Beware Of Latest Scams & Schemes

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Scam artists are at it again. They’ve found new ways to trick you into giving up your hard-earned money, and for some of the victims, the results can be devastating.

The following list started with the help of viewers. They told KDKA about emails, letters or phone calls they got.

First on the list is a phone call that would rattle anyone, a man claiming to be from the Drug Enforcement Administration, saying you’re about to be arrested:

“If you think that you are going to run away from the authorities, guess what? You must be going nuts because I will have my officers there show up at your door within the next 24 to 48 hours.”

Callers say you can avoid the arrest by paying a fine. A woman in Belle Vernon got one of the calls.

KDKA’s David Highfield took this scam to the real DEA.

“A DEA agent would never call and ask somebody to wire money to them – that never happens,” said the DEA’s Gary Davis.

Davis says many times victims are people who have ordered drugs – or just herbal supplements from an online pharmacy without a prescription – and soon after, they get a call claiming the overseas pharmacy is under investigation and they are too.

“There was one woman who sent $85,000 over a period of time, and there was another woman who sent money and she was devastated – she actually committed suicide,” said Davis.

Those horrible outcomes did not happen in our area.

As for number two on the list, Cassie Brenner saw people on television using electronic cigarettes; she thought it might help her daughter quit smoking, so she went online to a company called Direct E Cig.

“They said you could get a free starter kit – all you would have to pay for is the shipping and handling,” said Brenner.

She paid the $4.95 in shipping, but then got a surprise.

“Around 30 days after I got the starter kit – they billed me for the starter kit – and it was a hundred dollars,” she said.

So is it a scam? Brenner feels like she got taken, but this is more of a case of always-read-the-fine-print.

The Better Business Bureau has given Direct E Cig an “F” rating.

Brenner says the company told her the fine print stated that if she didn’t return the kit in a certain number of days she’d be charged.

“Be extremely cautious with free trial offers – you really have to look at the fine print,” said Becky Maier, of the Better Business Bureau.

The company never responded to KDKA’s attempts to reach them.

Number three, a woman in Knoxville was suspicious when she got a letter from UBI Payment Services.

It promised $5,000 if she returned the “release form” and fulfilled the contest rules. It appears it came from Hong Kong and the return envelope is addressed to Australia. So is this is a scam?

Postal Inspector Andrew Richards says it definitely is. They send a check, and then the consumer is asked to send them money immediately to pay fees; but once the money is gone, the consumer realizes the check they sent was phony.

Number four on our list is an email KDKA’s Dave Crawley received.

It appears it to be from Discover Card, telling Dave he needs to reconfirm his account information within three days or his account will be suspended. There’s even a link supposedly to Discover Card’s website.

However, officials with Discover say they would never send out an email asking for your account information. In fact, if you hold your mouse over the link, without actually clicking it – you’ll see where the link would really take you, and it’s not to Discover’s site.

Dave didn’t fall for this. The big red flag for him was two misspellings.

“It was actually quite believable down to the last sentence when they misspelled two words,” said Crawley.

You don’t have to be a good speller to be a scam artist.

Better Business Bureau
More Consumer News

  • chance

    “A FOOL and his money are soon parted”!

  • ed kelley

    who can i contact to report the rip offs i been geting so who is doing the story at kdka

  • deborh

    I recived a letter mail from Leggett Market Research with a check for $2,280.00 for me to cash the check and send so much money to Western Union to another person.And keep so much money.And spend the rest of the money at a store.I did not do what it said to do .I kept the letter and the check.Because I don’t know what I should do with it.The company is from New York ,but the stamp is from Canada. I read about these scams on TV .So I know this is just another scam.

  • Doofus

    How many times do the news stations run these same scam stories and idiots STILL think they can get something for nothing?

    • Jason

      Sadly our city is known for being friendly…not smart.

  • Dave

    > You don’t have to be a good speller to be a scam artist.

    Or to be a kdka reporter. Over half the articles have errors.

  • Edward Morrow

    CBS has cut out the spell checker from the budget, anlong with talented reporters

    • 2059

      Eddy boy, what the hell is ANLONG? You can’t spell either, A-HOLE!!!!!

  • paul

    What’s up with all the 2011 inspection stickers pealing off? I see it happening to a lot of vehicles, a police officer said those stickers are no good although i haven’t verified this yet has anyone else noticed? I first notice the stickers pealing off my mom’s, my friend’s, and then my girlfriends vehicle and they don’t get their cars inspected at the same place. I got suspicious when I was walking down E. carson St and seeing it on other cars as well:/

    Anyway sorry to come a little off subject not sure if it’s a scam/phony or not:)Thanks KDKA for making everyone more aware:) as the age of technology advances we all still have to practice safe web browsing, even the littlest bit of information submitted can end in an unfortunate result.

    Peaceful Regards, Everyone have an awesome weekend!:)

    – Paul

    • Jim

      Funny you’d mention it. I’ve seen quite a few cars with both inspection and emission stickers half peeled off. Never thought much about it but yea, I don’t recall seeing this in the past.

  • FDA to Regulate E-Cigarettes Just Like Tobacco | Free Stop Smoking Advice

    […] Beware Of Latest Scams & Schemes Scam artists are at it again. They’ve found new ways to trick you into giving up your hard earned money, and for some of the victims, the results can be devastating. Read more on CBS Pittsburgh […]

  • Melinda Fisher

    Hi I am Melinda Fisher and I have been getting phone calls and they will not even tell me who they are they told me that I am a suspect but they will not tell me of what, also they said that I am being sued for $6,000. I have recieved phone calls from florida, new york and the district of columbia and they are all the same thing. I have also had a message left on my phone about how there are going to be serious consequences at my home or at my work place. They will not stop calling me and the one guy called and I asked him to quit calling me and to take my number of their call list and hung up he called right back asking me who i thought i was and asked me why he should quit calling me. I just want the calls to stop and I do not know what to do.

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