Search Scams

Scam of the day – April 6, 2022 – FTC Refunding Millions to Victims of Business Coaching Scam

In 2018 I first told you that the FTC sued nine corporations and three individuals involved in the selling of business education products online, through direct mail and at live events. They operated under the acronym MOBE which stands for My Online Business Education and promised to provide a “simple 21-step” system that would make their customers wealthy with little effort or skills. While initial registration in the system only cost about $49, victims of the scam were lured into enrolling in higher membership levels at a cost of as much as $29,997.

read more

Scam of the day – April 5, 2022 – How to Use Zelle, Venmo and other P2P Services Safely

Peer to Peer Payment Payment Services (P2P) such as Zelle, Venmo, ApplePay, PayPal, Square Cash and PopMoney are popular ways to quickly and conveniently send money electronically from your credit card or bank account. These services are used by 113 million Americans. These services also provide easy ways to be scammed 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. Zelle which originated in 2017 is operated by a consortium of banks and appears on your mobile banking app. Sending money through Zelle only requires you to enter the recipient’s phone number or email address. In addition to scammers luring their victims to pay for worthless items through P2P services, scammers have also been sending phishing emails and text messages in which they lure their victims into providing their Zelle usernames, passwords and PINs to take over their victims’ bank accounts through their Zelle accounts.

read more

Scam of the day – April 4, 2022 – Watch Out – You Can’t Trust Alexa

For years I have warned you about phony tech support scams  done by scammers who establish bogus tech support websites for your favorite tech companies, such as Facebook and Instagram.  By manipulating the algorithms used by Google and other search engines, the scammers manage to get their bogus websites into top positions in Google and other search engine searches.  These phony tech support websites are used to scam you out of money or personal information which they use to make you a victim of identity theft.  Scammers also use similar tactics to scam people looking for help with the repair of common household appliances, such as refrigerators and washing machines.

read more

Scam of the day – April 3, 2022 – Apartment Rental Scams Getting Worse

Recently , the Ludington, Michigan police department issued a warning about an increase in the number of apartment rental scams and although this warning was limited to the Ludington area, these scams are occurring everywhere.  Since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, more and more people have been going online looking for home and apartment rentals rather than meeting with landlords in person.  Fortunately, there are many online listings of legitimate real estate agents and landlords.  These websites can be easy and efficient ways to locate a home. However, unfortunately there are also many scammers attempting to rent apartments to you that they do not own. 

read more

Scam of the day – April 2, 2022 – Beware of Identity Thieves Posing as TurboTax

With the due date for filing you federal income tax return rapidly approaching, many people are filing their taxes at this time with almost 94% of individual income tax returns being filed electronically.  TurboTax is a popular online tax preparation service and so identity thieves will take advantage of that popularity and call people posing as TurboTax employees informing the targeted victim that his or her electronically filed income tax return has been rejected by the IRS.  The identity thief then attempts to lure you into providing personal information including your Social Security number that will be used to make you a victim of identity theft.

read more

Scam of the day – April 1, 2022 – Move Over Mavis, Here Come the Websters Giving Away Lottery Winnings (Not)

But move over Mavis, here come Tammy and Cliff Webster who won 316 million dollars in a Powerball drawing earlier this year.  Scammers posing as the Websters are sending emails to people informing them that the Websters are giving away millions and that the people receiving the email out of the blue are going to be the lucky recipients of millions.  As in the Mavis Wanczyk scams, if you respond to the email in which you are told of your good fortune you will either end up paying fees for a gift you never receive or you provide personal information that is used to make you a victim of identity theft.  Either way you lose.

read more

Scam of the day – March 31, 2022 – Verizon Text Message Scam

Many Verizon customers are reporting receiving an odd text message that appears to have been sent from the customer’s own phone number.  It reads “Free Msg: Your bill is paid for March.  Thank, here’s a little gift for you.”   The message contains a link for you to click on to get your “gift.”  The message isn’t coming from your phone, but is made to appear to have been sent from your phone by using a technique called “spoofing” which enables the person sending the message to disguise the real number sending the message and make it appear to come from whatever number the sender wishes.  

read more

Scam of the day – March 30, 2022 – New Venmo, PayPal and Cash App IRS Regulations Will Be Bringing Scams

The IRS enacted new regulations that became effective on January 1, 2022 that requires third party payment networks such as Venmo, PayPal and Cash App to send users an IRS 1099-K form for transactions done each year.  Previously a 1099-K was only required to be sent if gross payments were more than $20,000 for the year or more than 200 transactions were done during the year.  The purpose of the change in the law was to make sure that such transactions were properly documented on the income tax returns of the users of these networks, particularly gig workers and contract workers.

Under the new law, people receiving payment for goods and services through these third party networks will be asked for their Social Security number in order to have their payments processed.  This will certainly lead to identity thieves sending text messages and emails to people to trick them into providing their Social Security number or to lure them into clicking on malware infected links.  The identity thieves may pose as businesses, accountants, the IRS or your third party payment network.

read more

Scam of the day – March 29, 2022 – Car Sale Scams on eBay

Just as about everything else we do today has migrated online so has buying a used car, however, buying a used car, which is always an activity ripe for scams, is particularly susceptible to scams when you are buying a used car online.  This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t consider buying a used car online, but it does mean that you have to take precautions to make sure you are not scammed.  One of the first things to check out when you buy a car on eBay or any other online listing site is whether or not the car actually exists and is owned by the person trying to sell it to you.  Scammers often take pictures from real online listings of used cars and put them into phony online ads.  A good way to determine if a listing has been merely copied is to do a reverse image search on Google which will show you if the same car keeps turning up in ads as being available in many different places around the country.

read more

Scam of the day – March 28, 2022 – Watch Out for Ukraine Crowdfunding Scams

In the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, people are around the world are eagerly making donations to charities that are helping the people of Ukraine.  Unfortunately, scammers have been posing as charities and have tricked many people into giving their donations to these unscrupulous criminals.  For more information about how to determine if a charity providing aid to Ukraine is legitimate, check out this Scam of the day from February 27th. https://scamicide.com/2022/02/26/scam-of-the-day-february-27-2022-scammers-exploiting-invasion-of-ukraine/

In addition to charities, we are seeing appeals for donations to help the people of Ukraine on GoFundMe and other crowdfunding sites.  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 about 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.

read more

Scam of the day – March 27, 2022 – Cryptocurrency Phishing Email

Here is another good example of a phishing email which I received personally although I do not have an account with Coinbase which is a legitimate cryptocurrency exchange.   Phishing emails, by which scammers and identity thieves attempt to lure you into either clicking on links contained within the email which will download malware or providing personal information that will be used to make you a victim of identity theft, are nothing new.  They are a staple of identity thieves and scammers and with good reason because they work.  As always, they lure you by making it appear that there is an emergency that requires your immediate attention or else dire consequences will occur. 

read more

Scam of the day – March 26, 2022 – Used Car Scams Increasing

Due to a computer chip shortage, automobile manufacturers are producing fewer new cards and many consumers are turning to buying a used car.  A problem about which people often are unaware involves the sale of used cars that were damaged in a storm or hurricane. In the past, the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles and other state RMVs have issued warnings to consumers to be on the lookout for used cars with phony title papers that indicate that the particular used car in which you are interested is from a state such as Oregon when in fact, these cars are cars that were from hurricane ravaged areas with many of them containing hidden water damage that could present serious safety problems.

read more

Scam of the day – March 25, 2022 – Nationwide Grandparent Scam Ring Criminals Convicted

I am sure most of you are familiar with the grandparent scam where a grandparent receives a telephone call from someone purporting to be their grandchild who has gotten into some trouble, most commonly a traffic accident, legal trouble or medical  problems in a far away place.  The caller pleads for the grandparent to send money immediately to help resolve the problem.  However the caller also begs the grandparent not to tell mom and dad.  One would think that no one would be gullible enough to fall for this scam, but don’t be so hard on the victims of this scam.  Scam artists have a knowledge of psychology of which Freud would have been envious and are able to use that knowledge to persuade their victims to send money right away. While this scam has been going on for approximately thirteen years, it continues to victimize people.   

Most often the crime begins with a phone call in which the criminals impersonate the grandchildren of their intended victims although in some instances, the criminals impersonate lawyers calling purportedly on behalf of the grandchildren. The criminals convince the victims that their grandchildren are in imminent need of money for bail, medical expenses for car accident victims or to prevent criminal charges from being filed. Earlier this month two members of a sophisticated nationwide ring that operated the grandparent scam on a massive scale stealing millions from their elderly victims were convicted in federal court in San Diego.  Jack Owur and Timothy Ingram were found guilty of conspiracy under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.

read more

Scam of the day – March 24, 2022 – Update on Refunds to Victims of Weight Loss Scam

Six years ago, I told you about the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)  sending 6.3 million dollars in refunds to people who were scammed into buying Kevin Trudeau’s book, “The Weight Loss Cure ‘They’ Don’t Want You to Know About.”  The book was sold through infomercials that touted it as a simple and effective plan that would enable you to lose dramatic amounts of weight while still eating whatever foods you wanted.

The truth is that the diet was a far from simple starvation diet that also required daily injections of difficult to obtain prescription drugs.  Although Trudeau was ordered to repay cheated consumers millions of dollars in 2009, it was not until a court-appointed receiver was able to locate significant money hidden by Trudeau that money became available to partially compensate consumers for their losses.  Although the FTC sent refund checks in 2016, 2017 and 2020, almost 33,000 people did not cash their checks and the FTC is now sending PayPal payments to those people who did not cash their checks and for whom the FTC has a valid email address.

read more

Scam of the day – March 23, 2022 – Watch Out for Amazon Texting Scams

The Lubbock Texas police department recently issued a warning about people receiving phony text messages that purport to be sent from Amazon telling you that your account has been hacked.  These phony text messages, called “smishing” will either attempt to lure you into providing personal information that will be used to make you a victim or identity theft or try to persuade you to click on a link that will download malware. 

read more

Scam of the day – March 21, 2022 – Disturbing Development in T-Mobile Data Breach

Last summer I reported to you about a data breach at T-Mobile in which personal information of 54.6 million customers, former customers and prospective customers was stolen. The compromised information includes names, phone numbers, Social Security numbers and addresses.  This type of information poses a tremendous threat to victims of the data breach, which is the sixth for T-Mobile in the last four years.  Social Security numbers in particular can be used by identity thieves to apply for credit cards and loans in your name.  In addition, the phone numbers and the fact that the victims of the data breach are known to be T-Mobile customers can be expected to be used by scammers to create phony phishing text messages, called smishing, posing as T-Mobile and luring the targeted victim into clicking on a link in the text message that can download destructive malware.

read more

Scam of the day – March 20, 2022 – Is Your Password Strong Enough?

Having unique, complicated passwords for each of your accounts is an essential element of online security. A recent report from Hive Systems indicated that due to advances in advanced graphics processing technology, hackers could crack an 8 character complex password with capital letters, lower case letters and symbols in 39 minutes and a 7 character complex password could be cracked in a mere 31 seconds.  As for complex passwords of 6 characters or less, they can be cracked instantly.

read more

Scam of the day – March 19, 2022 – Another Ukraine Charity Scam

With the attention on the world focused on the people of the Ukraine and their resistance to the Russian invasion which has included attacks on civilians, more and more people are donating to organizations helping the people of the Ukraine.  Unfortunately, as we expected and have already seen, scammers are taking advantage of the situation and contacting people by phone, emails, text messages and on social media posing as charities and relief organizations in an effort to lure people into sending money to them.

read more

Scam of the day – March 18, 2022 – What to do if Your Email is Hacked

Recently a Scamicide reader told me that she had received an email from a friend of hers asking for a favor.  Her friend needed the Scamicide reader to send a gift card to someone because her friend was unable to do so and needed to send the gift card right away.  The email address from which the email was sent was indeed the email address of her friend, but the email was sent by a scammer who had hacked her friend’s email account and was sending the same email to everyone on the hacked friends contact list.  I have written about this scam previously, but it deserves to be repeated.

read more

Scam of the day – March 16, 2022 – Credit Card Interest Rate Reduction Scammers Permanently Banned from Debt Relief Business

Two years ago I first reported to you about a lawsuit brought by the Federal Trade Commission and the Florida Office of the Attorney General to halted a sham credit card interest rate reduction operation that often targeted financially distressed consumers and older adults.  Now that legal action has resulted in a settlement by which the defendants, Gino de Paz, Grace de Paz and Shabana Khublal are permanently banned from banned from the debt relief industry and required to pay a substantial fine.

read more

Scam of the day – March 15, 2022 – New Developments in Virtual Kidnapping

In a new development in the scam, as reported by the FBI, scammers search social media posts looking for people travelling internationally and then contact that person’s family claiming he or she has been kidnapped and demand a promptly wired ransom payment.  In many instances the scammers will pose as members of a drug cartel or a corrupt law enforcement officer.  Sometimes they will even include realistic screams in the background of the calls although these screams, according to the FBI, are generally recordings.

read more

Scam of the day – March 14, 2022 – FTC, DOJ and FDA Sues Maker of Herbal Tea that Claims to Protect from the Coronavirus

Recently the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) , the Department of Justice (JOD) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have jointly sued the marketer of Earth Tea, an herbal tea that sells for $60 for a 16 ounce bottle and which the makers of the tea have falsely represented is an incredibly effective medicine to avoid being infected by the Coronavirus.

read more

Scam of the day – March 13, 2022 – Phony Webroot Invoice Scam

The phony invoice scam is a common scam popular with scammers because it is quite effective.  It starts when you receive an email that purports to be from a popular company with which many of us do business that indicates that you owe them a significant payment.   The scammers count on people being concerned that they are being wrongfully charged for a product they did not order.  You generally are provided a telephone number to call if you dispute the bill. If you call the number, you will be prompted to provide personal information that will be used to make you a victim of identity theft.

read more

Scam of the day – March 12, 2022 – Binary Option Scams

Binary options are, at their essence, a bet on whether the price of a particular index or asset will rise or fall above or below a specific price.  The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) regulate binary options platforms and trading.  In the past both of these agencies issued an alert in which they warned people that some online trading platforms for binary options trading fail to comply with federal regulations  https://www.sec.gov/files/ia_binary.pdf In many instances the sales of binary options have been done without complying with registration requirements and with fraudulent promotional advertising and improper disclosures.

read more

Scam of the day – March 11, 2022 – Watch Out for Amazon Phishing Email

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.

read more

Scam of the day – March 10, 2022 – Ukraine Charity Cryptocurrency Scams

Unfortunately, and not surprisingly, scammers are seeing this as an opportunity to scam people seeking to make cryptocurrency donations to help the people of Ukraine.  Scammers posing as Ukrainian officials set up a bogus cryptocurrency called Peaceful World  which they sold on the Uniswap platform.  Charitably inclined people donated more than 50 million dollars before the phony cryptocurrency was unmasked as a scam and, even then, people still poured money into the phony cryptocurrency.

read more

Scam of the day – March 9, 2022 – The Danger of “What Was Your First Car?” on Social Media

But scammers also use social media to gather personal information about us that they can use for scams or identity theft and too often we make it easy for the scammers and identity thieves by posting too much personal information about us on social media.  Identity thieves will post what appear to be innocuous posts asking what was your first car or your pet’s name when their real intention is to gather information that may be used to answer security questions that protect your sensitive accounts such as your bank accounts.

read more

Scam of the day – March 8, 2022 – Facebook Cloning Continues to Find New Victims

If one of your friends received a Facebook friend request that appeared to come from you, it does not mean that your account was hacked. It does mean however that, most likely, your account was cloned in the sense that someone has set up a Facebook account or some other social media account in your name or a slight variation of it in order to trick people into trusting messages that they post, to lure them into scams or to trick them into clicking on links containing malware.

read more

Scam of the day – March 7, 2022 – Are Forex Robots a Scam?

Many people are probably not familiar with forex trading.  Forex trading is the name for the very speculative investing in trading foreign currencies.  It definitely is not an investment for inexperienced investors and while it certainly is legal, there have been many scammers who use forex trading as a hook to scam people.  Fortunately, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the National Futures Association (NFA) are vigilant at identifying scams, but much like the carnival game whack-a-mole, as soon as one forex scam is shut down another pops up.

read more

Scam of the day – March 6, 2022 – Dangerous AOL Phishing Email

Today’s Scam of the day is about a phishing email presently circulating that attempts to lure you into clicking on a link in order to continue using your AOL account.  Millions of people still use AOL. One reason for this is that you get greater email privacy when compared to some other email carriers. Due to its popularity, scammers and identity thieves often send out phishing emails that appear to come from AOL, such as the one reproduced below that was sent to me by a Scamicide reader. If you click on the link in the email where it reads “Update Mailbox” one of two things can occur and both are bad.  Either you will end up providing personal information to an identity thief or you will, merely by clicking on the link, download dangerous malware such as ransomware on to your phone, computer or other device.

read more

Scam of the day – March 5, 2022 – Regions Bank Phishing Email

Copied below is a new phishing email  presently being sent to unsuspecting people that appears to come from Regions Bank which is a bank with 1,500 branches in the South and Midwest.  This particular one comes with a Regions logo, but was sent from an email account that had no relation to Regions which is a clear indication that this is a scam.  Most likely the email address from which it was sent was from an email account of an innocent person whose email accounts was hacked and made a part of a botnet used to send out phishing emails.  I have disarmed the link in the email to “Contact Us.”  If you had hovered your mouse over the link when it was active you would have seen that the link was from an address unrelated to Regions.  

read more

Scam of the day – March 4, 2022 – Important Google Chrome Security Updates

Today’s security update corrects 28 critical vulnerabilities in the popular search engine Google Chrome.  It is important to remember that while Google will automatically send your computer the updates as soon as they are issued, you need to restart your browser to install the updates.  Some people leave their browser open for days at a time so it is important to download and install any Google Chrome security updates as soon as they are available.

read more

Scam of the day – March 3, 2022 – FTC Taking Action Against to Combat Robocalls

Recently the FTC went to court to compel Voice over Internet Protocol company XCast Labs, Inc to comply with an order of more than a year ago to provide information needed by the FTC in its efforts to combat illegal robocalls.  Voice over Internet Protocol companies that carry potentially illegal robocalls are required to collect important information that can be used by the FTC to stop illegal robocalls.    In the past companies such as Alcazar Networks, Inc  that helped facilitate illegal telemarketing calls from India have been charged with violating federal law.

read more

Scam of the day – March 2, 2022 – Another Geek Squad Phishing Email

Geek Squad is a subsidiary of big box store chain Best Buy and it offers excellent tech support for electronic devices including televisions and computers.  They are a popular company used by many people. Lately,  scammers have been sending phishing emails that appear to be Geek Squad invoices. In February 12th’s Scam of the day I showed you one of those phishing emails that appeared quite convincing.   It looked like a legitimate email from Geek Squad, although the grammar was not particularly good which is one of many indications that it was a scam. These types of phishing emails are intended to lure you into contacting the scammers where you will be prompted to provide  information that will lead to your becoming a victim of identity theft.

read more

Scam of the day – March 1, 2022 – Mavis Wanczyk Lottery Scam Continues

She’s back! I have been writing about scams related to Mavis Wanczyk for five years but recently I have received many emails from Scamicide readers telling me about various new incarnations of a variety of scams that share the same hook which is that Mavis Wanczyk is giving money away to lucky people.  Many of you may not remember the name of Mavis Wanczyk, but she was the lucky winner of a 758 million dollar Powerball drawing in 2017. Not long after she claimed her prize, a scam started appearing in which many people received emails with the message line referring to the Mavis  Wanczyk Cash Grant. The email indicated that you were chosen to receive a large cash grant from Mavis  Wanczyk. All the lucky strangers receiving the emails had to do was provide personal information in order to qualify for the grant. In addition, phony social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram were also set up in Ms. Wanczyk’s name through which people were contacted with the same phony offer of free money informing them that in order to qualify for the grant they merely needed to provide personal information. 

read more

Scam of the day – February 28, 2022 – IRS Impostor Scams Increasing

Filing income tax returns this year will be even more complicated than usual particularly with recent changes to the laws such as the Child Tax Credit and the Recovery Rebate Credit.  Many taxpayers are confused and can’t expect help from the IRS.  Last year the IRS only answered 32 million of 282 million calls made to it.  Unfortunately, scammers have stepped into the void and are contacting unwary taxpayers by phone, text message and email  posing as IRS employees and luring people into either clicking on malware infected links or providing personal information that is used for purposes of identity theft.

read more

Scam of the day – February 27, 2022 – Scammers Exploiting Invasion of Ukraine

As we have seen far too well during the Coronavirus pandemic, 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 Russian invasion of the Ukraine to fashion a variety of scams.

read more

Scam of the day – February 26, 2022 – Utility Shut off Scam

Scams involving utility bills for electric, water or gas services have long been popular with scammers.  I recently was informed of a version of this scam involving Pacific Gas & Electric in California where the targeted victim received a call from someone posing as a PG&E employee threatening a shut-off of electricity within the next 45 minutes unless $500 was paid immediately.  The scammer falsely indicated that two warning letters had been sent previously.  Fortunately, the intended victim recognized this as a scam, hung up the phone, called the real PG&E and learned that this was a common scam presently circulating.

read more

Scam of the day – February 25, 2022 – Dangerous SIM Swapping Getting Worse

SIM card swapping is a major problem.  A Subscriber Identity Module, more commonly known as a SIM card, is an integrated circuit that stores information used to authenticate subscribers on mobile devices, such as a cell phone.  The SIM card is able to be transferred between different devices, and often is, when people update into a newer cell phone.  However, as more and more financial transactions, such as online banking, are now done through cell phones, identity thieves with access to their victims’ SIM cards are also increasingly becoming able to intercept security codes sent by text messages for online banking as part of dual factor authentication and thereby providing the identity thief with the opportunity to empty their victims’ bank accounts and cause other financial havoc.  

read more

Scam of the day – February 24, 2022 – Phony Kaspersky Invoice Scam

The phony invoice scam is a common scam popular with scammers because it is quite effective.  It starts when you receive an email that purports to be from a popular company with which many of us do business that indicates that you owe them a significant payment.   The scammers count on people being concerned that they are being wrongfully charged for a product they did not order.  You are provided a telephone number to call if you dispute the bill. If you call the number, you will be prompted to provide personal information that will be used to make you a victim of identity theft.

read more

Scam of the day – February 23, 2022 – FTC Sending Refunds to Victims of “Amazing Wealth System” Scam

In 2018 the Federal Trade Commission sued FBA Stores and others involved in a scam operated by them in which they sold their “Amazing Wealth System” by which you could get rich selling products on Amazon with ads that said “Get started selling on Amazon and make $5,000 -$10,000 in the next 30 days… even if you’ve never sold anything online before.”  The truth is that FBA Stores had no relationship with Amazon and most of the people who bought the “Amazing Wealth System” lost money.

read more

Scam of the day – February 22, 2022 – Real Estate Investment Coaching Scammers Refunding Millions Pursuant to Settlement

In 2019 I told you about the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Utah Division of Consumer Protection sued Zurixx, LLC, a company that pus on real estate seminars in which attendees were supposedly told how to make large amounts of money buying houses, quickly updating them and then reselling them at a substantial profit, a technique referred to commonly as “flipping.”  The FTC alleged that Zurixx’s seminars were a scam.  They started with a “free” seminar that really was merely a sales presentation for its three-day workshops that cost $1,997 despite Zuixx’s representations that you would learn everything you needed to know to profitably flip houses from the “free seminar.”  In fact, according to the FTC, even the three day workshops acted as a beginner course and people enrolling in the course were lured into paying as much as $41,297 for more detailed products and services.

read more

Scam of the day – February 21, 2022 – Dropbox Phishing Scam

Dropbox is a popular service that enables you to store photos, documents and other information in the cloud.  I recently received an email from someone whose name I did not recognize that purported to include a document stored in Dropbox.  I was instructed to click on a link to view the document.  The email is reproduced below, but I have disarmed the link.  If you hovered your mouse over the link while it was activated, you would have seen that it did not relate to Dropbox.  This is just a phishing scam intended to lure the victim into clicking on the link in which event the victim will either be told to provide personal information that will be used by the scammer to make the person a victim of identity theft or merely by clicking on the link, the victim will unwittingly download keystroke logging malware that will enable the identity thief to steal all of the personal information on the victim’s computer or smartphone and use it to make the person a victim of identity theft.

read more

Scam of the day – February 20, 2022 – Department of Education Forgiving 71.7 Million Dollars of Loans to Students Deceived by DeVry University

In February of 2016 I told you about the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC’s) lawsuit against  DeVry University alleging that the university’s advertising, particularly as it related to their graduates’ opportunities for getting a job after graduation were false and deceptive. Specifically, DeVry made the false claims that 90% of its graduates got jobs within six months of graduation and that its graduates had 15% higher incomes a year after graduation than the graduates of other colleges. Now that lawsuit has been settled.  As a part of its 100 million dollar settlement with the FTC, DeVry has agreed to pay 49.4 million dollars for partial refunds to some students and 50.6 million dollars of debt forgiveness for loans made to students by DeVry.  The first round of refund checks went to victims of the scam in July of 2017.  In 2019 the FTC sent out 128,875 more checks totaling an additional 9.4 million dollars to the victims of the scam.

Now the Department of Education has announced that it will be forgiving 71.7 million dollars in federal student loans for students who were deceived by DeVry University.  Here is the link for anyone interested in submitting a claim for loan forgiveness https://studentaid.gov/borrower-defense/

read more

Scam of the day – February 19, 2022 – The Nigerian Email Scam is Still Alive and Well

In the most common versions of this scam circulating on the Internet today, you are promised great sums of money if you assist a Nigerian or someone elsewhere in his effort to transfer money out of his country.  While we refer to this type of scam as the Nigerian Email Scam, as indicated in the email below, not all versions of this scam have a connection to Nigeria as indicated in the email copied below.  Common variations of the scam include the movement of embezzled funds by corrupt officials, a dying man who wants to make charitable gifts, a minor bank official trying to move the money of deceased foreigners out of his bank without the government taking it or, as in this case, abandoned funds.   In most variations of this scam, although you are told initially that you do not need to contribute anything financially to the endeavor, you soon learn that it is necessary for you to contribute increasingly large amounts of money for various reasons, such as fees, bribes, insurance or taxes before you can get anything.  Of course, the victim ends up paying money to the scammer, but never receives anything in return.

read more

Scam of the day – February 17, 2022 – FBI Warning About Increase in Virtual Kidnappings

The scam starts with a telephone call informing the person answering the phone that a child or other relative has been kidnapped and if the person receiving the call does not respond by wiring money right away, the relative will be killed.  As with so many scams, we are often our own worst enemy and this scam is no exception.  In many instances, the scammers gather personal information about the intended scam victims from information that the intended victims or members of their families post on social media.   Armed with  personal information gathered from social media, a scammer can describe the supposed kidnapped victim or provide personal information that would make it appear that indeed they actually do have the person in their custody. 

read more
  • Categories

Archives