Con artists are using many different schemes to prey on the unsuspecting. The following scams are some that are currently prevalent:
- Phony IRS Calls – Since October 2013, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has reported over 290,000 scam calls. In these calls, the scammers claim to be from the IRS, declaring that the taxpayer owes money. The scammers threaten legal action and even arrest.
- Pretend Grandchildren – Scammers will call pretending to be grandchildren in need of money. They start the conversation like this: “Hi, Grandma. Do you know who this is?” Once they guess the name, the caller takes on that identity and asks for money.
- Fraudulent Pharmacies – Beware of unknown, online pharmacies. With the cost of prescription drugs on the rise, some people are going online looking to save money on prescription medications and homeopathic remedies. Some fraudulent online pharmacies will take the money but never deliver the prescriptions.
- Obituary Chasers – Another scam has con artists reading obituaries in the local paper and calling the family of the deceased claiming that there are outstanding debts owed by the deceased.
- Unscrupulous Mortuaries – A few unscrupulous mortuaries have targeted the families of the deceased by encouraging them to purchase ridiculously expensive caskets. These places also add charges that are unfamiliar to the purchaser and most likely unnecessary. The best defense is to go with a family member or friend to help look over everything during that vulnerable time.
- False Winnings – In this ruse the person receives a congratulatory call about winning a prize. During the conversation, the scammer refers to a “winner” fee and asks the “winner” to pay in order to receive the prize, which of course will never come.
- PayPal – Here is how the scam works: The scammer writes that he or she is out of the country. They then claim to need housing because they are taking a research position in "the states". The scammer will claim to pay the rent even before it is due. The unsuspecting landlord will reply to her email. The next step the scammer takes is to state that they want to send a deposit right away to secure the apartment. He or she will say that the best way to handle that process is through pay pal. The scammer then volunteers a link to a phony PayPal system. the scammer then steals the access credentials the landlord's real PayPal account.
These are just a few of the prevalent scams today. They can be quite costly, so be cautious and don’t let yourself or your family members become victims of these scams.
UPDATE:Of particular note are the following scams. Please do not respond to similar requests:
From a BYU landlord:
"...since listing again this year, I have received a couple [of strange] inquiries. These come from a variety of e-mail addresses, but the name is always listed as "Michelle Williamson". For some reason, the first one I received, came across as an odd inquiry and after receiving several over the course of many months I have become more alarmed. To me, these appear to be someone trolling. I responded to the first several of these I received, as I do to all inquiries. My typical response suggests that I am the unit manager and provides information about the unit and how to submit an application. Only once, when I simply responded asking when "she" would be coming to BYU did I receive a follow-up e-mail asking for more information. I then sent my typical response and did not receive a response. The name is always Michelle Williamson, but the e-mail addresses vary, usually some variation of mwilliamson, however one was firstname.lastname@example.org and another was email@example.com. The later suggesting that the individual may actual be a male."Here is the list of e-mail address used by "Michelle Williamson":
And here are two samples of e-mails from Michelle Williamson:
How are you doing today? Am a potential renter shopping for a unit to rent and am interested in renting the unit you have placed up for rent on,am a student coming for my studies at Brigham Young University, i am 22 years old , female . I am a simple person in all things .Am a good roomie as i do respect other peoples privacy , use to share a condo with my cousin back in my home town I don't drink smoke nor take to late night parties but i don't mind living with an occasional smoker or drinker as long as it's reasonable .. I will appreciate if you could advise if the listing is still up for rent and email me with details or any question that you may have .
How are you doing and hope every thing is fine...I saw your rental listing and I will be moving in once I confirm availability and everything is settled between and Will a month rent plus security deposit be enough for you to hold the place before my arrival? When will the unit be available? I would not mind furnishing the place myself if the place is not furnished..I will be coming for a research program in the state on Anthropology ...A little more about me, Friendly, outgoing, considerate, easygoing, very clean, and responsible. Don`t smoke/do drugs. Don`t have pets. Looking for: clean place to stay also you can add me on my Facebook link on https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100011321649554 to chart and talk more.
Please email me... firstname.lastname@example.org for any further questions needed for me to secure the place.
Thanks a lot.
In some e-mails "she" claims to be a coming to attend BYU. In others she does not.
The following email scam also continues to circle through our system.
Subject: Michelle's Dad.............................Update On Flight Ticket And Arrival Details And Kindly Have The Check Deposited?
Good Morning xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx!
How was your night? Hope it was great! Mine was long due to the jobs am handling presently. Am glad to inform you that the payment for Michelle's Room/Apt has been mailed to you and it will be delivered to you today.Here's the Tracking Number of the payment to you ( 9470101699320021913203 ) you can have it tracked on https://tools.usps.com/go/TrackConfirmAction_input to know the status of delivery.
There was a little problem with the payment which i guess we can handle with understanding... I instructed my client agent to send you the exact rent payment and also told him to send some money to Michelle's travel agent in another check but he claimed he did not get the information clearly so he made all the money out to you but i guess it is a small thing we can work out. Now the deal is on and we will get through it.
what will happen is that,once you get the check have it deposit and deduct the rent payment needed for Michelle's to move in...After that You will deduct extra $100 for yourself which will serve as compensation cause i guess am taking you through stress for helping me out in solving this little problem my client caused..
Then you will have the balance forwarded to Michelle's travel agent who will work on her paper so she can be in the state as soon as possible via MONEY GRAM MONEY TRANSFER...I just want to get everything set for her since i may not even be around at her move in date....I guess i told you am a business man and i travel a lot due to the nature of my work.
So as soon as you have the cash and have deducted all necessary charges ....You will go to any MONEY GRAM MONEY TRANSFER store with CASH balance and Michelle's travel agent information then you will transfer the money to the travel agent using the information below
Name: Jeanine M Ford
Zip code: 68108
As soon as you have the money sent to Jeanine you will need to get back to me with the MONEY GRAM details such as.
1...REFERENCE # Its always on the receipt that will be given to you at MONEY GRAM outlet
2...Total amount sent after deducting MONEY GRAM charges ...
Thanks a lot for your understanding and i will be waiting to hear from you again as soon as you read this message...
Take care and have a blessed day.