#1 – Geek Squad, Amazon, and others billing you – watch for strange characters, poor grammar, and spelling – Actual Examples –
GEËKSQUÂD We would thank you for the completion of the 12-months maintenance plan.
We auto-renewed your plan and Charged $349.99 USD against your account. Customer service or the PayPal billing department has updated your invoice- you owe $1,000. Or “Customer Support (firstname.lastname@example.org) sends an email saying an unauthorized party accessed your Amazon account. They reversed this and canceled all your orders. You do have to re-enter your complete credit or debit card number and bank information to verify your account. If you have any trouble, just contact us – Sincerely, Customer Support Amazon.
#2 – IRS letter indicating you owe money from 2021 taxes due to your error with a “last date to respond”. If you know you do not owe, go to the IRS office in Northern Colorado or have your CPA check to let the IRS know that this could be someone fraudulently filing in your name.
#3 – Call from a utility company – you have 30 minutes to pay your overdue bill before they arrive at your home to turn off your power. Red flag – utility companies do not call, nor give you 30 minutes to pay over the phone, and they never ask for payment via money/gift cards, Venmo, Zella, or cryptocurrency (bitcoin, etc.).
#4 – Visa Card Giveaway – email telling you to participate in their promotional campaign and you will receive (maybe) a $250 Visa card for gas. In small print – *paid participation required. All these offers, surveys, etc. are just trying to get your personal information or get you to buy something.
#5 – Free medical equipment – they say they are from Medicare, but they are not. Medicare does not send out offers for free medical equipment. They are trying to get your medicare number.
#6 – “$25 for a year of bitcoin mining – while supplies last! “ They request you join their club and pay $25 for the annual rental of a brand-new bitcoin mining rig. The club will just take a 5% cut of all the bitcoin your rig mines. If you are truly interested in the cryptocurrency arena – I suggest you do a lot of research before you get involved with it. The reason scammers love cryptocurrency is that it is very secure – once you pay into it – it is very difficult to trace.
#7 – Vacation homes/apartments for rent – never send in a deposit via cash apps! Always see the property before paying. If the person cannot show it or wants money via cash app, money/gift cards, or cryptocurrency (bitcoin) it is a scam.
#8 – Sports or concert tickets – if you purchase them on Craig’s list or Facebook marketplace or other 3rd party sellers – buyer beware. Always purchase from an official box office retailer.
#9 – Mary Kay, Tupperware, Color Street, etc. small home businesses – beware of someone wanting to send you a cashier’s check for some of your product to be mailed to her in another state. It is quite a large order for items, and the cashier’s check is bogus!
#10 – Law Enforcement, IRS, FBI, etc. impersonation to get you to pay over the phone. Please do not fear you are in trouble – these are scammers trying to scare you into paying them.
#11 – PUBLISHERS CLEARING HOUSE – beware of a caller saying you have won and just must pay shipping or taxes.
#12 – Strangers on the street stopping you to ask you to donate to help them go on a trip.
#13 – Texts from various numbers to “Set up to join the Walmart Appraisal – Customers to earn 500 Dols weekly, Goto xxxxxxxx link and use my referral number 1XX3A” —- please remember to never click on a link.
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 on Facebook
- Never pay for something prior to receiving it on Craigs List/Marketplace or other venues
- Never accept an offer over what you are asking
Barbara EJ Bennett
Larimer County Sheriff’s Office