Scam of the Day

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Scam of the day – September 17, 2023 – Doctors, Nurses and Other Medical Personnel Targeted by Scammers

Most new scams are merely variations of older scam and today’s Scam of the day is one of those.  The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is warning doctors, nurses and other medical personnel of a scam in which the targeted victim receives a phone call from the scammer posing as a deputy sheriff who informs the targeted victim that he or she has missed a court date where he or she was supposed to testify as an expert witness.  The scammer goes on to tell the targeted victim that he or she will be arrested unless they pay a fine by gift cards.  Of course, anytime you are asked to make a payment by way of a gift card, you can be confident it is a scam.  Gift cards are a favorite method of payment for scammers because they are impossible to trace.

The scammer then goes on to tell the targeted victim that the gift cards must be delivered in person to the judge at the local courthouse.  The scammer then insists that they stay on the phone with the targeted victim while he or she purchases the gift cards.  Then, before they can get to the courthouse, the scammer tells the targeted victim that the judge is not available at this time, but that the targeted victim can give the card numbers over the phone to the scammer posing as a law enforcement official.  Gift cards can be readily used online without having the cards in hand so providing the numbers to the scammer is all the scammer needs to access the gift cards.


No government agency accepts payments by gift cards.  It is a sad commentary that the IRS has had to post on its website that it does not accept gift cards.  Additionally, no law enforcement agency will demand a payment over the phone or you will be arrested.

This particular scam has fooled some people by using the names of real law enforcement officers and by spoofing the phone numbers of various law enforcement agencies so that the call appears to be coming from a real law enforcement agency even though it is coming from the scammers phone.  As I have often told you, it is a simple matter for a scammer to manipulate your Caller ID to make a call appear to come from whatever source the scammer wishes.  Trust me, you can’t trust anyone.

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Scam of the day – September 16, 2023 – The Danger of Facebook Farming

We have all seen Facebook postings urging us to click that we “like” them.  Sometimes it is an emotional appeal to show support for a sick child.  Sometimes it is to show support for a political message.  Often it is a post related to a missing child.  Curiously enough, many times the description of the lost child is the same, namely the child is wearing black Converse with red and purpose shoestrings and a zip-up hoodie. Sometimes these appeals are legitimate, but unfortunately sometimes they are not.  Often they are done to take advantage of Facebook’s algorithms that value the popularity measured by likes and shares which then appear on the Facebook pages of more people.  Although the original content liked or shared may appear sincere or entertaining, the scammers who use this technique, which is called “farming,” then are able to change the content to something entirely different from what was originally shared or liked.  This can be done for purposes of sending advertising or gathering marketing information, but, at its worst, it can be used to send malware infected content that can steal personal information from your computer and use it to make you a victim of identity theft.


So what should you do?  Posts that promise some sort of prize for sharing or liking are most likely scams. As for the other scams, you may wish to be a bit skeptical before automatically sharing or liking a post. You may wish to even do a little research yourself to find out if the posting is legitimate.    A 2007 photo of a seven year old Pennsylvania girl with Stage IV cancer posing in her cheerleading uniform has been used numerous times for Facebook farming.  Today that girl is a cancer free teenager whose family is understandably outraged that their daughter’s photograph has been abused by scammers through Facebook farming.

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Scam of the day – September 15, 2023 – Student Loan Debt Relief Scams Increasing

I have written often about phony student loan debt relief companies and with good reason.  More than forty-two million Americans have student loans with an outstanding balance of more than 1.4 trillion dollars so it is no surprise that scammers are focusing their attention on these students and former students through scams that falsely promise to provide debt relief.   Earlier this year, the Supreme Court ruled that President Biden’s program for student loan forgiveness was unconstitutional.  Interest on student loans began accruing again on September 1st and repayments are scheduled to resume in October, leaving many people scrambling as to what to do about their student loans.

As you can imagine many people with large student loans are susceptible to scammers promising to reduce or eliminate student loan debt.  Scammers promoting phony loan forgiveness services are targeting people through robocalls, emails and text messages. The old adage still is true.  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t true.  Many of these student loan debt relief scammers promise quick loan forgiveness, which is unrealistic.  In addition, you should never pay any upfront fees for student loan debt relief assistance.  Those fees are illegal and are a sure indication that you are being scammed.


For information you can trust about federal student loan repayment option, go to .  There you can learn about loan deferments, forbearance, repayment and loan forgiveness programs and there is never an application fee.  If you owe private student loans, contact your loan servicer directly.  You can also look into student loan refinancing rather than consolidating the loans.  Refinancing student loans can result in a lower interest rate.

Also, remember my motto, “trust me, you can’t trust anyone.”  Don’t trust scammers merely because they use names that sound like they are affiliated with the government.  You also should never share your FSA ID with anyone.

Here also is a link to an FTC video that explains student loan scams and what you can do to protect yourself.

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Scam of the day – September 14, 2023 – Bank Text Message Scam

Phony text messaging, called smishing, which  purport to be from your bank is a scam about which I have been warning you for years, but appears to be a scam that is dramatically increasing.  Recently, I received a text message that appeared to come from Citizens Bank which read “Account on hold:  Reason unverifiable profile.  Please update your profile below immediately to avoid blockage.”  A link then appeared in the text message that had no obvious connection to Citizens Bank.

Phony text messages like this can be particularly problematic if you have signed up to receive text message alerts from your bank. Whenever you receive a text message you can never be sure who is really sending it to you, so you should never call a telephone number indicated in the text message, provide information or click on links in such text messages which may either download ransomware malware on to your phone or keystroke logging malware that can lead to your becoming a victim of identity theft.

The best course of action when you receive such a text message, if you have a concern that it may be legitimate, is to merely independently contact your bank to determine whether or not the text message was a scam, but be careful that you do not misdial the telephone number of your bank as some scammers purchase phone numbers similar to those of legitimate banks and credit card companies hoping that they will receive calls from unwary consumers who may have merely misdialed the telephone number of their bank or credit card company.


Regardless of how official such a text message may appear, you should never provide personal information to anyone in response to a telephone call, email or text message because in none of those situations can you be sure that the person contacting you is legitimate.  If you do receive a communication from a bank, government agency or any other person or entity that you think might have a legitimate need for personal information from you, you should call the real entity at a telephone number that you know is legitimate in order to ascertain the truth.

Banks do not call, text or email their customers asking for personal information.  You should always be skeptical of anyone asking for such information.  Of course, if you receive a text message that appears to come from a bank at which you do not have an account, you can be confident it is a scam. If the text message provides for you to respond to stop future texts, don’t do it. Sending such a message to a scammer merely alerts them to the fact that yours is an active phone number.

Finally, although today’s Scam of the day focuses on phony bank text messages, it is a good idea to sign up to receive text alerts from your bank which can be customized for your own particular needs. In regard to the text message that I received, a close examination of the sender would indicate that it came from “Citizen Bank” rather than “Citizens Bank” which is the name of the legitimate bank (and not one at which I have an account.)

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Scam of the day – September 13, 2023 – Bed, Bath & Beyond Sales Scams

For many years Bed, Bath & Beyond was a popular housewares and specialty items store.  I always enjoyed shopping there and if you ever shopped there you may remember their receipts with ream upon ream of coupons.  In any event, the company came upon hard times and declared bankruptcy earlier this year and closed the last of their physical locations in August.  However, the company, which was bought by continues to operate as an online store and therein lies the scam.  Effective scams often have a kernel of truth to lure you in. In this case, people are aware that Bed, Bath & Beyond went bankrupt so they are susceptible to postings on Facebook and other social media that appear to be from Bed, Bath & Beyond offering tremendous  online bargains in their going out of business sale.  If you click on the posts, they take you to a website that appears to be that of Bed, Bath & Beyond.  However, if you purchase anything from the counterfeit site, you don’t get anything in return.


I have often warned you about counterfeit websites.  The less sophisticated ones can be immediately identified by URLs that have nothing to do with the company or poor grammar.  However, some of the counterfeit sites appear quite legitimate and with the use of AI it is even easier for a scammer to create a legitimate looking site.  The best thing to do if you are considering whether to make a purchase from any website that appears to be of a legitimate company is to check if the URL really is that of the company. One way to do this is to go to ICANN which registers domain names and put in the URL of the site you are directed to in order to see if it is owned by the real company or a scammer.  An ICANN lookup will let you know who really owns the particular website.  Here is a link to ICANN’s lookup tool. what appears to be a website of Bed, Bath & Beyond ends up being owned by someone in North Korea, for example,  you know it is a scam.

As for Bed, Bath & Beyond, their website in the United States is and in Canada is

It is also important to point out that whenever you shop whether online or in a brick and mortar store, you should use your credit card rather than your debit card.  The laws protecting you from fraudulent purchases made using your credit card are much stronger than those when you use your debit card.

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Scam of the day – September 12, 2023 – Facebook Marketplace Zelle Scam

Facebook Marketplace is a popular and convenient place for people to buy and sell things so, of course, scammers are drawn to it. Scams on Facebook Marketplace increased 184% last year.  A new scam turning up on Facebook Marketplace starts when you list an item for more than a few hundred dollars.  Shortly thereafter you are contacted by a scammer posing as a legitimate buyer who wants you to use Zelle, Venmo or some other P2P Service to pay you for the item.  Peer to Peer Payment Payment Services (P2P) such a  Zelle are used by many people to quickly and conveniently send money electronically from your credit card or bank account. Sending money through Zelle only requires you to enter the recipient’s phone number or email address.

Then the fun begins (for the scammer).  You next receive an email that purports to have been sent by Zelle indicating that the buyer paid you through a Zelle “business account” and that you need to upgrade your personal Zelle account to a business account in order to receive the payment from the scammer posing as the buyer.  You are then told that in order to upgrade your account, the amount sent to you needs to be increased by $300.  The scammer then tells you that he or she will gladly send you an additional $300 through Zelle in order to enable the transaction if you merely refund the excess payment to them through Zelle.  Of course, soon after refunding the $300, which was never paid by the scammer to begin with, the scam victim realizes he or she has just been scammed out of $300.


Unfortunately, Zelle has proven to be easily exploited by scammers and unlike scams targeting your credit cards directly, you may not have as much protection under the law to get your money back if you do get scammed.   Although the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued guidelines last year indicating that all online money transfers such as this that were done as a scam should be reimbursed by the bank, many banks are refusing to refund money lost by the scam victims.

Following many complaints from scammed Zelle customers about the difficulty in getting their money back from their banks after being scammed, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Robert Menendez contacted EWS, the network that operates Zelle,  telling it that it had to provide “appropriate redress to defrauded customers.”  As I reported to you in a December Scam of the day, it appears that the banks that operate Zelle appear to be close to enacting rules to provide for better protection of consumers from Zelle fraud, however, those new rules have not yet been put into effect.

Also, while Zelle has business accounts, you don’t need to upgrade your account in order to receive a payment from a Zelle business account.  Frankly, I don’t think anyone should use Zelle, Venmo or any of the other P2P services for anything other than sending small amounts to friends and family.  The potential for scams is too great and your ability to get reimbursed is low.

Finally, anytime someone sends you an overpayment for whatever reason and asks for you to send funds back, you should be skeptical as this is always a scam.

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Scam of the day – September 11, 2023 – Phony Amazon Invoice Scam

Shopping on Amazon, has been popular for a long time, but particularly during the continuing pandemic shopping on Amazon has increased dramatically and with so many people shopping on Amazon, scammers are using Amazon as the basis for a variety of scams.  According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Amazon based scams have increased 500% in the last year  I have warned you many times over the years about scammers who send various types of phishing emails which purport to be from Amazon attempting to lure you into either clicking on links which can download malware, such as ransomware or providing personal information that can be used to make you a victim of identity theft.

I recently received an Amazon phishing email that is copied below.  The email below is typical of many of those presently circulating. The latest Amazon phishing scam appears to be an invoice for an Amazon Prime order, which I, of course, did not order.  The phony email contains a telephone number to call if there are issues with your order and that is exactly what the scammer wants you to do, namely call them to dispute the invoice.  If you call the number, you will be asked for personal information that will lead to your becoming a victim of identity theft.

This particular phishing email is very sophisticated.  The grammar is relatively good without glaring errors and the logo used appears legitimate, but it is very simple to counterfeit a legitimate appearing logo.  Often a telltale sign that the email is a part of a scam is that the email address of the sender has absolutely nothing to do with Amazon and that was the situation in this case. All legitimate Amazon emails end in  The email of the sender of this phony email has nothing to do with Amazon and is, most likely, that of someone whose email account was hacked and made a part of a botnet to send out large numbers of scam emails.

It is also noteworthy that neither your name or account number ever appears in the email.

Here is a copy of the email presently being circulated

amazon prime

Shipping Information
Date : April 06, 2022

Dear Customer

Apple MacBook Pro with Apple M1 Chip has been order successfully.
Product Details

Apple MacBook Air Pro with Apple M1 Chip (13-inch, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage) – Space Gray

Arrival Date                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        April 6th to 7th

You can view more details with the   Tracking Editor    Track Your Package                                                                                                                                                                                                   Invoice No: KUYHJ896                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Total : $1148.78

Tax Collected : $97.00

Shipment Total: $1245.78

Your order has been successfully ordered if need any changes please get in touch with us +1(866) 224-3650


While this is a very legitimate appearing email that uses the Amazon logo and is written with acceptable grammar and punctuation, it is clearly a scam.  Never click on a link in an email or text message or provide personal information unless you have confirmed that the email or text message is legitimate. The telephone number to call if you suspect Amazon related fraud is 866-216-1075 or you can call their real customer service number 888-280-4331   Never call the numbers that appears in phishing emails.

Also, because any of us can be scammed, it is a good idea to use dual factor authentication whenever possible to protect your various accounts so that even if someone actually had your password they would not be able to access your account.  In order to set up dual factor authentication for your Amazon account use this link.

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Scam of the day – September 10, 2023 – Delivery Text Message Scam

The Federal Trade Commission is reporting a substantial increase in a scam by which people are receiving text messages that appear to come from UPS, Federal Express or the U.S. Postal Service indicating that there is a package that has been waiting to be delivered and needs to be claimed.   Reproduced below is a copy of one of these text messages.  The text message lures you into clicking on a link to provide information to schedule the delivery.  In one version of this scam the link takes you to what appears to be an Amazon website where you are asked to take a customer satisfaction survey.  You are told that if you will be sent a prize for merely taking the survey and they ask for a credit card number from you to pay for the shipping of your “free” prize.  In other versions of this scam, you are asked under other pretenses for your credit card number for verification purposes.  In both of these instances, the scammer is merely interested in getting your credit card number and making unauthorized charges.  In yet another version of the scam, merely clicking on the link provided will download dangerous malware such as ransomware or keystroke logging malware that can lead to your becoming a victim of identity theft.

Text blurb that says: Thomas, we came across a parcel from March pending for you. Kindly claim ownership and schedule for deliver here: (blurred link).


There are a lot of red flags to indicate that this is a scam.  Many of the text messages don’t provide the name of who they purport to be.  If you got a legitimate message from a delivery service, it would indicate which delivery service was sending you the text message.  In addition, the phone number sending you the text message is generally not a phone number used by the USPS, Federal Express or UPS although more sophisticated criminals would be able to “spoof” the number of these legitimate delivery services to make it appear that the text message was trustworthy.  The bottom line is that you should never click on any link in a text message unless you are absolutely sure and have confirmed that it is indeed legitimate.

If you have any concerns that such a text message might be legitimate, you can do a reverse phone lookup to see who actually owns the phone number used to text you or, more simply, call the USPS, Federal Express or UPS to see if anyone actually did send you such a text message whereupon you will be told that they did not.  Federal Express specifically has indicated that it does not send unsolicited text messages. Neither the USPS nor  UPS will send you a text message unless you have already signed up for their text message service.

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Scam of the day – September 9, 2023 – Nevada Detectives Recover Funds for Victim of Impostor Scam

Impostor scams have long been among the most lucrative for scammers.  While there are many variations of this scam, the most common variations have involved scammers calling their intended victims on the telephone posing as some governmental agency such as the, FBI, IRS or the Social Security Administration.  The scammer then, under a wide variety of pretenses, demands an immediate payment by gift cards, credit card or wired funds. Being asked to pay by gift cards is a definite indication that the call is a scam since no governmental agency requests or accepts payments by gift cards.   Alternatively, the scammer demands the victim supply the phony governmental agent with personal information such as your Social Security number which will then be used for identity theft purposes.

Recently Detectives in Washoe County, Nevada disclosed that they learned of a local resident who had been contacted electronically and by phone by a scammer posing as law enforcement who told the targeted scam victim that his bank account had been linked to criminal activity and that in order to stop the crime, the scam victim had to withdraw the $15,000 he had in his account and deposit it into a designated cryptocurrency account through a Bitcoin ATM.  Fortunately, while the fearful scam victim complied with the directions of the scammers, he also recognized that it was a scam immediately thereafter and promptly notified the police who were able to recover the funds from the Bitcoin ATM.  Washoe County detectives indicated that other country residents have been less fortunate, losing more than $500,000 to this scam already this year.


It is easy to recognize one of these impersonation scams.  Neither the FBI, IRS, SSA or any federal agency will initiate communication with you by a phone call. Neither does any government agency suggest transferring money into cryptocurrency.

As I have often reminded you, through the simple technique of “spoofing” it is very easy for a scammer to manipulate your Caller ID to make a call coming to you appear legitimate when it is not.    Therefore you can never truly trust your Caller ID.  Trust me, you can’t trust anyone. Even though your Caller ID may indicate that the call is coming from the FBI, the IRS or some other government agency the call is coming from a scammer.

As for the scam that snared the Nevada scam victim, no law enforcement officer would ever advise anyone to withdraw their funds and deposit them into a Bitcoin account.  Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are a favorite of scammers because they are readily transferred anonymously.

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Scam of the day – September 8, 2023 – CFPB Settles with Credit Repair Scammers

Credit repair scams are very common as scammers take advantage of people with debt problems and promise to fix their credit and clear their credit reports of adverse information for up front fees. I have been warning you about these scams for eleven years.  Recently the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) entered into a settlement with the companies operating the largest credit repair operations in the country including Lexington Law and  The CFPB alleged that these companies violated a range of violations including demanding illegal advance fees for credit repair services.  According to the terms of the settlement, which still must be approved by a judge, these companies are banned from telemarketing their credit repair services and imposes a 2.7 billion dollar judgment against the defendants.

Your credit report is one of the most important documents in your financial life.  The information in your credit report as maintained by the three major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, TransUnion and Experian is used to calculate your credit score.  This is used by financial institutions to evaluate your creditworthiness and can affect your ability to get a credit card, mortgage loan or a car loan.  It also can affect the rate that you will be charged on such loans.  In addition, your credit score is used in many states by companies in making hiring decisions and landlords consider credit scores when determining whether or not to rent an apartment or home to someone.


Don’t fall prey to scammers operating phony credit repair companies and never pay an upfront fee to one of these companies.  Advance fees for credit repair companies that operate for profit are banned by the Credit Repair Organizations Act.

Negative information on your credit report remains on your credit report for seven years and bankruptcies for ten years.  Anyone who tells you otherwise is just trying to scam you.  Many of the scam credit repair companies use illegal tactics such as applying for a federal employer ID to use as your Social Security number when applying for credit.  This is illegal.

If you need real credit counseling you can go to this section of the Department of Justice’s website where it lists agencies approved to assist consumers with debt problems.    You also may consider contacting companies that are affiliated with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling at this link

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