Breaking: Scammers Use Confidence in Trusted Brands To Fleece Victims



Old Game – New Tricks

Cons have been used throughout human history. The word is an abbreviation of the word confidence. As in gaining someone’s confidence.

Many credit William Thompson, an 1800s New Yorker, with originating the term.

Watch Your Watch

Thompson would approach a stranger on the pretext that they had met before. After a lively chat, Thompson would say, “Have you the confidence to trust me with your watch until tomorrow?”

Thompson reported that most of the people he approached did trust him with their watch. As a result, his “confidence game” spread.

Today, we call such grifting a con. Those who use it employ modern devices, such as the telephone and computer. However, one element remains unchanged. Modern crooks, just like Thompson, rely on our trust to succeed – our trust in reliable brands.

McAfee Email Scam

With this scam, you get an email confirming a large purchase you made. “Whoah!” you say. You did not make that purchase. You probably can not afford to make such a purchase.

Ah, but you are in luck. The confirmation email includes a link or phone number you can use to cancel this order.

If you call the phone number, you will talk to a kind and understanding customer service representative. They will assure you they can fix the problem and make sure the transaction does not hit your bank account. All they need is a little information. That is when they have you.

Taking Your Identity

The information the scammer collects “to help resolve” the issue will lead to the theft of your identity and the draining of your bank account.

Clicking the link is not much better. It can lead to the bad guys installing malware on your computer to ruin your life.

Another McAfee scam popped up last month. In this one, the email purported to be from McAfee Support. It urged recipients to “update” their accounts because their device was at risk. The “helpful” link in that email takes victims to a page used to extract personal information for fraud., which first reported the update scam, says even the unsubscribe button in this scam is weaponized. By clicking it, you go to a page that asks for personal information.

Google Voice Scam

This is another scam that employs a trusted brand to rob you.

Since you are reading this, you probably have an interest in financial wellbeing. You like to shop intelligently and manage your money effectively. You may even have a side hustle that involves selling something. Or maybe you purge unwanted things from time to time by selling online.

Let’s say you have some used jewelry you want to sell on Market Place or a local platform. You post your phone number in your listing. One night the phone rings. It is a potential buyer.

The buyer likes your jewelry and is happy with your price. The only problem is, that the buyer does not know you.

Do Not Speak

“You can never be too careful,” the buyer says. Then, he or she, tells you they use Google Voice to screen sellers they buy from.

Google Voice is a legitimate virtual phone and text service. The scammer tells you Google Voice is about to send you a verification code to confirm your identity. Just read the code back to the buyer.

When you comply with the scammer’s request, you are setting up a Google Voice account in your name. The bad guys can then use your identity to run scams on other people. That way, when law enforcement traces the identity of the scammer – they find you.

Amazon Scam

The Amazon scam involves a crook posing as an employee of the firm. By far, this is the most frequent trusted brand fraud, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

About one-third of scammers pose as Amazon employees, says the FTC.

This scam plays on your kindness as well as your trust.

You get an email or call saying there has been suspicious activity on your Amazon account. The bogus Amazon representative asks for access to your phone or computer to correct the problem and issue a refund.


However, when issuing the refund, the “poor” representative “mistakenly” gets the amount wrong and overpays you several hundred dollars.

The panic-stricken representative asks you to quickly refund the difference. They tell you they will be fired if you do not. Begging may ensue.

If you tell the fraudster to wipe away his or her tears – you will make the refund – they will wipe the money from your account.

Avoiding Scams

If you get a suspicious email – check the email address and domain. If the email originates from a domain that is not associated with the company, it is a fake. For instance, a legitimate email would have the address: support@company

The telephone is a little trickier. Phone numbers can be ghosted. That occurs when a con artist hijacks someone’s number to make calls. The hijacked number, not the crook’s, appears on your caller id. The best policy is not to answer unfamiliar numbers.

If you have been contacted by a scammer, you can report it to the FTC.

If your identity has been compromised you can report that at

Read More:

How Often Should You Check Your Net Worth

8 Challenges of Sending Large Sums of Money

Is It Possible to Find My 401(k) With My Social Security Number

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