By Dale Gribow
Crooks have smartened up and now use clever schemes to defraud millions of people every year. The bad guys often combine sophisticated technology with age-old tricks to get people to send money or give out personal information. New twists to old schemes are added to pressure people, especially seniors, to make important decisions on the spot.
Last week CBS discussed the IRS scam where the caller claims to be IRS, Palm Springs Police or Riverside County Sheriff. The caller ID confirms the Police or Sheriff advising you owe taxes and may be arrested, deported or have your business shutdown.
Property rentals on Craigslist for rentals by owner where prospective renters are asked to send money for a home rental during a major city event, such as Stagecoach or Coachella. The home may not even exist, may already be rented to someone else, or may not even be for rent.
Some scammers move in and refuse to pay because things are not working. They extort money from the homeowner for the poorly maintained home and requests money to vacate, in lieu of filing a lawsuit. Others demand free rent for a month or money for keys to move.
KMIR reported loan scams where the victim receives a call saying it is understood that the victim is looking for a loan, and ‘voila’ they have been pre-approved for an installment loan. The caller asks for bank routing information to send the money and to secure the loan but the borrower must purchase gift cards in an amount that will be reimbursed when the loan takes place.
A caller says you won the Mega Millions Jamaican Lottery after you pay money for taxes and fees and the big jackpot is then yours after you temporarily pay money.
Cramming unauthorized charge on your cell phone bill occurs when the scammers buy lists of mobile numbers and enters them into subscription services without contacting consumers.
Business Directory Scam: A call confirms your directory listing, then you are invoiced for hundreds of dollars for an on line directory or for charges for listings you never ordered.
Debt Collectors: An alleged Law Firm calls to collect a phantom account or your driver’s license will be revoked.
Hotel Scams: A late night front desk call says there is a credit card problem and requests information confirmation. Sometimes a Pizza delivery flyer is slipped under your hotel door and your delivery order steals your info and ID.
Scam free vacation: Take only needed ID/credit cards leaving social security card home. Copy your Medicare card blotting last 4 digits. Skimming devices, the size of a tablet, at ATMs, Gas stations, stores or airports can capture your credit card info.
Cell phone credit mulling involves college students (Credit Mules) encouraged to open multiple wireless contracts that include new smart phones and tablets. The scammers pay with someone else’s ID and the mules are reminded to cancel the contract within the allotted 10-15 days. The recruiter sells the phones and the mules are stuck, not realizing they have to return the phones to cancel.
Timeshare resale fraud: A company, alleging to buy lots of timeshares after the owner pays $500–$2000 via credit card for registration and other fees.
The day in court scam is similar to fake funeral notices where you are asked to click on the supposed court notice which downloads malware onto your computer or you are told you missed jury duty and must send money via a pre-paid card to avoid arrest.
How NOT to use Gift Card: Website offers new TV, GPS devices and other gadgets at deeply discounted prices which you confirm by reviewing the site showing good reviews. You are told to purchase Amazon gift card and provide the info for payment.
One-ring cell phone scam: Auto dialers call cell phones across the country hoping you call back and you get a please hold. If you called 268, 284, 473, 664, 649, 767, 809, 829, 849 or 876 you are calling an international number in the Caribbean that is slamming you with hefty per minute charges while you hold.
Computer Scams: Per US Senate Special committee on aging, the fraudsters trick consumers into believing their computers are riddled with malware and then charge to fix the problems.
Grandparent’s scams: Con artist pretends to be a family member, often a grandchild, who is in urgent need of money for medical care or a legal problem like bail.
Health related scams, especially medical alert device schemes: Scammers attempt to collect personal information or convince seniors to pay for devices or services they never ordered.
Social Security Fraud: Benefits are re-routed from the accounts of rightful recipients to fraudulently created bank and debit card accounts
Remember the bottom line is that everything is not always as it seems so be careful and check before giving out any private information. If it looks too good to be true it probably is…………
Report FRAUD and potential ID thefts by contacting:
Fraud alert hotline toll free 855 303 9470 or visit website http://www.aging.senate.gov/fraud-hotline
Charitable Donation Cons/ Telemarketing/Mail/Internet Fraud: State Attorney General’s Office
916 445 2021.
Adult Protective Services, DPSS 760 773 6700
Medicare Fraud 800 633-4227
Funeral and Cemetery Fraud 916 574 7870
IRS at 800-829-1040 or forward emails to phishing@IRS.gov
SENIOR VET FRAUD HOTLINE: 760 837 7555
Federal Trade Commission ID Theft Hotline 877 IDTheft/ www.consumer.gov/idtheft
Social Security hotline 800 269 0271/www.ssa.gov/oig
Equifax: 800 525 6285/ www.equifax.com
Experian: 888 397 3742/ www.experian.com
Transunion: 800 680 7289/ www.transunion.com
Keep the above numbers and information in a safe place just in case!
For questions regarding this column or ideas for future columns please contact Dale Gribow Attorney at Law at 760 837-7500 and or firstname.lastname@example.org