBay purchase. He made sure to insure the device before shipping it off via the United States Postal Service, but it turns out that an insurance claim won’t help him get PayPal to step up.
Robert usually writes about energy and the environment on his blog. However, he recently ran into a scammer online, and surprised the scammer by fighting back:
After I didn’t roll over for him, he resorted to sending me numerous threats and harassing e-mails, going so far as to threaten harm to my elementary school aged son. I wasn’t about to let him get away with this.
The website Consumer Affairs (which is not related to us or our owners in any way) is warning people in Oregon to watch out for calls from people asking for donations on behalf of local police or fire departments. It’s a good reminder to everyone that telephone solicitations should be ignored: “At best, the solicitor will probably take the lion’s share of your donation. At worst, the caller is an outright fraud,” the site reports.
Here’s another reason to have a sit-down with your elderly relatives and make them promise that if they ever, ever find out they’ve won some money in a lottery they didn’t enter, they should tell family members immediately.
Last week, a customer in Long Beach, New York, discovered a skimmer attached to the outside of a local ATM branch instead of on specific machines. We’ve talked a lot about being wary of any suspicious add-ons at the ATM, but in this case the criminals were collecting card info as people swiped to enter the building—although they still had pinhole cameras set up to record PINs next to each keypad.
Yesterday, as part of “Operation Loan Lies,” the FTC and 19 states filed 189 lawsuits, cease-and-desist orders, and other legal actions to shut down loan modification consultants who prey on desperate homeowners. The scammers offer to help solve foreclosure problems for a hefty fee; instead, they fail to modify the loan at all while collecting payments for their services, sometimes even encouraging homeowners to stop communicating with their lenders completely or to send payments to the consultants instead of the bank.
The Census is starting up again, and the Better Business Bureau wants to remind people to use reason and caution when answering the door. You’re required by law to answer Census questions, but scammers may pose as legit Census workers and take advantage of the situation. “Law enforcement in several states have issued warnings that scammers are already posing as Census Bureau employees and knocking on doors asking for donations and Social Security numbers.” Here’s how to identify a real U.S. Census worker.
When some lowlife tried to scam Andy the other day through his friend’s hijacked Gmail account, Andy tried to get him to use PayPal, and he came up with a great reason why. “It’s the fastest way to send money,” Andy told the scammer. “Once I deposit the funds, you can print it out of any color printer and it’s real money!” Another reader was so amused by it that she decided to use it on her own Facebook scammer earlier today.