Showing posts with label Scams. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Scams. Show all posts

Grand Parents Wire Transfer Scam

 Thousands of people have been scammed out of millions of dollars with the Grand Parent Scam.  A scam artists calls and alleges that your grand children are in trouble and urgently need money wired to get them out of trouble, jail and other non sense.  Their sense of urgency and convincing dialogue drives people to action and to quickly wire money.  Once the money is wired, it's gone.  Western Union actually got in trouble over this and hand to pay $568 million to settle the case.

Don't transfer funds through wire transfer.

Try calling your grandkids and or kids first to try and get a hold of them.

Remember it's probably not true and why didn't they call their parents?

Avoid Western Union and Other Money Transfers

Check up on Your Investment Adviser

 Quick tips to help you avoid scams and avoid fraud.

How well do you know your investment adviser?  This is the person that is responsible for managing thousands, if not millions of your hard earned money.  Money that you need to fund your future.  As with any profession, some are better than others.  The Securities and Exchange Commission has oversight and make sure stocks, bonds and other investments are operated fairly.  You can do research on your financial adviser at

Related: 20220721B

Reference: 20220721A

Report a Debt Collector That’s Threatening You

 Quick tips to help you avoid scams and avoid fraud.

Are you being harassed and threatened by a debt collector?  Maybe even a bank or other financial institution.  You should as them to stop calling you and tell them you’ll be reporting them to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  Add their number to your blocked call list. 

20220721B - How to get Help with a Stock Broker Who Didn’t Listen. 

20220721A - Check up on Your Investment Adviser

Avoid Western Union and Other Money Transfers

 Quick tips to help you avoid scams and avoid fraud

Avoid sending money using Western Union and other wire services.  Crooks love to use wire transfer services because they are fast and easy.  Between 2004 and 2017 Western Union abided scammers by easily, and probably unknowingly, transfer money around the world from innocent victims to online criminals.

So if someone requests an wire transfer, it’s best to ignore it.  If you are unsure, talk to a family member or friend before you take the steps that the crooks are so urgently requesting.

By the way if you did wire money during the above reference window and feel that you’ve been scammed.  You can call 855-786-1048 to learn more.

Grand Parents Wire Transfer Scam

Your to honest - beware of scams!

The truth is honest people believe everyone is as honest as they are and unfortunately that's just not the case.  The internet has opened up to scammers from all over the world.  They prey on honest and good people.  Many of you don't lie and don't expect other's to lie to you.  The truth is that scams always rely on a lie and someone believing that lie.  In order to avoid scams, you'll need to be better at detecting lies.  

You need to be on you toes at all times.  Don't answer the phone from numbers not in your contact list.  Don't replay to emails from people you don't know or follow links in emails that look legitimate.  Here are some common scams you should be aware, they might help you understand the mind set of criminals trying to scam you.

Avoid Social Media Scams

Beware of Customer Service Scams

Avoid these cash payment scams

Watch out for tax scams

Secure your banking and financial logins

Debt Collection Scams

Ignore Blackmail Scams

Electronic Wallets and Digital Payments

Someone Accidentally Sends you Money

<-- Money Home Page

How to get rid of that timeshare

Years ago I learned that my mother in-law bought a timeshare years ago in Daytona Beach.  She kept making the payments but never used it.  Did you inherit or no longer want to own the timeshare you bought years ago, here are a few things to try to liquidate it:

First contact the timeshare company and ask if they have a program to surrender or take the deed back on the timeshare.  Most of the larger companies have a program for taking time shares back.  You may not get any of your money back using these programs, but at least you won't have to keep making the payments for a timeshare you are not longer using.  If you are dealing with a smaller developer or resorts, they may not have a program which means you may need to resort to more aggressive options.

Stop making your payments.  Before you do this you should understand the risks.  It's possible that the timeshare company will report you to the credit bureaus for not making a payment.  They may also bring a law suit against you for the non payments.  In some cases once you stop payments, the timeshare company will let you surrender the deed so that they can resell the timeshare.  This can be much less expensive then for them to go through a foreclosure.

Resell your timeshare to someone else.  Again you probably won't get your money back from the original purchase but at least you will no longer be required to make the yearly payment.  

Don't use a company that "Specializes" in helping you get out of timeshares.  Many of these require you to pay up front and don't deliver results.

<-- Review your homeowner's insurance

<-- Return to Money Home Page for more financial tips

Someone Accidentally Sends you Money

Make sure you monitor your checking, savings and credit card transactions for suspicious activity.  You may be contacted by someone who claims to have accidentally sent you money.  They contact you and ask you to send the money back to them since it was a mistake.  What you don't know is that the money came from a stolen credit card.  You politely send them their money back.  Before you know it the credit card company finally sees the scam transaction and automatically withdrawals the originally deposited money.  Watch out for this scam, if you accidentally receive money in your account just keep it there and don't spend it.  Leave it to the banks to correct the issue.

<-- Ignore Blackmail Scams

<-- Your to honest - beware of scams!

<-- Money Home Page for more information on money scams 

Electronic Wallets and Digital Payments - Keep it safe

Certainly cash works if you are paying in person, but the new digital wallets may be even better.

Digital Wallets

Apple, Google and Samsung all have an app on their smart phones which enable you to make touches payments in many stores.  The apps allow you to add your credit card information where it is securely stored and encrypted.  When you are at the store you can make a contactless purchase by summoning the app.  The apps confirm your ID through their normal fingerprint, facial recognition or password before they finalize the transaction.  You payment information is kept safe and secret.  Best part is you don't need to carry or get your wallet or credit card out in the store.  

Keep it safe by reviewing your credit card statement for all transactions.  You can also turn on credit card charge notifications.

Peer to Peer Payment Apps

These apps are great for transferring money to friends or family.  Some of the more popular and more trustworthy are PayPal, Venmo and Zelle.  You download the app, connect it to your bank account and then connect with people you know.  I can't emphasize that enough.  These apps do not guarantee or back up scam transactions so continue to use your credit card for purchases with other's whom you don't know.  These are great apps to transfer money or to easily split a bill at a restaurant.

Keep it safe by only using the app with people you know.

Bank Electronic Payments

These are the best and most secure way to make payments.  Using your bank you can make utility bill, mortgage and any other type of payment to a company or individual.  These electronic payments are backed by your bank and can be withdrawn if there was a problem or mistake.  Being on the road and traveling a lot, I setup recurring bank payments for some of my bills so I never need to worry about sending the money.   You can also use your checking account number and bank routing number to setup an automatic payment with utility companies or others.  For example I logged into my Detroit Edison online account and added my bank account information so that they automatically pull funds from my checking account when the bill is due.

Keep it safe by only giving your account numbers to companies you trust.  Avoid entering you account information on fake company sites.  Remember don't visit them using links in emails.

<-- Technology Home Page for more tips apps and securing
<-- Money Home Page for more tips on saving money 

Keep your computer secure

Here are a few tips to help keep you computer secure.  Remember if you can connect to the internet, then others may be able to connect to your computer.  This will also help you with peace of mind on any scams others may try to pull on you.

  1. Don't open emails from senders who you don't know.  Just delete them.
  2. Beware of fraudulent emails, again delete them if you are unsure.
  3. Don't follow links in emails from senders you don't know or even from emails where a friend or family may have forwarded information.
  4. Change your passwords regularly.
  5. Use long and complicated passwords with the help of a password manager.
  6. Keep your antivirus software up to date.  I use an Apple Mac and so I rely on apple and safari for much of this.
  7. Be very cautious of websites you visit.  Make sure you read and understand the URL for unknown web sites.  I heard of someone who typed in SSS. com thinking they were getting to the Social Security government site.  They entered their social security number on the fraudulent site.
  8. Keep you computer operating system up to date with the latest security patches.
Stay alert, scammers are everywhere.

<-- How to Manage Your Passwords

<-- Return to Money Home page for more security and scam advice

Ignore Blackmail Scams

I read a recent stat from Google where they claim to block a 100 million scam emails everyday!  Some of these emails are blackmail scams that you should ignore.

Blackmailer's will claim that they have been

  • monitoring all your emails, or 
  • they've been watching you on your computer web cam, or
  • they have damage secrets they are going to expose, or
  • they have nude pictures of you and your wife, or
  • they may threaten to have you live in shame for the rest of your life, or
  • they have all your passwords that they go off the dark web, or
  • they are watching and monitoring your computer on a daily basis, or
They will also want you to make a payment using a cash payment scheme.  Avoid these cash payment scams.  

So just ignore these requests and delete the email into your spam folder.  Don't ever respond, the scammers will just circulate your email to others.  If you do have incriminating information on you computer that you don't want others to see, delete it or move to a hard drive or computer that's not connected to the internet.

<-- Return to Money Home page for more scamps to avoid

Debt Collection Scams

 Not all debt collections are legitimate.  The first thing you should do is to figure out if you really owe the money.  If you do, you should probably make plans to pay and have you credit cleared.  

Don't remember if you owe the money?

Debt collectors love to prey on older people who may have memory lapses... and maybe others.  They'll try and persuade to you pay debt and to do it quickly, most likely with a fraudulent payment method.   Avoid these cash payment scams.  You may remember that you had an account at the the store, bank, loan company etc., but can't remember your status.  Just because someone knows your name, doesn't mean they really know you debt status at that collector.

They may threaten to sue you.

Are you getting last minute phone calls from someone you've never heard of, threatening to sue you.  Probably a scam.  Legitimate companies don't just decide to sue you first without a significant attempt to contact you otherwise.

Has your debt expired?

Legally most debt is not collectible after a few years.  So if someone is trying to collect money from you, review your state laws to see if the legal time line has lapsed.

Beware of debt inflation.

Some collectors will illegally inflate what you owe.  They may try to tack on a $100-$200 debt collection fee.  They may also try and charge for collection fees.  Beware of inflated charges that you really are not responsible for.

<-- Money Home Page for more information on scams

Watch out for tax scams

  It's that time of the year again, the scammers want you tax refund so here's a few tips to help you recognize scammers.

Best advice I can give you is to just ignore them.  If you don't recognize the number or the person just don't answer the phone, don't return the text and don't respond to the email.  

Check the email, if the sender has a or, they are probably not legit.  Most normal companies will have their business email like

Remember the IRS or Government will never send you a text but scammers will.  So if you get a text that like Reply Immediately to get your Tax Refund or $1200 Stimulus check.   It's not legit and from a scammer so be ware.  The link in this text will take you to a fake website where they'll ask for your personal information, social security number, maybe bank accounts, etc.  This is called phishing.

If this happens to you, report the website to

1099G unemployment fraud.  In 2020 there was an unemployment scam.  Crooks were using peoples social security numbers to collect unemployment.  At the end of the year, you might receive a 1099G for the unemployment benefits paid on behalf of your social security number, but yet you didn't receive any unemployment.  Make sure you report this to your state unemployment office and get a corrected 1099G so you don't have to pay taxes on the unemployment that you didn't receive.

Hire only trusted tax preparers.  Make sure you hire someone you know or a legitimate tax prep service.  Looking on Facebook or Craigslist is a bad idea.  You may encounter a scammer who takes more of your refund then they should or charges fees much higher than you should pay.

IRS Impersonations. It never ends, scammers will continue to try and impersonal and pretend they are the IRS.  Remember the IRS will never initiate a conversation with you without first sending you a written notice in the mail.  Don't reply to texts, emails or phone calls unless you know it's legitimate.  If you receive a letter from the IRS, confirm the phone number is correct.  Remember scammers have access to many resources today that give them your personal information, this helps them seem credible even though they are not.

--> Secure your banking and financial logins

--> Debt Collection Scams

<-- Avoid these cash payment scams

<-- Your to honest - beware of scams!

<-- Money Page for more information on scams.

Avoid these cash payment scams

My Mom is forever asking me questions about payment scams she reads about so I thought I would share a few of the latest cash scams you should be cautious.  If someone calls or text you looking for money with one of these, I'd be concerned and take some extra time to make sure it's a legitimate request.  Remember the IRS or other government agency would never do any of these.

There are many Money Transfer Apps like Zella, Venmo, Apple and even Pay Pal that enable you to easily transfer cash between your account and someone else's.  The intent is for you to easily transfer money to someone you know, not a stranger.  I frequently use Venmo to send and receive money with my kids.  I've also used it for some of my photography clients.  If a stranger or scammer contacts you and wants you to transfer money using a money transfer app, I'd avoid it.  Typically these services offer now protection and once you transfer you money, it's gone.  So stick to money transfers this way with people you know.

Wire Transfers have been around forever.  Back in the day Western Union was used to transfer money anywhere in the world.  Guess what, scammers love wire transfers.  Again once the money leaves your hands and is wired with MoneyGram or Western Unition, there is very little recourse to get it back.  So if you one a sweep stakes or someone asks for wired funds, you should probably avoid the temptation.

Another popular tool is Store Gift Cards.  A scammer will ask you to go purchase $100's in Store Gift Card from say Home Depot or Target and then call them back with the card number and PIN.  Again your money is now gone with now way to retrieve it.  So be leery of text or phone calls from what may seem like a legitimate organization if they are looking for card payments.

All the rage these days, Cryptocurrency.  Again used by scammers because it's untraceable.  Once you buy and transfer Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency and transfer it to the scammer, it's gone forever.

When shopping online or stick with credit cards, they all have fraud prevention and will work to get your funds back into your account.  For payments to legitimate government agencies or other payments, also consider using a check.  Again there are protected ways to get these funds back should you have made a mistake.

--> Watch out for tax scams

<-- Beware of Customer Service Scams

<-- Your to honest - beware of scams!

<-- Money Page for more information on scams.

How to Manage Your Passwords

The internet, apps, website, everything and every place requires a password to login. Today each person has hundreds of logins where they need a passwords. Think about it, every app on your phone, your financial accounts, your emails, retailers, utilities and the list goes on. The prediction is that we will all need double the logins and passwords as we move forward.

Things to avoid when managing you password

Let’s put some rules in place, I’m sure you have heard these before. Don’t use simple passwords like “password” or "12345678. Don’t use the same password for multiple accounts. Don’t use short passwords. How about them pesky special characters.

Google and Facebook have made it easy, or have they? Many sites let you login using your Google or Facebook account. At first this seems like the easy thing to do but frankly I think it should be avoided. What happens if you choose to change or cancel your facebook or Google accounts, or maybe they are compromised, a hacker would have access to all of your accounts and logins. Better to use a secure email account as your login. One that has a very strong password.

Don’t store your passwords on your computer in a document or note! If a hacker finds there way into your computer, they have access to everything in your life!

Best Practice for managing your passwords

  • Use a different long password for every account. Don’t ever reuse a password!
  • Change to a random generated set of numbers and letters. Best to use a password manager for this (see below)
  • It’s OK to reset you password, do it often if you need to just follow the link and make sure you email password is very protected.
  • Make sure you have an emergency contact who knows how and where you passwords are stored.

Use a Password Manager

I few years back I’ve resorted to a password manager. Because I was going between a Mac and Windows computer, iPhone and iPad I wanted something that worked in all browsers as well as on my portable devices, so I chose LastPass, mainly because they have a free version that worked everywhere. They also have Chrome and Safari add ins that automatically pull in my passwords. Others you may consider are McAfee, Keeper or if you are in the Apple ecosystem and only use apple products, think about just using the Apple Password Manager.

You can use the password manager built into Chrome, the problem I have with that is isn’t not transportable and requires the browser.

Writing this post has motivated me to change all my passwords to really long phrases like the lyrics to songs sprinkled with special characters $#@… I’m not ready for the full on random ones yet, maybe next year.

Use a Notebook for Passwords

If your not tech savvy, use a password notebook that you keep in a very secure place in your house. I wouldn’t carry it around with you and I wouldn’t use a notebook if you have visitors to your house. This should be a last resort.

--> Keep your computer secure

<-- Back to Technology Home Page

Beware of Customer Service Scams

Be cautious if you are reaching out to customer service. Need to get a hold of Amazon, Google, Microsoft. We all have a tendency to to a quick Google Search or Siri Search. At the top of the search results screen is a toll free number to call. The problem is that the number is in a paid advertisement where the scammer pays to have their ads listed at the top of the search results. You don’t look carefully and quickly dial the number where you are quickly connected to the fake scam company. They are happy to help you and ask for your credit card number and social security number to verify your account. You’ve just been scammed!

Tips to Prevent Customer Service Scams

  • Go directly to that companies website and look for their contact information.
  • Look for the phone numbers on your paper statements
  • Don’t use Alexa, Siri or OK Google to find customer services numbers or information for you.
  • Check the URL for misspellings or text that just doesn’t look right.
  • Don’t agree to pay for any service that should be free.
  • Don’t EVER give anyone remote access to your computer
  • Reach out to one of your tech savvy relatives to ask any questions if you have suspicion

Some Examples of Customer Service Scams

  • You search for Amazon Customer Service. The link you follow connects to someone who asks you to buy gift cards and give them the numbers to pay for service
  • You search to buy and airline ticket on United Airlines. Follow the wrong link and they take you to a site where you buy a ticket using gift cards.
  • You search for help to fix your iPhone, don’t check carefully and are now dealing with a fraudulent repair center who asks for your credit card information before they start helping you.

Other Topics Relating to Scams:

Avoid Social Media Scams

Always beware of social media scams. While it’s fun to connect with friends and family, you need to beware of your online presence on social media. Facebook, Instagram, Next Door, Google Hangouts, Words with Friends and more, always keep your guard up. Here are a few social media scamps you should be wary of.

The Gift Card Scam

The gift card scam goes like this. You want to buy something, lets say a puppy and you find a great deal on one of the social media sites. Cute little puppy for a great value. You reach out and the seller asks you pay with gift cards from various stores. They come up with a great excuse on why they need the gift cards. You send them the gift card numbers and they’ll ship you the cute puppy. Your monies gone and guess what, the do never shows up.

The Celebrity Scam

The celebrity scam goes like this. A “Celebrity” reaches out to you and asks for a donation to their favorite charity. They do this through their social media sites. The issue is it’s probably not them and someone has created a spoof site making you believe it’s the celebrity. Before you know it, you’ve made a donation to a celebrity scam. Saw a stat that over 8,000 Americans lost $10,000 in scams in one year resulting in millions of dollars per year in scams.

New Job - First Month’s Pay in Advance

Your on Google Hangouts or Facebook and mention that you need a new job. Someone reaches out to you with a great new position. You talk for a while and they give you and interview. The best part of the deal is they offer to pay you a weeks advance that goes with the new job offer. All they ask is for you to send them a couple hundred dollars to handle the job processing fees and we’ll be good to go. Guess what, your out the money, their check will bounce and you never hear from the company again. Anyone offering a legitimate job will not ask you for money in advance. You’ll have to work first, for which you will receive a pay check.

Word with Friends… Not Really a Friend

My mom loves to play Word with Friends, she plays every night. If you didn’t know it, strangers can reach out to you and ask for a game. The same stranger reaches out to her time after time and before you know it she has a new “friend”. They continue to play and talk about their family. All of a sudden they have a family emergency, maybe they allege their grand child needs an emergency surgery, they ask Mom for $1,000 to help them out. She sends it, just helping a friend. Happens every day of every year. Don’t let this happen to you, don’t send money to people you don’t know!

NextDoor Social Scam

Great app to learn about what’s going on in your neighborhood. Picnics, parties all kinds of run with friends. Contractors also lurk on NextDoor looking for new business victims. They contact you them. They quote your job and ask for a deposit never to be heard from again. Beware!

Facebook Friend Requests

Really simple, only accept friend requests from people you know. If you friend someone you don’t know, they gain access to your profile. Once they know you and who you are, it makes it easier for them to spoof your ID and who your are. Certainly don’t friend a second friend request, could be someone you know who had their account stolen by a Facebook scammer.

More Advice with Online Scams

Online scams are prevalent and fraudsters will do anything to get into your accounts. Here are a few ways you can stop them:

  • Don’t click on pop-ups or attachments if you don’t know who they’re from
  • Never share your password with someone on the phone
  • Don’t allow anyone to control your computer remotely

Other Topics on Scams

<-- Money Page for more information on scams