February Scam Wrap-Up

Top Scams 2015

By Veronica Craker, Content and Communications Director

The following are scams that were reported to Better Business Bureau serving the Northwest in February. In most instances names and locations have been omitted to protect the victims’ privacy.

ALASKA 

This month there were 13 scams reported in Alaska with an estimated $1,300 lost.

Inheritance Scam 

An Anchorage woman reported she lost $1,200 in a fake inheritance scam. The woman reports she was contacted by the email alansotosotos@gmail.com letting her know a relative had passed away and left their estate to her. But in order to obtain the inheritance she needed to send money totaling $1,200 via MoneyGram to three separate people for legal fees and a death certificate. She was also convinced to send a copy of her 2015 income tax return.

Publisher’s Clearing House Scam

An Anchorage man reports he was targeted by a Publisher’s Clearing House scam. The man reports he was told he had won $250,000 six years ago, and the deadline to collect was expiring. The man was told to pay a $250 filing fee and the check would be delivered to his house. The man did not pay the fee.

IDAHO

This month there were 109 scams reported in Idaho with an estimated $2,400 lost.

Lottery Winner Scam

A Homedale woman reports she lost $1,700 to a lottery scam. The woman reports she was told she won $3.5 million and a new car. She was instructed to send two money orders to a woman in Florida and a man in Utah. After sending to money orders, one for $699 and another for $1,099 the Post Office stopped her from sending anything else. She soon realized it was not legitimate.

Tax Collection scam

A Nampa woman reported she was the target of a tax collection scam. The woman reports she received a recorded message saying she owed money to the IRS. These types of scams increase during tax season.

MONTANA

This month there were 26 scams reported in Montana with an estimated $950 lost.

Fake puppy website

A Hamilton man reports he lost $700 when he tried to purchase a puppy online. The man states he tried to purchase a puppy from Jiminies Shetland Sheepdog Kennels. He paid $700 via MoneyGram for the dog. Then he was told he needed to pay an additional $1,200 for insurance. The Hamilton man contacted local law enforcement and has not sent any additional money.

Advance Loan Scam

A Missoula woman reports she lost more than $200 when she tried to get a payday advance loan from 60mincash.com. She reports, she paid $200, but never received her loan. Now she is being contacted for more money to pay back the loan she never received.

OREGON

This month there were 100 scams reported in Oregon with an estimated $200 lost.

Fake Invoice Scam

A Portland woman reported she lost $45 in a fake invoice scam. The woman reports her office received hard-copy invoices to renew multiple domains expiring in the upcoming months. The invoice states: “This notice is not a bill, it is rather an easy means of payment should you decide to switch your domain name registration to Internet Domain Name Services.” One of the invoices was paid before the mistake was discovered.

Utility Scam

A Portland woman reported they were the target of a solar power program scam. The woman reports they received a pre-recorded call asking them if they were interested in reducing their energy bill by 14 percent. She clicked “1” for “yes” and then spoke with a man who requested personal information for billing. The woman asked what company this was and was told “Community services” and then “Solar Power Program.” When she pushed the caller with more questions they became angry with her and hung up on her.

WASHINGTON

This month there were 246 scams reported in Washington with an estimated $4,650 lost.

Can You Hear Me Now? 

A Seattle man reported he lost $100 to the “Can You Hear Me Now?” phishing scam. The man reports his wife received a call and since she doesn’t speak English he answered the phone for her. He reports the caller said they were adjusting their headset and asked him if he could hear her. The man checked his credit card statement the next day and found an unauthorized transaction for $100.79 for a California hotel.

Online Purchase Scam

An Auburn woman reported she lost $559.45 in an online purchase scam. The woman reports she purchased medical products through www.evamedicals.com. She was unable to pay for the order online, but was sent an email from the company requesting she make a payment via Western Union or MoneyGram. The woman sent the payment, but never received her products. She tried calling the number listed, but it was not working.

 

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February Scams Roundup

The following are some of the scams reported to Better Business Bureau Northwest during the month of February. In most instances names and locations have been omitted to protect the victims’ privacy.

Top Scams 2015

ALASKA

Employment Scam

A Wasilla resident contacted BBB Northwest Feb. 1 after he was emailed about being a travel coordinator for a travel company. The company sent him an application for the job and advised him to wait for a check. He was then told to cash the check and keep five percent for himself and send the money to a manager overseas. The resident did this twice with checks totaling $1,353 each. Afterward, his bank called him and informed him the checks were fake and that he had to pay $4,700 to the bank. The Alaska resident says he is still receiving checks from the fraudulent company.

Grandparent Scam

A resident out of Wasilla, contacted BBB Northwest Feb. 23 stating her parents had fallen victim to the “Grandparent Scheme.” This occurs when a scammer contacts an elderly consumer convincing them they are their grandchild and is in desperate need of money. In this instance, the Wasilla resident sent $80,000 to someone they thought was their grandchild. They used SWIFT payment and transferred the money to a bank in Mexico.

OREGON

Ebay Scam

One Oregon resident saw the eBay guarantee and was hooked. Unfortunately, that’s just what the scammer had in mind. BBB Northwest was contacted Feb. 1 when the Oregon resident lost $2,000 as they tried to buy a motorhome off of a Craigslist ad. The victim said the ad had an official looking eBay money back guarantee promise, which misled them.

Personal Information Scam

An unknown individual was at Umpqua Community College promoting a “signature gathering job” that paid $15 an hour. An Oregon resident gave the individual her W2 information and allowed them to take her picture. The scammer promised to follow-up with them for training. Unfortunately that never happened. Now the scammer has the victim’s social security number and photo identification.

WASHINGTON

USB Scam

A Washington resident is out $2,500 after trying to purchase hundreds of USB sticks. The consumer reported to BBB Northwest Feb. 3 that they ordered them from Madinchinausb.com and received fake sticks that were unusable.

Employment Scam

A Washington resident lost $3,500 when she went to work for a fake company. The complainant states they were hired as a project manager for a transportation company. The company told the victim to purchase four laptops. Afterwards she was told to send them to Ukraine, which tipped her off that the business was a scam.

Spot a business or offer that sounds like an illegal scheme or fraud? Help us investigate and warn others by reporting what you know at BBB Scam Tracker.