Scambuster Corner

Barbara EJ Bennett | Larimer County Chief Scambuster

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Barbara EJ Bennett | Larimer County Chief Scambuster

#1. Law enforcement impersonators are calling – using legitimate names of LE personnel – asking for payment for missed jury duty, warrants, etc. Method of payment – gift or money cards (give them the code on the back), wire, or cash apps. Total scam.

2. Emails thanking you for your order, fill in a survey, special discount – just click a link , etc. Requests you click the link or call their number if you didn’t order his or to get in a drawing for a gift. DO NOT CLICK ON THE LINK OR CALL THE NUMBER. It is the scammer.

3. “Payment received and restricted about a Zelle account limit” – from a buyer for an item you are selling on Facebook marketplace, etc. The scammer will say Zelle told them the buyer couldn’t deposit the funds because they are not a business user, so their account is limited, and this amount the scammer is trying to pay is over the limit. The scammer spoofs Zelle and indicates Zelle told the scammer to add additional funds into your Zelle account to expand your limit, and then Zelle will credit your account for the total amount. The scammer then shows you a phony snapshot of the money s/he deposited in your account and wants you to now reimburse him for the additional funds he put in. The scammer never put anything in your Zelle account, so if you refund it – you will be out all that money. Please do not use Zelle, Venmo, or any cash app for transactions except for trusted family and friends.

4. On-line shopping scams –

Always use a secure network to do online shopping. Free public networks are not secure and are open to scammers.

Be very cautious if you see an item you would like to buy from social media sites. Google the item to see if you can purchase it from a known retailer rather than a sponsored ad on social media. Typically, you can find the same product at a better price from a reputable retailer.

If you shop on marketplace sites, never pay by cash apps, pre-paid gift cards, or crypto. Never pay before you see the product.

Buying gift cards? Inspect carefully to ensure it hasn’t been tampered with. Is the PIN visible from the back of the card? If so, it has been tampered with.

It is a scam if you receive a notice from a shipping or mailing firm saying you owe some money to get your package.

If you are selling something on a social media or marketplace site – do not accept a cashier’s check for a more significant amount than you asked for. The check is bogus, and it is a scam

#5. Computer virus scam variation –
In most cases of this scam, you are asked to get gift money cards and give the code to the caller, so your computer can be fixed. Another twist on this one is that the caller indicates you can get a rebate for the cost of the fix and directs you to another website. You are to input $300 in the rebate line. The caller gets upset and says the amount was changed to $30,000 in error and that they had deposited it to your account. The scammer then walks you through “returning” the $29,700 to the scammer after showing a spoofed copy of your bank account showing this $30,000 deposit. This trick is also used in other scams, so beware of anyone saying you didn’t put the dot in the right place or the computer switched the numbers.

  • 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 askingFor more information visit: larimer.org.