Larimer County Scambuster Corner

Barbara EJ Bennett | Larimer County Chief Scambuster

Barbara EJ Bennett | Larimer County Chief Scambuster

People are out and about again after Covid’s reign, and the scammers are blooming all over. They get sneakier, we get smarter, and they keep coming after us. We will keep our antennae’s up and stay wary to thwart them.

Be wary of:

Phishing scams – daily emails! Requests to fill out surveys, bills for subscriptions you did not order, bills for large ticket items sent to a stranger in another state, security checks, and the list goes on. Please just delete it. Amazon sent out an email “Protecting yourself from scammers” – ” do not give personal info over the phone, never pay over the phone, be wary of false urgency, and on go through the Amazon mobile app or website when you need help or want to make changes to your account.” This is good advice.

Phone scams – We are still getting law enforcement impersonators trying to convince you to pay them over the phone, so you will not be arrested. Just hang up. Law enforcement NEVER asks for money by phone, asks to pay to get out of a warrant, or tries to scare you into paying them via prepaid money cards or cash apps.

Social security, Dept of Justice, FBI impersonators – your social security number has been used nefariously – pay over the phone to get it cleared up (by prepaid card). Or you have open warrants, and you must pay over the phone by money/gift card, bitcoin, or cash app. Remember, these official agencies NEVER ask for money on the phone, and they never ask you to pay using these methods.

Bait and Switch, sponsored ads on social media (Facebook) – please be aware that some of these ads are from a US distributor of products from China. Be sure to use only a credit card or PayPal when paying so you have buyer protection. Sometimes they use a big brand logo to make you think you are ordering from Macy’s, Sketchers, etc. but it is not the name brand business. Always check local businesses or Amazon to see if it’s available from a trusted business.

Income Tax Fraud – If you receive a form from the IRS (typically in Austin, Tx where their fraud department is located) saying you owe money on 2021 taxes and it needs to be paid within three weeks, the letter is most likely legit – but someone has filed a tax return using your identity. The resolution for this is twofold – let the IRS know that someone fraudulently filed in your name and protect your identity from further harm.

Facebook/Messenger – Do not respond/click to messages that seem to come from a friend but look like this with a link to click-

  • Seen this?
  • Is this you in the photo?
  • Guess who died
  • Check this out!

Be wary of strangers replying to you after your comment on a post. Some “trolls” are looking to engage you to get your personal information by requesting you to send them a friend request or pretend to be a well-known named person wanting you to think you have won something and to click on their Facebook page. One example is this from “EllEN-D”GENERES” (her real name is Ellen DeGeneres) and uses a copy of a picture of DeGeneres) saying you won something – and to go to her website. This is totally fake.

Please remember these “Never do’s” –

  • Never click on links or call the number
  • Never give personal info over the phone
  • Never pay by cash apps, bitcoin, money/gift cards, etc. (Always use
  • credit cards or PayPal for buyer protection)
  • “Buyer beware” on sponsored ads in Facebook
  • Never pay for something prior to receiving it on Craigs
  • List/Marketplace or other venue
  • Never accept an offer over what you are asking

Stay safe and keep sending me scams you are hearing about.

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