In the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” everybody knows what “fishing” is, and many people are also familiar with “phishing” scams. “Phishing” occurs when a criminal sends an email impersonating a financial institution, government agency, or reputable company and asks the recipient to verify their personal or financial information. Today’s scam artists have now turned to a more sophisticated, targeted, and profitable version of the scam, known as “spear phishing.”
By one estimate, Americans lost $7.4 billion in 2015 to telemarketing scams. For years, scam artists — often operating from other countries —have asked people to pay them by wire transfer, reloadable money packs, or remotely-created checks or payment orders. Scammers prefer these methods because they are like cash—they are difficult to trace, and once sent, the money is usually gone for good.
Seniors citizens often receive mail that asks for their personal information in exchange for details about life insurance, funeral expense benefits or supplemental Medicare benefits. Once seniors provide their information, they are sometimes flooded with mailed solicitations or hounded by sales calls
Charitable athletic events—like walkathons, races, and mud runs—may allow donors to both help a good cause and have the gratification of competing at an athletic event. But not all events are the same. Some events have high overhead, leaving little for charity. And at least one mud run in Minnesota gave no money to the charity it promised to help.
If you receive unwanted mail, you are not alone. Many people are bombarded by junk mail—ranging from credit card offers to catalogues to charitable solicitations. Persistent junk mail can inundate mailboxes and become a hassle to dispose of. So why is it so difficult to stop unwanted mail?
Some criminals will say almost anything to try to scam people—including threatening arrest, lawsuits, imprisonment, or even physical harm. While the scams take several different forms, the goal is the same—to pressure people to pay money or reveal personal or financial information. Below are a few examples:
As people try to screen unwanted phone calls, unscrupulous telemarketers and scam artists have looked for new ways to lure people to answer calls. One increasingly common technique scam artists use is to falsify or “spoof” their caller ID information with local phone numbers or information to make it look like the calls are from a nearby person or business. While the caller’s information may appear local, the calls are often placed by scam artists who are located outside the state or country.
Fake check scams generally involve a fraudulent check sent to a citizen containing the citizen’s name and address with instructions to deposit the check and send money to a third party. Typically, once the money is sent, the bank determines the check is fake and the citizen is on the hook for the money he or she sent. It can happen like this:
As an independent cosmetics sales consultant with an active online presence, “Amy” was used to accepting checks from customers she did not know personally. So when a customer in Australia placed an order and offered to send a check, Amy agreed. When Amy received the check, however, she noticed that the customer had overpaid by $100. The customer explained that she needed the products right away and asked Amy to wire the overpayment to a third party for expedited shipping services. Amy brought the check to her bank, which determined that it was counterfeit.
People who used certain prescription drugs for "off-label" uses — not for their primary, FDA-approved labeled uses — may be eligible for monetary refunds.
The Minnesota Attorney General’s Office, along with other state attorneys general and the federal government, reached settlements with three large drug companies: Abbott Laboratories, Wyeth, and GlaxoSmithKline.
The settlements provide restitution (refund) money for Minnesota customers who were prescribed the drugs Advair, Depakote, Paxil, Rapamune, or Wellbutrin for “off-label” uses during certain periods of time.