Abduction Scam. The Better Business Bureau and the FBI are warning citizens about a new scam. In the scam, that originated in the New York City area, the victim receives a call from an unknown person who claims to be holding their son or daughter for ransom. To gain release, the scammer demands that the victim wire money to them. Wired funds or pre-paid debit cards are untraceable.
Callers may make the phone calls at random or they may research their victim on social media to gather enough information about the family member to be able to make a convincing story. Callers often insist that the victim stay on the phone. This is an attempt to make it more difficult for the victim to verify that their family member is in danger or not. They also try to instill fear, panic and urgency to get the victim emotional and therefore compliant to their instructions. The victim is pressured to act immediately.
Frequently the calls originate from outside area codes. Calls often have come from the Puerto Rico area codes of (787), (939) and (856).
For more details on how this scam works and tips to protect yourself check out the following links:
Better Business Bureau:
Phony Weight Loss Pills. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has charged four defendants with peddling fake weight loss remedies with illegal spam emails. The defendants hack into individual email accounts to gain access to email addresses. The defendants send emails to those addresses making it appear that the emails came from the hacked account. The emails made it look like a friend was providing a tip about the weight loss product. Often the email contained a link to a web site that promoted the product with fake endorsements from famous celebrities or an independent consumer reporter. Claims included losing “4lbs/week of belly fat” or “41.7lbs in 2.5 months.”
Here more details:
Rental Scams. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has noted an upswing of rental scams in its northwest region for the last year. Last month, a Wenatchee man reported to the BBB’s Scam Tracker that someone tried to rent his house without his knowledge. Several people showed up at his door ready to move in even though the house was not for sale or rent. Earlier in the year, a Spokane man reported being asked to fill out a credit report as a condition to tour an apartment allegedly for rent.
To protect yourself from a rental scam, the BBB suggests that you:
· Ask for a walk-through inspection.
· Research the location.
· Pay with a credit card.
· Be skeptical of low prices
Moving Scams. In a related scam, the AARP warns against movers who try to hold household goods hostage for higher quotes. According to AARP, some movers advertise on Craigslist or roadside signs. Their initial quote may be reasonable or lower than other movers. After the household goods are loaded on the truck, the quote sky-rockets and the household goods are held hostage until the extra is paid.
AARP recommends the following to avoid getting hurt by a moving company:
· Get recommendations from friend, family or your real estate agent.
· Know the red flags. That includes no on-site inspections of your goods, no written estimate, demands for a large deposit, insistence to sign blank or incomplete documents.
· Know your rights and responsibilities. Download this handbook: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/protect-your-move/consumer-rights.
· Understand the costs and estimates of the mover’s proposal.
· Get a written order for service. This document lists what the mover will do and the pickup and delivery dates.