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Tag Archives: fraud

Moving Targets: Exposing the World of HVAC Scammers

When looking for an HVAC company, trustworthiness is one of the most important attributes to consider. Photo: Ortiz Heating and Air Conditioning (2016)

With the many heating and air conditioning companies operating in the Bay Area, it’s natural to assume that some are better than others, with each possessing varying degrees of experience, organization, customer service and technological proficiency. However, when it comes to choosing an HVAC company, there’s more at stake than its level of skill or service: if you’re not careful, you could pick a fraudulent one. Like many service industries, the HVAC industry is rife with dishonest businesses out to take advantage of unsuspecting consumers.

Too outrageous to be true? Not according to Bryant Kearney, service manager at Moore Solar/Heating/Cooling, who is very familiar with the handiwork of these conniving companies. “Scams are a major problem in the HVAC industry,” he affirms. Continue reading “Moving Targets: Exposing the World of HVAC Scammers” »

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Hook, Line and Swindle

jay-unplugged-6-17-16My book club just finished reading and discussing a book called I Do Not Come to You by Chance, which is set in Nigeria and written by Nigerian author Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani. What’s fascinating about the story is that it takes the reader inside the world of Nigerian 419 scammers (419 refers to the Nigerian Criminal Code section that deals with fraud, charges and penalties for offenders). Such advance fee scams are simply a confidence trick: the victim is promised a share of a large sum of money in return for a small upfront payment, which the fraudulent operator says is needed to obtain the large sum. More fees may be requested after the first payment, or the fraudster will just disappear. Continue reading “Hook, Line and Swindle” »

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Mind Games: The Psychology of Scamming

The best way to avoid a scam is to be hypercritical when making significant financial decisions.

The best way to avoid a scam is to be hypercritical when making significant financial decisions.

Several weeks ago, I received a phone call from a representative who told me we had failed to pay for our newspaper subscription since September. He said I could pay the past due amount by credit card along with another three months in advance: a total of $400. I was so embarrassed about being late on the bill that I almost fell for the scam. Just a few days later, the San Francisco Chronicle ran a full-page ad warning subscribers that this particular company wasn’t authorized to offer renewals (almost double the usual amount) and to ignore the calls and notices sent by mail. Continue reading “Mind Games: The Psychology of Scamming” »

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Defense Against the Dark Arts: Four Expert Tips and One Simple Trick to Avoid Locksmith Fraud

Avoid Getting Scammed by a Locksmith

Photo: Foothill Locksmiths, Inc (2014)

If you’re locked out of your home or car, you might assume that googling “locksmith” or pointing to a random name in the phone book will yield a positive result. However, as it turns out, choosing a locksmith at random is a risky move. According to Gary Lekan, Continue reading “Defense Against the Dark Arts: Four Expert Tips and One Simple Trick to Avoid Locksmith Fraud” »

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How it Is: I Got Scammed by a Locksmith

Scammed by a locksmith

I delete emails from down-and-out Nigerian royalty. Stranded hospital-bound strangers get nothing. And when Bernie Madoff made me an offer I couldn’t refuse, I said, “No way!” Or I would have, if he had…you get the drift. Consequently, it is with great humility (and some shame) that I admit this in a public forum: I got scammed by a locksmith—or more accurately, a con artist posing as a locksmith. Here’s how it happened.

One bright fall morning, I carefully locked all the doors to my house, walked my kids to the bus stop and handed my only house key to my son (who had forgotten his). Continue reading “How it Is: I Got Scammed by a Locksmith” »

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A Former Con Artist Gives Us the Inside Story

Take a look at this youtube.com video called Fraud: An Inside Look.

The Federal Trade Commission created this 10-minute video that shows you how easy it is to get conned. The deceptive practices range from making unsubstantiated earnings claims for business opportunities to giving phony references with people who are in cahoots with the fraudsters.

With the economic downturn, these types of scams are on the rise. If you’re approached with a questionable offer, the con man in the video suggests this one thing: “Fast no’s and slow yes’s. That’s all you have to remember.” Don’t get caught in their web and get pressured into anything on the spot.

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