More Scams in The Age of COVID 19
Last week we talked about a variety of scams that seem to be more prevalent during the COVID 19 Stay Home Orders. Some additional ones I have received calls about are:
Government Clerk: “You have unclaimed property with the State. Upon payment of a small fee, we will release it to you.”
The Dreaded Computer Virus: You’re about to lose all your info and photos, and only we can fix the problem.
Jury Duty Clerk: “I’m calling from the Indio Courthouse, and you missed jury duty. Pay $400 or go to Jail.”
Puppy Breeder: If you are a dog lover you should know we just received a beautiful litter of purebred Poodles.”
Ticket Seller: “We are an affiliate of a major ticket vendor. Therefore, we can get you seats for any major concert at a much-discounted price.”
Bank Verifier: “We have uncovered a major data problem with your checking account. Please verify this information so we can confirm things and fix the error.”
Big Winner Announcement: “I’m from the Canadian Lottery, and you have won $1 Million! After you pay the import tax and fee we will send you your winnings.”
Military Rep: “I’m from the VA, and you are entitled, as an ex-soldier, to benefits from this program. I need to know...”
Social Media Scams: With online shopping scams, ads are posted for too-good-to-be-true deals on hot items, like designer eyewear. The ads can show up as a legitimate sponsored post, or in a friend's Facebook timeline (a sure sign their account has been hacked). The goal is to get your credit card information to charge you for phony goods and steal your personal information for identity theft.
DNA Cancer or COVID 19 Screening: People like you have died because they didn’t take the DNA test we’re offering.
Genealogy site scams: The sites look secure and they are offering ancestry research for free.However, you must provide personal information with the goal of stealing your identity.
During this COVID 19 Isolation, we are not at bars or parties this week celebrating Cinco De Mayo, because most of us have no choice but to stay home. Thus we are more likely to receive these scam calls. Obviously, the elderly are more likely to get these calls and the Coachella Valley is heaven for seniors with the weather and slower pace.
When COVID 19 leaves us people will be moving here or from the CV. In recent years there were thousands of complaints of interstate moving fraud. I have had clients call who were moving to the greater Palm Springs Area and had their goods held hostage, experienced overcharges, loss or damage of valuable furniture and art work.
These often lead to insurance issues over just $8-10,000. Thankfully the minimum limit for small claims court is $10,000 …with current discussions of raising it. Of course some of these claims are many times those amounts.
These scam movers are not the big ones that advertise the most. They are rogue movers, who are charging less for their services. At least they quote you a lesser amount than the “big boys”, but then often ask for more money once they have loaded your things onto their trucks.
You need to know that these discount rogue movers don’t offer an onside inspection and they demand cash or a large deposit up front. They do not leave a lot of evidence and don’t give a written estimate. If you Google them you will often not find a local address, nor will you learn of any insurance.
Before you agree to a company, either a known or unknown one, you should check AVVO and their website for reviews. Be sure the company you are talking to is the company that will make the move. If you think you have been taken go to www.protectyourmove.gov.
If you paid for a product through any scam sites, report to your bank, credit card company and the sites below:
Inspector General: 1-800-269-0271 or via https://oig.ssa.gov/report
Fraud alert hotline: 855-303-9470 or http://www.aging.senate.gov/fraud-hotline
FTC ID Theft Hotline: 877 ID Theft / www.consumer.gov/idtheft
SS hotline 800-269-0271 / www.ssa.gov/oig
Equifax: 800-525-6285 / www.equifax.com
Experian: 888-397-3742/ www.experian.com
Transunion: 800-680-7289 / www.transunion.com