Scam of the Day

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Scam of the day – May 27, 2022 – Illegal Debt Collection Ring Shut Down

Receiving a telephone call from a debt collector is not a pleasant experience.   I have written many times in the past about scammers who use deceptive and abusive collections practices in attempting to collect debts.  These scammers violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by making threatening and verbally abusive phone calls, contacting third parties about debts and threatening legal action.

Recently the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the New York Attorney General settled its claims against a debt collection organization and its owners.  Under the terms of the settlement, the defendants, who operated under different names including JPL Recovery Solutions are barred from doing debt collection and must pay4 million dollars in penalties.

JPL Recovery and its associated companies engaged in a variety of illegal tactics including threatening people with arrest and imprisonment (you can’t be imprisoned for failing to pay a debt), lying about threatened legal actions, inflating and misrepresenting the amounts owed, using smear campaigns on social media to embarrass their victims, harassing their victims with repeated phone calls and failing to provide legally required disclosures.

TIPS

Subject to strict federal laws, legitimate debt collectors are permitted to call debtors, however, the law prohibits them from threatening imprisonment for the failure to pay a debt.  It can be difficult to know when someone calls attempting to collect a debt if indeed they are legitimate or not, so your best course of action if you receive such a call is to not discuss the debt with the person calling, but instead demand that they send you a written “validation notice” by regular mail which describes the debt they allege you owe and includes a listing of your rights under the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

If you are not a subscriber to Scamicide.com and would like to receive daily emails with the Scam of the day, all you need to do is to go to the bottom of the initial page of http://www.scamicide.com and type in your email address on the tab that states “Sign up for this blog.”

Scam of the day – May 26, 2022 – Watch Out for Scams Related to the Texas School Shootings

Human tragedies such as the murders of at least 19 students and two adults at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas  bring out the best charitable impulses of many people, but unfortunately, they also bring out the worst impulses in scammers who use tragedies such as this to solicit contributions to phony charities and GoFundMe campaigns.

GoFundMe is the most prominent crowdfunding site.  Crowdfunding is the name for  the process by which people raise funds on websites for various projects from movies and books to the development of new businesses and charitable purposes.  Unfortunately, as I have been warning you since 2012, the potential for crowdfunding scams is tremendous.  Last year in Texas, a five year old boy, Raymond Johnson died after a three year battle with cancer.  Incredibly vile criminals promptly set up a GoFundMe account to steal money from sympathetic donors seeking to help out Raymond Johnson’s family.  This illustrates the danger you face when donating funds through GoFundMe although by taking some precautions you can do so safely.  It is important to remember that crowdfunding sites are not charities and many of them take a percentage of your donation as a fee.

TIPS

You may be receiving phone calls, emails or text messages seeking contributions to charities that purport to be helping the families of the victims in Texas, but unfortunately, whenever you receive a phone call, text message or email, you can never be sure that the caller is legitimate.

Charities are not subject to the federal Do Not Call List so even if you are signed up for the federal Do Not Call List, legitimate charities are able to contact you by phone. The problem is that whenever you are get a phone call, you can never be sure as to who is really calling you so you may be contacted either by a fake charity or a scammer posing as a legitimate charity. Using a technique called spoofing, the scammers can manipulate your Caller ID to make it appear that the call is coming from a legitimate charity when it is not. Similarly, when you are solicited for a charitable contribution by email or text message you cannot be sure as to whether the person contacting you is legitimate or not.

Never provide credit card information over the phone to anyone whom you have not called or in response to an email or text message. Before you give to any charity, you should check out the charity with http://www.charitynavigator.org where you can learn whether or not the charity itself is a scam. You can also see how much of the money that the legitimate charity collects actually goes toward its charitable purposes and how much it uses for fund raising and administrative costs.

In addition to charity scams related to the Texas shootings, you can expect to receive emails, text messages and social media posts that purport to provide important information about the shootings. These communications may require you to click on links to obtain the information or videos.  Unfortunately, if you do click on these links you may end up downloading dangerous malware on to your phone or computer.  Never click on links from sources that you have not verified as legitimate.  As for news and information about the Texas shootings, the best thing to do is to limit your sources to respected, legitimate news sources with which you are familiar.

The JOBS Act, a federal law that regulates crowdfunding was enacted in 2013, however it was only in March of 2015 that regulations were issued by the SEC to make the law effective.  Even with these regulations in place, the primary burden of protecting your money in a crowd source donation falls to the individual donors  Check out the person online before making a donation.

One of the good aspects of GoFundMe is its guarantee that if scams are discovered, GoFundMe will refund all donations made to the scammers. Here is a link to GoFundMe’s guarantee. https://support.gofundme.com/hc/en-us/articles/203604704-The-GoFundMe-Guarantee

If you are not a subscriber to Scamicide.com and would like to receive free daily emails with the Scam of the day, all you need to do is to go to the bottom of the initial page of http://www.scamicide.com and type in your email where it states “Sign up for this blog.”

Scam of the day – May 25, 2022 – FTC Settles Lawsuit Against Investment Webinar Company

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has recently settled its lawsuit against Warrior Trading, a company that put on “free” webinars that promised to dhow you “a quick and simple way to get your dream of day-trading success going.”  Warrior Trading promised that you could make $100,000  or more in less than 45 days.  While the initial webinar was free, people taking the webinar were lured into paying thousands for its worthless trading programs.

As a part of the settlement, Warrior Trading is paying three million dollars to the FTC to be refunded to victims of their scam.  As more information becomes available in regard to how to claim a refund if you have been victimized by this scam, I will report it to you.

TIPS

Never rush into any investment or other opportunity being sold through a seminar until you have carefully investigated the people selling their investment or system as well as the investment or system itself.  Always be a bit skeptical as to testimonials which should also be carefully investigated before being relied upon.  Before investing with anyone, you should investigate the person offering to sell you the investment with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Central Registration Depository.  This will tell you if the broker is licensed and if there have been disciplinary procedures against him or her.

Remember my motto, “BS – Be skeptical.”  Take with a grain of salt any testimonials and success stories touted by investment promotors.  Scammers often create phony websites with glowing videos and reviews that are totally bogus.

Do a search engine search of the company’s name with the word “scam” or “complaint” and see what comes up.

It is also important to remember that you should never  invest in something that you do not completely understand.  This was a mistake that many of Bernie Madoff’s victims made.    Day trading, in particular is a very risky investment strategy.  You also may want to check out the SEC’s investor education website at www.investor.gov.  Scammers can be very convincing and it may sound like there is a great opportunity for someone to make some money, but you must be careful that the person making money is not the scam artist taking yours.

If you are not a subscriber to Scamicide.com and would like to receive free daily emails with the Scam of the day, all you need to do is to go to the bottom of the initial page of http://www.scamicide.com and type your email address on the tab that states “Sign up for this blog.”

Scam of the day – May 24, 2022 – Southwest Airlines Ticket Giveaway Scam

More than a million people were fooled by a scam offering free tickets on Southwest Airlines.  The scam originated on a phony Facebook page of “Southwest Air Fans” and was shared by many people.  The Facebook post indicated that Southwest was celebrating its 69th anniversary by giving away free tickets to anyone who responded to the email.  However, if you did respond to the email you were prompted to answer endless surveys.  However, there are no free tickets and if you complete the survey, you turn over information to a scammer who can use it to make you a victim of identity theft.  I reported on this scam in 2017 when the scam first appeared.

In response to the scam, the real Southwest Airlines posted the following on their real Facebook page.

🚨SCAM ALERT🚨
Many of you may have seen this post from a fake account claiming to offer two roundtrip tickets. While we like great flight deals as much as the next airline, this one is unfortunately not real, and wasn’t posted by Southwest Airlines.
Remember to check for that little blue checkmark that verifies whether the account behind the post is genuine! And, for the record, we’re celebrating our 51st anniversary this year, not our 69th. 😉

TIPS
A good starting point for recognizing that this is a scam is the fact that Southwest Airlines only began in 1967, so it is a long way off from its 69th birthday.

These types of scams entice people to share and like the posting in order to take advantage of Facebook’s algorithms that value the popularity of postings measured by likes and shares which then appear on the Facebook pages of more people.  Scammers are able to change the content of what is shared or liked to something entirely different through a technique called “farming.”  This is often done in order to send advertising or gather marketing information, but it also can be done to send malware infected content that can steal personal information from your computer and use it to make you a victim of identity theft.

When you see one of these “too good to be true” offers, the best course of action is to check with the company’s legitimate website where you will learn whether or not the offer is indeed legitimate.

If you are not a subscriber to Scamicide.com and would like to receive free daily emails with the Scam of the day, all you need to do is sign up for free using this link. https://scamicide.com/scam-of-the-day/

Scam of the day – May 22, 2022 – Vacation Home Rental Scams

After two years of the pandemic the summer of 2022  is shaping up to be one where many people will be traveling.  Renting vacation homes rather than going to hotels appears to be particularly popular this year.  There are many excellent websites  such as VRBO and Homeaway that offer wonderful vacation homes.  Many people will also go to Craigslist and other similar sites.  These websites can be easy and efficient ways to find a great vacation home.

Unfortunately, they are also a great way for scam artists to steal money from unwary people looking for a vacation home.  The scam usually starts with a listing that looks quite legitimate and there is a good reason for that.  The listing is often a real on-line listing that has been copied by the scammer who merely puts in his or her name and contact information.  The price is usually very low which attracts a lot of potential renters.  The potential renters are sometimes told that the owner is out of the country and that there are many people interested in the property so if the tenant wants to be considered for renting it, the tenant has to wire money to the landlord somewhere outside of the country.  As I have warned you many times, wiring money is a scammer’s first choice because it is all but impossible to retrieve once you have found out that you have been scammed.  Too often, unwary potential tenants wire the money and never hear anything further from the scam landlord.  And as for the money, it is gone forever.

TIPS

There are a number of red flags to look for in vacation home rental scams.  First, as always, if the price is too good to be true, it usually is just that – not true.  Also be wary of landlords who are out of the country.

Never send your payment by a wire transfer, Zelle or a cashier’s check.  Use a credit card, PayPal or any other payment system with which you can retrieve your funds if the transaction is fraudulent.  It is usually best to deal with websites that specialize in vacation homes, but you must remember that they cannot possibly monitor every listing to ensure that it is legitimate.

A great and easy way to determine if the listing is a scam is to check out who really is the owner by going on line to the tax assessor’s office of the city or town where the property is located and look up who the real owner is.  If it doesn’t match the name of the person attempting to rent you the home, you should not go through with the rental.  Also Google the name of the owner with the word “scam” next to his or her name and see if anything comes up to make you concerned.

If you are not a subscriber to Scamicide.com and would like to receive free daily emails with the Scam of the day, all you need to do is sign up for free using this link. https://scamicide.com/scam-of-the-day/

Scam of the day – May 21, 2022 – Room Service Scam Costs Family $6,000

Some scams are just so simple and effective that they remind us why scam artists are indeed the only criminals we refer to as artists.  An old scam that is still being used effectively by scammers involves a flyer under your door in your hotel or motel room that purportedly is an advertisement for a local pizza parlor or in the recent case of one family, a phony room service menu slid under the door.  The flyer gives a telephone number for the pizza parlor which conveniently delivers to your room or, again in this particular case the phone number for the hotel’s room service.

All you need to do is call the number, give them a credit card and they will promptly send you your fresh pizza or other food.  Unfortunately, it is a scam.  There is no pizza parlor and this is not the real room service telephone number  The scammers have merely gone through the hotel and put their flyers under the doors.  They then just wait for the telephone calls, steal your credit card number and use it to make charges to your card.

Making matters even worse is that the family that recently got scammed used a debit card which allowed the scammers to steal $6,000 from their bank account.

TIPS

A good rule to follow is not to order any food from a restaurant that puts flyers under the door of your hotel or motel room and don’t trust a room service menu that has been slid under your door.  In regard to the pizza parlor or other restaurant you can confirm through the telephone book, online or even with a quick call to the clerk at the front desk as to whether the particular restaurant described in the flyer is legitimate and whether indeed the telephone number is their actual number.  Sometimes the scammers will use the name of a real restaurant, but substitute their phony telephone number.  Never order or provide your credit card unless you have independently confirmed both that the restaurant is real and the telephone number is accurate.

As for room service, you can easily access them through the appropriate button on the room landline or through the number indicated in the booklet found in the room containing information about the hotel.

Finally, as I have often warned you, the protection you get from fraud when using your debit card is far less than what you get when using your credit card so you should never use your debit card for anything other than an ATM card.

If you are not a subscriber to Scamicide.com and would like to receive  free daily emails with the Scam of the day, all you need to do is to go to the bottom of the initial page of http://www.scamicide.com and type in your email address in the tab that states “Sign up for this blog.”

Scam of the day – May 20, 2022 – FCC Enacts New Rules To Curb Robocalls

Over the years I have written numerous times about the problems presented by robocalls and with good reason.  Automated robocalls which, for commercial purposes, are illegal, are the number one consumer complaint reported by the public to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at a cost to consumers of billions of dollars each year. Robocalls are used by scammers to perpetrate a wide variety of scams.  The ease by which illegal robocalls may be made by computers using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) accounts for much of the problem.

Yesterday the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) enacted long overdue rules that will require that gateway providers which are the relatively small group of telecom providers that help transmit calls that originate out of the country through VoIP technology into the American telephone network to register with the FCC and adopt protocols to reduce illegal robocalls including protocols to monitor illegal calls and block phone companies that have been identified as transmitting illegal robocalls.  A failure to enact and enforce such rules could lead to the FCC banning such companies from accessing the American telephone network.

TIPS

The best place to find a helping hand is generally at the end of your own arm so regardless of federal rules, there are a number of options we all have for preventing robocalls including a number of apps that for free or a small fee will  reduce and, in some instances prevent, robocalls.

Samsung’s SmartCall informs you if the call you are receiving is from a known robocaller. This feature is available with newer Samsung Galaxy phones. Here is a link to information about SmartCall and instructions as to how to activate this app.
http://www.samsung.com/levant/apps/smart-call/

Google also has a spam blocker that will warn you when you are receiving a robocall and your screen will turn red. Here is a link to information about the app and how to install it.
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.dialer&hl=en

AT&T also offers free apps to block robocalls on iPhones and Android phones. Here is a link to information about these apps.
https://www.att.com/features/security-apps.html?partner=LinkShare&siteId=TnL5HPStwNw-yrUS1uDw9WGvN._xt67yew&source=ECay0000000CEL00O

Verizon’s CallerName ID is a free service for iPhones and Android phones that will alert you to suspected robocallers. Here is a link to Verizon’s app.
https://www.verizonwireless.com/solutions-and-services/caller-name-id/

T-Mobile offers a free scam blocker of known robocallers for Android phones which you can activate by merely dialing #662#

Sprint offers a paid service to protect your iPhone or Android phone from robocalls. For more information, use this link
http://explore.t-mobile.com/callprotection

Finally, you can just choose to ignore any calls that come from numbers you do not recognize.   This is a good option.  If they are legitimate calls, they will leave a message and you can call them back.

If you are not a subscriber to Scamicide.com and would like to receive free daily emails with the Scam of the day, all you need to do is sign up for free using this link. https://scamicide.com/scam-of-the-day/

Scam of the day – May 18, 2022 – Buffalo Shooting Charity Scams

As we have seen far too often, scammers are quite capable of taking whatever is happening in society and turning it into an opportunity to scam people.  Natural disasters such as hurricanes and wildfires are taken advantage of by scammers in a variety of ways and now we are seeing scammers taking advantage of the horrific racially motivated murders of ten people in a supermarket in Buffalo, New York to fashion a variety of scams.

You may be receiving phone calls, emails or text messages seeking contributions to charities that purport to be helping the families of the victims, but unfortunately, whenever you receive a phone call, text message or email, you can never be sure that the caller is legitimate.

Charities are not subject to the federal Do Not Call List so even if you are signed up for the federal Do Not Call List, legitimate charities are able to contact you by phone. The problem is that whenever you are get a phone call, you can never be sure as to who is really calling you so you may be contacted either by a fake charity or a scammer posing as a legitimate charity. Using a technique called spoofing, the scammers can manipulate your Caller ID to make it appear that the call is coming from a legitimate charity when it is not. Similarly, when you are solicited for a charitable contribution by email or text message you cannot be sure as to whether the person contacting you is legitimate or not.

In addition to charity scams related to the murders, you can expect to receive emails, text messages and social media posts that purport to provide important information about the killings  These communications may require you to click on links to obtain the information or videos.  Unfortunately, if you do click on these links you may end up downloading dangerous malware on to your phone or computer.  Never click on links from sources that you have not verified as legitimate.  As for news and information about the Buffalo murders, the best thing to do is to limit your sources to respected, legitimate news sources with which you are familiar.

TIPS

Never provide credit card information over the phone to anyone whom you have not called or in response to an email or text message. Before you give to any charity, you should check out the charity with http://www.charitynavigator.org where you can learn whether or not the charity itself is a scam. You can also see how much of the money that the legitimate charity collects actually goes toward its charitable purposes and how much it uses for fund raising and administrative costs.

If you are not a subscriber to Scamicide.com and would like to receive free daily emails with the Scam of the day, all you need to do is to go to the bottom of the initial page of http://www.scamicide.com and type in your email where it states “Sign up for this blog.”

  • Categories

Archives