Category: For Consumers

CRAIGSLIST SCAM ALERT!

I feel compelled to share this for EVERYONE to know!
There was a knock on my door and two very polite young ladies asked me for the keys to their new apartment.
I was taken aback because we have no rental units available.
Trying to figure out what happened, and very thankful that I know about fraud and scams, I asked them the following questions:

  1. Where did you find the listing? – “On Craigslist”
  2. Who did you make the payment to? – “Ummm we don’t know the name”
  3. Call the person right now. – “Hello? What is your name please? Click….” They hang up on them.
  4. What did the listing say? – “Send us the deposit now and when we also receive your first rent, we will mail you the keys!”

I was really surprised that young people who are daily on the internet and Social Media have absolutely no clue.

So I asked a few more questions:

  1. Who would ever rent a place without seeing it first, and without meeting the landlord in person?
  2. Who would blindly send any payment to any so called landlord just in good faith?
  3. Did you use your credit card or Bank Account?

They used their Bank account which is now at risk of being attacked and emptied by fraudsters!

I advised them to go immediately to their Bank and file a claim and also to NEVER EVER rent, buy, or do anything on Craigslist or any other selling site.
Also explained and gave them names of legal Rental websites.

BE VERY VERY CAREFUL!

DO NOT TRUST ANYONE WHO ASKS FOR MONEY BEFORE THEY GIVE YOU A SIGNED LEASE.

DO NOT TRANSACT IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM UNLESS YOU EITHER MEET SOMEONE IN PERSON, OR PURCHASE FROM A VERIFIED SOURCE!

Force Authorization Scam

From the Santa Barbara Police Department

Information Bulletin
Santa Barbara, CA – 08/21/19
Force Authorization Scam
An authorization code is an alphanumeric password that authorizes a purchase. A force authorization may be required for times when a merchant’s payment terminal cannot connect to the network or the amount of the sale is above a predetermined amount. The authorization code allows a merchant to bypass the process by manually entering a previously obtained authorization code.
Recently, two Santa Barbara downtown businesses fell victim to a credit card authorization fraud scheme. Based on the recent events, we would like to inform businesses of the scheme presented and ways in which to defend your business from such incidents.
Common scams include both over the phone and in person transactions.
Example 1: The suspect/customer enters the store and attempts to make an expensive purchase. When their credit card is denied, he or she will likely pretend to be upset and act as if he or she is contacting the bank. The suspect(s) will hand you their personal phone and have you speak with the (fake) bank representative, who will provide you a force authorization code. A later chargeback will result and the merchant will be at a loss.
Example 2: The suspect/customer will arrange for a transaction and provide the credit card number and an alias. The customer will provide the authorization code once the card declines to force the fraudulent transaction through. A rapport is usually generated prior to the actual transaction to cause the employee to further believe the transaction is legitimate.
Best Practices:
* Never enter an authorization code given by a cardholder to force a transaction. Always contact the cardholder’s issuing bank yourself to obtain the valid code.
*  Ask for identification, especially for expensive transactions made over the phone to verify the identity of the caller. This can be sent to you (the merchant) via fax, email, or text.
* Do not hand your payment terminal to the customer as the customer may enter the fraudulent authorization code themselves without your knowledge.

Mystery shop ’til you drop? Not so fast

by Lisa Lake
Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

 

Who wouldn’t love getting paid to shop and dine at cool places and then review them? Whether you’re a student looking for a summer job or someone wanting to start a side or full-time business, mystery shopping sounds like an exciting option. But while some mystery shopping opportunities are legitimate, many are scams that rob you, not pay you.
Read the full article HERE

JURY SCAM ALERT

Santa Barbara County Superior Court officials are aware of a scam in which identity thieves target local residents and threaten them for failing to report for jury service.
These perpetrators then ask for confidential information.
Jury Services staff NEVER ask for Social Security Numbers, credit card numbers, bank account numbers or other confidential and sensitive information. 
Information such as this is not contained within our database and we do not request this information from the juror.
We urge all members of the public to be aware of such scams and be careful whenever you reveal confidential information over the telephone.
Do not give out such information over the phone to anyone who calls you claiming to be with the jury office of the Superior Court.
The court is aware of such activity in Santa Barbara County.  A similar scam has also been reported in Ventura County.  If you receive such a telephone call please contact your local law enforcement agency.

Password Risks

After what I witnessed helping a friend the other day, I need to alert everyone.
We can never assume and take for granted that everyone who has an online presence is technically savvy.
A few examples: Doctors, Plumbers, Electricians, Architects, Hair Stylists and many more.
All these people are trying to land customers, and have a LinkedIn account, a Facebook account, a Twitter account and maybe an Instagram account.
The big risk here is the password use. Was helping my friend to update his Facebook page and noticed something that alarmed me.
He was using ONE yes ONE password for everything. His Bank account, his Social Media pages and his email.
I explained a few things and he thanked me for saving the day.
So here are some basic rules for everyone to follow:

 

  1. NEVER USE ONLY ONE PASSWORD FOR EVERYTHING.
  2. HAVE ONE PASSWORD FOR BANKING, ANOTHER FOR EMAIL AND ANOTHER FOR SOCIAL MEDIA.
  3. NEVER USE YOUR NAME, BIRTH DATE, MAILING ADDRESS OR PHONE NUMBER AS A PASSWORD.
  4. TRY TO USE NUMBERS AND LETTERS AS WELL AS SOME *&^%
  5. IF YOU ARE NOT USING LASTPASS, CHROME OR OTHER PASSWORD MANAGER: Open an Excel Sheet and create a password list to remember them.
  6. MAKE IT A HABIT TO CHANGE YOUR PASSWORDS A FEW TIMES PER YEAR.
I hope that this will help. If you are unsure, or have questions, please fell free to contact me and I will help you with this very important task.
Stay safe in the world wide web everyone!

 

Scam and Fraud Rules!

  1. THE IRS WILL NEVER CALL YOU.
    Anyone claiming it’s the IRS, simply hang up and block the caller.
  2. Your Bank will NEVER call you!
    Simply hang up and block the caller.
  3. SOCIAL SECURITY will NEVER call you! Your SSN can never expire for any reason!!! Hang up and block the caller.
  4. Chinese phone calls are bugging a lot of phone numbers.
    Simply hang up and block the caller.
  5. ANY call that starts with a recorded message is a SCAM!
    Simply hang up and block the caller.
  6. ANY caller that asks for your debit or credit card information to send you a free product is a SCAM!!!
    Hang up and block the caller.
  7. ANYONE calling you about a family member is a SCAMMER!
    Hang up and block the caller!
  8. Facebook will NEVER give money for any click, like or share!
    Stop sharing such information.
  9. NEVER click on links you don’t feel sure about.
Don’t panic! Authorities of any kind will NEVER call you to ask you for your social security number, bank account number, or debit/credit card number! Don’t fall for those phone calls.
Don’t fall for false shared information on Social Media!!!
A great solution is NEVER to answer calls from numbers that are not in your contacts list!