1. Fake Job Check Scam
So my wife has been looking for part time work from home jobs to supplement my income. She found a virtual assistant position and applied.
The company offered her a position without interviewing her. It’s for 6-7 hours a week making hotel and travel reservations. She will be paid $400 a week, and $30 extra per hour over 7 hours as needed.
She asked some questions and got an odd response that felt canned. Basically she said she would receive a check for $2950 that would cover the first week’s pay, the cost of a printer and paper, as well as booking software.
This is a common scam.
Your wife will get a check and be told to cash it and then send $X to the “printer company” and keep the rest as her pay. There is no printer company. She is sending money to the scammer. The check will later bounce, and the bank will deduct the full $2950 from her account. She’ll then be out the money that she sent for the “printer,” and possibly incur overdraft fees as well if it causes an overdraft.
The way this works is that the scammer uses a bad check, but that looks good enough to pass initial muster. It then gets credited to the account within X business days according to the bank’s policy, but just because the money is available in your account doesn’t mean a check has actually cleared. It takes a few weeks on the back end to make sure the check is legitimate and the account it’s drawn on has sufficient funds to cover it, and once they realize it’s no good they pull the money back from the account it was deposited in.
2. IRS Scam
IRS says I owe them money, there’s a warrant for my arrest, and I should not hang up the phone. I did.
So I just got a call from the “IRS Crime” division regarding tax fraud from 3 random years. They said I owed nearly $4,000 and that I better not hang up the phone or the police would knock on my door within 30 minutes with a warrant for my arrest. They said if I hung up the phone, it would flag their system as me being unwilling to cooperate and legal action, including my arrest, would be put in motion..
If “the IRS” calls you demanding money, it’s not the IRS. The IRS will initiate a conversation with you in writing. They won’t call you unless you have called them first and/or have a case open already.
3. Craigslist Scam
Recently posted my old drum kit to sell for about $1,500. This guy messaged me on one of the platforms that he wanted to buy my kit for a little bit less. I’m in a hurry to sell it and I was anticipating some haggling anyway, so I agreed. He then tells me that he will mail me a check plus some extra to pay for shipping the drums to him. His whole story was very vague as to why he couldn’t pick up the drums himself, or why I had to pay for it. I figured if he sends me the check and it clears, then it’s all good probably. I got the check in the mail this morning but it is for almost THREE TIMES the agreed upon price. As much as I would like to accept the money… what is this guys angle here? There’s no way shipping drums would be over $2k, right?
Along with the check, he also sent a cryptic note saying that I should text someone named Rebecca (not the guy’s name) once I have deposited the check so that their company can “update” their account. At end of the note it says “Do not in any way disregard this note and instruction on it even if you are told to do so, it is mandatory for you to comply to avoid any difficulties. Thanks for your understanding. Regards, Company CPA.”
This is a common scam. There are laws where your bank has to release the money to you within X days. So he mails a check from like some African bank that talks to some European bank that talks to a NYC bank that talks to your bank. It’ll be like 10+ days before it actually clears. But due to laws, your bank will give you the cash much sooner.
Meanwhile, you see his check “clearing” and mail him the drums + give him back the $1-2k you didn’t need on shipping. He cashes your money almost instantly, because your bank is a normal ass bank and you have the money. You find out a week later the bank reverses his money because he never had any money. And you lose the drums plus $1-2k.
4. LinkedIn Employment Scam
I fell for an employment offer scam on LinkedIn. I applied to any and all Software Engineer positions and a fake representative from one of the postings I applied to (Appnovation Technologies) contacted me and offered me an email interview. Long story short, I was told I passed the interview, was offered the job, signed the offer letter from their fake HR, and sent the letter back along with a scanned copy of my driver’s license and passport.
This went on a second time from another company job posting I also applied to (this time Bechtel Corporation). It was only after I saw that the entire interview process was exactly the same as the first one that I realized something was wrong.
So now there are scumbags out there that have my personal information.
5. Hotel Checkout Scam
I was in Las Vegas this past weekend and stayed at a no-name hotel slightly off the strip to save some cash. It had good reviews and was basic, but was clean and got the job done.
Sunday morning at 10:30 my hotel phone rings and it’s the manager letting me know their computer system is down at the moment. Check out is at 11am so we were already packing and getting ready to leave despite our hangovers.
He let’s me know that because the system is down they’re a few hours behind on recovering data. He confirmed my room number and offered me an extended checkout (which sounded great from the hangover) and also offered to comp our least expensive night’s stay for the inconvenience.
He mentioned there were 30+ people in the checkout line and offered to check me out via the phone and said I could leave my keys as I left. He asked me to confirm my credit card number and I got a little hesitant and said I would feel more comfortable providing that in person.
He got a little defensive and reiterated who he was and why he was trying to save time. I still declined and went down to the front desk. Turns out, it was a scam and they were randomly dialing hotel rooms to get CC numbers and personal info.
They were super accommodating with their offer and because my hotel phone didn’t have a caller ID, it was very convincing. Stay safe out there and never be afraid to say no until you know who you’re sharing you’re information with!
6. Verizon Wirless Scam
I was just called on my Verizon Wireless cell phone, the caller ID showed up as “Voicemail” – I thought, that’s odd. I usually don’t answer calls if I don’t know the person, but I answered this one. Immediately a robot starts talking saying it is Verizon and fraud has been detected on my account, press 1 to deactivate your account or press 2 to speak to a customer service rep. So I press 2 and a woman is on the other line saying she works at Verizon Wirelss and fraudulent activity may have been found on my account. She asks me if I ordered an Iphone XS to North Caroline. I live in New Jersey so I said no I did not. She asks me if I know a certain persons name and address, again I say I don’t know that person or address. She says ok there has been fraud on your account, we’re going to lock it down and take care of that for you, for your security we are going to send you a number through text, when you get that please read it back to me. The text comes and it says something to the effect of:
“Below is your temporary password. Please remember Verizon will never contact you to ask for this number.
23482349 (bunch of random numbers)”
Thankfully I read the full text. I said to the woman “It says here Verizon will never contact me to ask for this number.” She doesn’t miss a beat and responds with “Yes we will only ask for that number when we call you before hand and tell you what we are doing, that is to prevent any scammers from getting their hands on it.” So I responded “Like you?” She continued to go on saying how she works at Verizon and needs the number to prevent this fraud right away. I then hung up on her and called Verizon with the number from their website just to be sure there was no fraud, and of course there wasn’t.
What these people did is they went to VerizonWireless.com and entered my phone number into the username/password login form. You can login with your number on vzw. So they put in my number and click forgot password, which resets your password and texts you a new one. If I had given that number that was texted to me to this woman she would have then been able to reset my account password to whatever she wanted and I wouldn’t have been able to get back into my account. She could have ordered herself whatever she wanted from within my account. So please beware, if someone calls you from a company and says there is fraud hang up on them immediately and call the company from a number on their website. It will cost you only about 30 seconds and save you a ton of trouble!
7. House Downpayment Wire Scam
I narrowly avoided being scammed out of the entire amount of my house downpayment by a fraudulent email that looked very similar to an email that my lawyer would send. It looked so good, all the right details where there. I was even talking about the last closing details with the lender this morning.
I scheduled the wire but then realized my “something is fishy” internal alarm was going off. I called the lawyers office and confirmed that the account number on the wire transfer information was not their account, and that they hadn’t sent me wire instructions. The scammer had nearly every critical detail about the house closing in the “Closing Disclosure”. The right “From:” name on the email, but I noticed that the email address was not from my lawyer’s domain. Once I confirmed that this was a scam, I had a VERY tense few minutes calling the bank to try to stop the wire transfer from completing. Thankfully I got the wire canceled before it was sent.
I learned a very valuable lesson today. Never wire money without calling the main office to confirm, even if all the details look correct in the email. If that wire had gone out to the scammer, the house closing would have to be canceled, and I would be out major money. Once a wire has left the building, it’s gone.
Now I get to investigate and escalate a MAJOR breach of information somewhere between my lawyer and the lender’s office working on this file. Turns out the Disclosure form they sent me was the EXACT disclosure form that my lawyer shared with the bank yesterday… So something is breached.
Verify your wires. Listen to the little voice that says “something is fishy”.
8. Bank Spoofing Scam
I have different passwords for every website I log into, 2-factor authentication when possible; I thought I knew all the scams and could spot them a mile away. This one still got me.
I was meeting a friend at a bar. Two drinks in I got a call from someone identified by my phone as Wells Fargo. I’m fully aware this could be spoofed, but it did not raise alarm bells yet. I was at a bar I did not frequent and have gotten calls from my bank before on suspicious charges that were legit, so I answered expecting this to be the case.
The person I spoke with said they were with Wells Fargo and they’ve identified fraudulent charges on my account but they need to verify my identity before they can discuss details. They said they sent me a text message (via the cell number they just called, which is my first clue this is phishing). They asked me to read back to them the 6-digit number just texted to me to verify my ID. Being two drinks in, slightly expecting what this was about, I had zero alarm bells going off. My bad, this was stupid of me. I read the number to them. They suggested it timed out and I needed to read another number they texted to me. Minimal time had passed, a mild spidy sense was tingling, but I still was not concerned enough to ask questions and read them a second 6-digit code.
This person then read off 5 recent charges on my account, 4 of which I recognized as legit and a 5th that was a $1000 charge to a credit card I did not own. I immediately identified this as a fraudulent charge and they said “no prob dude, we’ll freeze your card and send you a new one”. They even gave me the last 4 on the card it was coming from. I was appeased enough to continue (sadly).
Finally, they said they sent me one final 6-digit code to confirm that they were crediting my account back with the $1000 fraudulent charge. I just needed to read off the final code they texted to me. At this point things seem weird to me but they got me at a good time. I was 2 drinks in, was interrupted from hanging with a close friend I hadn’t seen in months and was outside trying desperately to avoid the loud noise inside the bar but still dealing with traffic noise outside. I just wanted to be done with this. I read them the final code and they thanked me and hung up.
At this point, I see why my phone had been vibrating constantly through this call. I had 4 emails from Wells Fargo. 1) Your user name has been reset, 2) your password has been reset, 3) Welcome to Zelle! an awesome $$$ forwarding service, 4) You’ve just forwarded $1000!!!!!
I called Wells Fargo via the number on the back of my card. After being on hold for 45 min trying to get the fraud department, I start to tell my story only to have the call drop (I’m pretty sure they hung up on me). I called back and was on hold for 1 hour 20 min (my account has been compromised >2 hours by this time) to get a second person. He told me this was a scam they’ve been dealing with for 3 months and I needed to go into a branch with 2 forms of ID to deal with it. There was nothing he could do tonight.
Dude spoofed Wells Fargo when calling me on my cell, requested a reset of my user name, password and approval for $1000 transfer. I stupidly read off the confirmation numbers I received via text to him, he entered them into Wells Fargo website to approve all these requests. Wells Fargo has known their customers have been getting scammed for 3 months and didn’t bother to warn anyone. I now have to go into a branch, hang my head and tell my shameful story to a person and beg for access to my account because someone else has control of it all night tonight.
If someone calls representing a bank , etc. Hang up and call their official number! This will avoid 99% of scams, stay safe all!
Related: Homebuyers: Beware of the Escrow Scam!