Category Archives: SCAMS

“Have you caught a catfish? Online dating can be deceptive” – The Conversation

Lest you think this cannot happen here in the Berks-Lancaster-Lebanon Counties area, do not be deluded. Romance scams do happen here and we have evidence that some people have lost lots of money in the pursuit of companionship. The Federal Bureau of Investigation warns about “Romance Scams | Online Imposters Break Hearts and Bank Accounts.”

 

catfishing

“On the internet, you can become anyone you want to – at least for a while. And though deception doesn’t fit well with lasting romance, people lie all the time: Fewer than a third of people in one survey claimed they were always honest in online interactions, and nearly nobody expected others to be truthful. Much of the time, lies are meant to make the person telling them seem better somehow – more attractive, more engaging or otherwise worth getting to know.

“‘Catfishing’ is a more advanced effort of digital deception. Named in a 2010 movie that later expanded into an MTV reality series, a catfish is a person who sets up an intentionally fake profile on one or more social network sites, often with the purpose of defrauding or deceiving other users.

“It happens more than people might think – and to more people than might believe it. Many times in my own personal life when I was seeking to meet people online, I found that someone was being deceptive. In one case, I did a Google image search and found a man’s profile picture featured on a site called ‘Romance Scams.’ ”

You can read this article in its entirety at The Conversation, click here.

“Fake calls about your Social Security Number? – Federal Trade Commission

spam call

by Jennifer Leach, Acting Associate Director, Division of Consumer and Business Education, FTC

The FTC is getting reports about people pretending to be from the Social Security Administration (SSA) who are trying to get your Social Security number and even your money. In one version of the scam, the caller says your Social Security number has been linked to a crime (often, he says it happened in Texas) involving drugs or sending money out of the country illegally. He then says your Social is blocked – but he might ask you for a fee to reactivate it, or to get a new number. And he will ask you to confirm your Social Security number.

In other variations, he says that somebody used your Social Security number to apply for credit cards, and you could lose your benefits. Or he might warn you that your bank account is about to be seized, that you need to withdraw your money, and that he’ll tell you how to keep it safe.

But all of these are scams. Here’s what you need to know:

  • The SSA will never (ever) call and ask for your Social Security number. It won’t ask you to pay anything. And it won’t call to threaten your benefits.
  • Your caller ID might show the SSA’s real phone number (1-800-772-1213), but that’s not the real SSA calling. Computers make it easy to show any number on caller ID. You can’t trust what you see there.
  • Never give your Social Security number to anyone who contacts you. Don’t confirm the last 4 digits. And don’t give a bank account or credit card number – ever – to anybody who contacts you asking for it.
  • Remember that anyone who tells you to wire money, pay with a gift card, or send cash is a scammer. Always. No matter who they say they are.

If you’re worried about a call from someone who claims to be from the Social Security Administration, get off the phone. Then call the realSSA at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). If you’ve spotted a scam, then tell the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.


“Your caller ID might show the SSA’s real phone number (1-800-772-1213), but that’s not the real SSA calling. Computers make it easy to show any number on caller ID. You can’t trust what you see there.” A commenter following this FTC article.

and the scams keep coming | phone scams and email scams

Here are just two of the email offers we received today:

kommando keyboard

“Hello, How are you doing? I hope your doing great? I am Capt. William Hall an officer in the U.S Army. I have a transaction that i believe will be of mutual benefit to both of us. I hope you can be trusted to handle some serious and confidential transactions? Please contact me asap for more details.”

 

“al ethics but please treat with absolute secrecy and personal. My name is Mr Naji Otri from Damascus Syria. i’m now a retired government officials I was the former prime minister of the Federal Republic of SYRIA and ex-agriculture minister,personal investor & financial consultant advisers to some Top Politician in Syria, I chairman a group of company Kabour brothers co (Hermanos) and Al Furat Petroleum Company (AFPC) the leader in the region in Reservoir Management AFPC was established under Service Contract no. 210 ratified by Law no. 43 of 1977 and named as per decree-law no.12 in
1985.

Am interested in buying properties houses, Building real estate as
means to secure stability to my money ,I will appreciate your idea and
knowledge regarding this or any other profitable investment you may
suggest, on my next email i will explain to you the full details of
this investment Proposal.

I shall tell you more about myself and my family on my next email,
upon your respond, you may as well tell me little more about yourself.
I’m waiting for your good responds.

Waiting for your reply and let me know if i can trust you the civil
war in my country has left me with no option and i may lose all my
money soon if nothing is done fast.contactme here pls.
najiotri1@gmail.com
Thanks
Mr.Naji Otri
Damascus,Syria

These folks keep slinging stuff against the wall hoping that some of it sticks. These are obvious scams. The spelling and the grammar are so bad; that should be tip-off number one.

Just delete emails like this; see what the Federal Bureau of Investigation has to say about email scams.

Berks County Link partners’ network collaborates in 1st Annual Scams Against Seniors Symposium

comb

Pennsylvania’s senior population grew by 13.5 percent from 2010 to 2016, according to a recent research report from the Pennsylvania State Data Center, which analyzes data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania’s total population rose just 0.6 percent over that span.

Reports about scammers and con artists targeting persons age 6o and over are increasing. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, “senior citizens especially should be aware of fraud schemes for the following reasons:

  • Senior citizens are most likely to have a “nest egg,” to own their home, and/or to have excellent credit—all of which make them attractive to con artists.
  • People who grew up in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s were generally raised to be polite and trusting. Con artists exploit these traits, knowing that it is difficult or impossible for these individuals to say “no” or just hang up the telephone.
  • Older Americans are less likely to report a fraud because they don’t know who to report it to, are too ashamed at having been scammed, or don’t know they have been scammed. Elderly victims may not report crimes, for example, because they are concerned that relatives may think the victims no longer have the mental capacity to take care of their own financial affairs.
  • When an elderly victim does report the crime, they often make poor witnesses. Con artists know the effects of age on memory, and they are counting on elderly victims not being able to supply enough detailed information to investigators. In addition, the victims’ realization that they have been swindled may take weeks—or more likely, months—after contact with the fraudster. This extended time frame makes it even more difficult to remember details from the events.
  • Senior citizens are more interested in and susceptible to products promising increased cognitive function, virility, physical conditioning, anti-cancer properties, and so on. In a country where new cures and vaccinations for old diseases have given every American hope for a long and fruitful life, it is not so unbelievable that the con artists’ products can do what they claim.”

Today over 100 persons attended the Scams Against Seniors Symposium — A Michael Meitzler Award Event at the Scottish Rite Cathedral, 430 S 7th Ave, Reading, PA 19611.  Today’s event featured information tables with local and state resources, speakers, including Rev. Dr. Ronald W. Costen, PhD. & Attorney at Law-Elder Justice Specialist and Mary Bach from AARP’s Consumer Task Force and workshops on frauds, scams and identity theft from the PA Office of Attorney General & The PA Crime Prevention Officers’ Association.

programClick on the graphic above to download the program as a .pdf file.

 

fighting fraud

Other resources include:

The Pennsylvania Crime Prevention Officers’ Association

Pennsylvania Attorney General

Berks County Area Agency on Aging

Pennsylvania Link to Aging and Disability Resource


More about Michael Meitzler

“Berks man’s legacy helps keep senior citizens safe from scams” Reading Eagle

“Berks Co. man’s remains found in home nearly 3 years after death” – WFMZ-TV69


Seniors are in denial about their vulnerability | “It’s estimated that one in five Americans over the age of 65 are victims of financial abuse—and the average loss is a staggering $120,300. Financial abuse can the the form of a scam, or it can also be perpetrated by family or friends who syphon off money from older loved ones. Nearly half of older Americans surveyed recently by Wells Fargo reported they know someone who had been a victim of a scam.” – Money Magazine

 

 

Berks County Link partners’ network co-sponsors “Scams Against Seniors” workshop | A FREE event.

senior scams II

SCAM CALLS | they just keep coming | DON’T ANSWER CALLS FROM CALLERS WITH NUMBERS YOU DON’T KNOW

SCAM CALLER 909.967.0430

a real call – minutes ago – masked local number

SCAM CALLER

A few minutes ago, a call from “Homestead Villa” rang on the phone. Note, the absence of the 717 prefix. This often happens with a local call. While our advice is always “DO NOT ANSWER THE CALL IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHO THE CALLER IS” we do answer all calls because this is a home office phone for our role of Link coordinator.

The “caller” was one of those annoying voice recordings announcing a FREE something or other. Immediately cleared the call.

Masked SPAM calls are become more and more frequent; getting people to respond to a known local call is part of the scam. The scammers technology is becoming more and more pernicious and sneaky.

The federal and state DO NOT CALL lists are ineffective and apparently the Federal Trade Commission is incapable of putting counter technology into play.

Pennsylvania’s Attorney General  is on record as saying, ‘Don’t answer the phone,’ AG Shapiro tells seniors how not to become scam victims.”

So, it appears our most vulnerable populations are being held hostage by technological and seemingly nobody cares enough to stop the hostage-takers.

 

 

 

“Yes, It’s Bad. Robocalls, and Their Scams, Are Surging.” – The New York Times

scamsJacob Reeves

by Tara Siegel Bernard

“It’s not just you.

“Those pesky robocalls — at best annoying disturbances and at worst costly financial scams — are getting worse.

“In an age when cellphones have become extensions of our bodies, robocallers now follow people wherever they go, disrupting business meetings, church services and bedtime stories with their children.

“Though automated calls have long plagued consumers, the volume has skyrocketed in recent years, reaching an estimated 3.4 billion in April, according to YouMail, which collects and analyzes calls through its robocall blocking service.”

Read this New York Times article in its entirety, click here.

“New Medicare ID Card Mailing Delayed a Month; but first-time enrollees will get redesigned cards now” – AARP

medicare card delayCenters for Medicare & Medicaid Services via AP

Medicare officials say they have delayed mailing out the new Medicare identification cards to current beneficiaries because they are stepping up their anti-fraud initiatives.

“According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), beneficiaries living in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia will begin receiving their new Medicare ID cards in May, not April, as originally scheduled.

“‘We are working on making our processes even better by using the highest levels of fraud protection when we mail new cards to current Medicare beneficiaries,’ the CMS notes.

“The CMS also announced that new enrollees in Medicare will automatically get the revamped cards, regardless of where they live.”

Continue reading this article at AARP, click here.

Also read this article: “Risk of Falling for a Medicare Card-Replacement Scam High | New AARP survey finds most beneficiaries unaware of redesigned card initiative”

“No-Talk Phone Scams | Dialing deceivers don’t need you to say anything to rip you off” – AARP

no-talk-phone-scamsDan Bejar/theispot

“Most telephone scammers rely on talk, getting you to pick up the phone so they can give their impersonations of IRS agents, noble fundraisers, tech-support saviors or grandkids in need. But with a new breed of telephone fraudsters, sometimes you don’t even need to say “Hello” to get ripped off. Here’s how some of these crooks may target you.

Call Center Fraud

“There are scam artists who spend hours calling the customer service centers of banks, insurance companies and other institutions, posing as people like you, to try to access accounts. These crimes have more than doubled in the past year. “That’s because reps only ask a couple of simple authentication questions — maybe your mother’s maiden name or your Social Security number — before you can transfer money or do whatever,” explains Ken Shuman of Pindrop, a company that provides antifraud services to call centers.

“Scammers start by assembling information on you, stolen in data breaches, purchased on the “dark web” or gleaned with a simple Google search. Then, working from boiler rooms (often overseas), they spend all day phoning different call centers to determine if you have accounts with those companies. With your data in hand, they can often answer the authentication questions that call centers ask.”

Continue reading this article, click here.