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Locate Scams Against Veterans

 

Thieves After Your Cards
July 31, 2017

The process of stealing your information for personal gain has never been easier and cheaper to pull off then it is right now.  High-tech thieves are using much more powerful versions of identity scanners to steal your information with relative ease.  According to Anti-Theft companies, stealing data from your credit card or any card equipped with a radio-frequency identification (RFID) chip is accomplished very easily by using technologically advanced devices that can be purchased online for under $100.  The crooks use the devices to steal your credit card information right through the air, with incredible ease and without you ever knowing it. 

Over 150 million Americans are currently at serious risk.  Unfortunately, millions have already felt the strain of being ripped off from scammers using one of these new devices.  Authorities believe millions more will be affected in the future.  It’s not a matter of “if,” but “when” you will be ripped off by these technologically advanced robbers.

Without requiring a physical swipe, the device can collect account numbers, expiration dates, security codes, social security numbers, credit card numbers and other information from cards that contain RFID chips.

Electronic pick-pocketing, or “crowd hacking” as it is referred to has been linked to millions of Americans being ripped off.  If you have a "chipped" credit card, the chip can be scanned at stores, restaurants, sporting events, the airport, or as you sit in your automobile at a traffic light.  The new scanners can reach outwards 25 – 30 feet to grab your information from cards containing RFID technology.

So far, it appears as though the criminals are targeting RFID credit/debit cards, military CAC cards, military ID cards, VA medical cards, access cards to buildings, school ID cards, U.S. passports issued after 2006 and Enhanced Driver's Licenses.

There are currently an estimated 250 million chipped RFID cards in use in the U.S.

 

What to Do to Protect Yourself

The BBB suggests cutting two pieces of cardboard the size of a credit card and wrap each with aluminum foil.  Then place the chip-containing card between the foil-wrapped pieces to block data transmission from the scanners.  Some people are finding success in purchasing wallets containing aluminum linings that block scanner transmissions. 

Also, there is a product you can purchase called Wallet Bunny that goes in your wallet and defends against electronic theft by making a whining noise if you are attacked and it lights up to inform you if you are ever targeted by criminals.

      

Real Estate Scam Aimed At Veterans
August 10, 2017

So far, over 15,000 veterans have been scammed out of millions of dollars on a scam that promises to make veterans wealthy.  The scammers prey off the current wave of patriotism and support many veterans receive from well-wishers, corporations, and small businesses.  The real estate scam involves scammers posting bogus rental property on a classified ad websites (e.g., Craig’s List, Backpage, etc.) offering huge veteran discounts or free property altogether. All the veteran has to do is wire transfer a security deposit or provide their debit card information to cover costs of an alleged “processing fee” to the landlord of each property.

 

How The Scam Is Constructed

The scammers will contact a veteran claiming to be a representative from a known veterans’ organization such as Wounded Warrior Project, DAV or VFW.  The scammers inform the veteran they have been randomly chosen to receive rental property or free property as a token of appreciation for their military service.  The scammers claim the properties in their possession have been foreclosed and purchased by their organization for pennies on the dollar.  Rather than have the property sit for months on the open market, the scammers try to convince veterans they [the phony organization] purchased the property only to give it to a well deserving veteran.  All the veteran has to do is cover the cost of the transaction by sending in a security deposit and cover the cost of the processing fee.

To get a true idea how this scam is carried out, below you can read a transcript from an actual telephone call to a veteran.  The telephone call was recorded by the veteran.

----------------------------------- 

Scammer:  May I please speak with Mr. Veteran?

Veteran:  This is Mr. Veteran.

Scammer:  Mr. Veteran, my name is Joe Scammer, I am calling you from VFW.  I have great news for you!  You like good news don’t you?

Veteran:  Yes.

Scammer:  I was hoping you’d say that.  I like good news too Mr. Veteran.  Well, you’ve been recognized by VFW as an honorably discharged veteran.  Thank you for your service Mr. Veteran.

Veteran:  No problem.

Scammer:  In recognition of your honorable service, the VFW would like to provide you with a two year-old, 2500 square foot home in Ventura County.  The home will cost you nothing, not a dime.  That’s good news isn’t it?

Veteran:  Yeah!  But, are you serious?

Scammer:  As serious as an incoming ICBM [laughing].  We [VFW] purchase homes around the country so that we can give them away to veterans.  We’re a non-profit organization, so we’re allowed to get the homes dirt cheap, and in some cases free.  We clean the homes up, and give them away to deserving veterans like yourself.  Have you heard of Habitat for Humanity?

Veteran:  Yes.

Scammer:  We’re kind of the same thing.  When someone gets a free home from Habitat for Humanity, they have to pay taxes on the home, processing fees, and a small downpayment is required.  They never tell you that part.  Sometimes, the poor family won’t have enough money to cover those fees and end up not getting the home.  That would suck if that happened to you wouldn’t it?

Veteran:  Yes.

Scammer:  To prevent you from losing your new home all we need is for you to secure your home by sending us a small security deposit.  The security deposit will cover all administrative fees, and then the house is yours.  That’s great news isn’t it?

Veteran:  Yeah.  How much?

Scammer:  Only $5500.  And, I need you to send it to me as quickly as possible.  See, we’re having a contest today to see who can contact the most veterans and give them a home.  If I win, I will get a free vacation package to any destination of my choice.  I really want to win Mr. Veteran.  Can you please help me win Mr. Veteran?

Veteran:  I’ll do what I can.  Do I write you a check or what?

Scammer:  Oh no Mr. Veteran! [laughing].  You need to wire transfer the money to me today.  Let me help you with that…

The scammers are highly trained and very convincing.  Additionally, they’re using technology that mimics active telephone numbers from veterans’ organizations, and will show up on your telephone’s caller ID as a veteran organization.  The scammers seem legitimate – they are not.  One major red flag is their need to have you wire transfer money to them right away.

Stay alert and do not fall prey to this highly sophisticated scam.


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