Category: Fraud


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.




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


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.

The Most Effective Ways To Protect Your Small Business From Cyber Attacks

by Jeff Charles
Okay, I’m going to start with a question.
What would happen if a hacker decided to launch a cyber attack against your business? Would they be successful? Would they easily gain access to your company’s sensitive information? Or would their attempt fall flat?
Believe it or not, cyber security isn’t just a concern for large businesses. It’s something that small business owners need to pay attention to.



Businesses’ Core Functions Are More Vulnerable to Hackers

Companies are connecting behind-the-scenes business software to the internet, meaning that the systems that run their accounting, supply chains and other core functions are increasingly vulnerable to hackers.


Read the full article HERE





How To Reduce Credit Card Fraud On Your Online Store

By Robirt Kong, 
Consumers spent $517.36 billion online with U.S. merchants in 2018, up 15% from $449.88 billion spent the year prior, according to a new Internet Retailer analysis of industry data and historical U.S. Commerce Department figures. Unfortunately, as growth in online payments continues to climb so do instances of credit card fraud. In fact, Aite Group estimates that card-not-present (physical card not present during a transaction) fraud is expected to increase to $7.2 billion by 2020.
Read the whole article HERE