About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

April 25, 2017

Schemes, Part 5

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:44 am

As I told you last week this group of schemes are used on one specific part of our population.  Seniors, baby boomers and post baby boomers.  They even have titles.  I have found examples of these all over the net and my dad even experienced one of these years ago.

Counterfeit Prescriptions
Because prescription prices are high like all other medical costs seniors and others shop around online for less expensive prescriptions.  They are easy to find online.  This is where you may get ripped off twice.  Many times, the scam artists are selling bogus or inferior drugs.  Then you have wasted your money and your health declines.

Which one is the fake?

Funeral Scam
Some criminals read the obituaries every day and some may even attend funerals of seniors.  They will find as much information as they can about the survivor, especially contact information.  Then a week or so later the widowed person will get a call saying that their spouse owed them some money and they were supposed to collect it and now they are gone.  They get the bereaved to pay unwarranted charges. This is usually perpetrated in person.

Loving Grandparent Trick
A grandparent will get a call from a young person pretending to be their grandchild.  They may speak unclearly so that the senior thinks it is their grandchild with a cold.  They get the senior say the kid’s name and then work it further.  The final outcome is that they need the grandparent to mail them money at college, someone’s home, or have it wired to their account directly.

Grandma is so good to me.

Internet fraud
These scams include a call from someone claiming to be from a large computer company asking for permission to access the senior’s computer remotely to resolve a service issue or virus.   The bad guy then accesses saved data on the computer, such as names, addresses, account numbers, and other personal information. They use the information to apply for loans, credit cards, or to steal the senior’s identity.

Medicare/Medicaid fraud
Medicare’s universal coverage makes it easy for perpetrators to pose (either on the phone, in person, or via email) as Medicare representatives and ask seniors to provide personal information which they can then use to set up accounts or apply for credit cards.

Nigerian fraud
You know you have heard of this one, maybe even seen it in your inbox.  In one of the most common financial frauds of all time, a senior citizen receives a letter, an email, or a fax from a foreign “dignitary.” The correspondence promises huge monetary rewards in exchange for helping an official from a foreign country out of an embarrassing legal problem. All the senior needs to do, the correspondence states, is to send a small amount of money (in comparison to what he/she will receive in turn) to help out the foreign dignitary. Of course, the victim never receives any rich reward and loses the money that is sent.

Service scams
You receive a telephone call from what seems to be a legitimate company. There are problems with your account and the company simply needs to verify some information. The caller seems to already have information about you so you feel comfortable sharing additional information, such as your account number, to help the company correct the problems with your service.

So, be careful out there, no matter what your age!

October 11, 2011

Help–I’ve Been Scammed!

Last month I became involved in an internet scam with Craigslist.  You know, for some unknown reason I have never been a fan of Craigslist ( for buying or selling things online.  I have never used it…just a bad feeling; although, I have bought and sold items online before at other sites having no real worries about it.  No, I have my own personal reasons for continuing to avoid using that particular site.

We listed our home for sale recently and have had the normal amount of showings for the current economic climate.  (Yes, it is still for sale.)

One Sunday afternoon my family and I were standing outside the house in the front yard.  A very nice man drove up ,walked up to the house and said that he thought he would like to rent our home.  We told him that was nice but it was not for rent… only for sale.  He told us he saw it advertised online and that the “owner” told them she left as a missionary to Africa and before he could rent/sell the house he had to leave the country.  We told him that he was being scammed and he gave us the info on how he found it on Craigslist.  We checked… guess what?  There was our house represented by actual photographs, square footage and many other facts.

The FBI has been releasing warnings about this particular type of scam since 2009.  They reported that this scam is being run out of…are you ready for this… Nigeria.  Probably the same bands of Nigerians who have all the money and need your help to get the millions from a bad dictator for them and for you.

The basic scam runs like this:  A homeowner actually lists their home with a reputable realtor who then proceeds to place the home on the Multiple Listing Service and public websites.  The Nigerian ne’er-do-wells grab whatever information they want to use for the “rental” advertisement from the legitimate sites.

They then list it on Craigslist as if it is an actual rental offer from the homeowner.  Then people looking for a good deal on a rental house start coming to your house to rent it at a below market rate.  Ours was advertised at about half of what it would actually rent for in today’s marketplace.  If the people get as far as seeing the house and contacting the fake owner he sends them a contract and asks for the renters to return it signed along with a check for the first month’s rent and a security deposit.  After he receives the money they will be mailed the keys and can move in.

The scammer in our situation told the people that they could look around the house if they wished.  The Nigerian probably just took a chance that we wouldn’t be there.

Avoid scams and fraud by dealing locally! Beware of any provisions involving Western Union, Money grams, wire transfers, or a landlord/owner who is out of the country and cannot meet you in person.  We had three people come to see our “rental property” before Craigslist removed the ad.  This they did after I tried to contact them (I say “tried” since I never heard back from anyone) but it took a little too long for my taste.

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