Washington, DC


Photo by John Sonderman

From DC Water:

“DC Water is warning customers to beware of people claiming to represent the utility to gain access to their homes.

DC Water was made aware of a police report that says two suspects dressed as construction workers approached a home in the 3000 block of M Street, SE. Police say the men claimed to be from DC Water and said they “needed to check pipes inside the home. The homeowner refused to let them in, at which point the suspects produced a handgun and tried to force their way into the home. The homeowner was able to get the door shut and the suspects fled the location.

The suspects do not work for DC Water and our crews will not try to gain access to a property without prior authorization. If someone claiming to be from DC Water shows up at your door asking for access, please do not allow them in. If you fear for your safety, call 911 immediately to report the suspicious behavior. We also ask that you call our Customer Care Department at (202) 354-3600 to report it. Read More

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Photo by Joanna Hiatt Kim

Ed. Note: If it seems too good to be true, especially on Craiglist, it is 99% a scam. I can’t tell you how many houses I see for $600/month when looking for my daily rental picks…

“Dear PoPville,

I finally started exploring the renting portion of Craiglist and have come across something that seems pretty sketchy. I’ve reached out to two properties that seem too good to be true but just on the line – $1650 – $1700 for spacious one bedrooms – and recognized similar behavior between the two.

The properties had two different “unit managers” but both started by asking for my real email, sending me apartment information in a separate thread, and then sending the following message: Read More

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11th and Florida Ave, NW

It was very upsetting to see this sign last month. Even more upsetting is scammers trying to take advantage of our emotions.

On Saturday the Florida Avenue Grill warned:

“Beware there are multiple unauthorized people purportedly raising money to “save” @floridaavegrill here on IG and elsewhere. None of these solicitations are authorized. They are done without our knowledge or consent. Nor have any funds donated been given to the Grill… The Grill is not going out of business. Read More

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Photo by PoPville flickr user angela n.

From the Office of the D.C. Attorney General:

“District residents should be on high alert for scams related to federal coronavirus relief payments or “economic impact payments.”

As early as next week, millions of eligible Americans will begin receiving one-time payments from the federal government as part of the response to COVID-19. The exact timeline is still being worked out, but these payments will come through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) either through direct deposit or by check. Accurate information on these payments can be found on the IRS website: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus

Unfortunately, scammers are using the news of these relief payments as an opportunity to attempt to steal consumers’ money or personal information. Scammers may use the promise of these government checks or payments to trick people into giving out private information, such as bank account details or Social Security numbers. They may try to impersonate government agencies or promise to help consumers get payments faster. And scammers may reach out to consumers by phone, email, text, or social media.

In fact, the Office of the Attorney General has already heard of people receiving robocalls asking for financial information to process their stimulus payments. Beware: this is a scam.

Here is what you need to know to spot scams and stay safe: Read More

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Photo by PoPville flickr user Claire Uziel

From the DC Office of the Attorney General:

“As public health concerns grow about coronavirus (COVID-19), scammers may try to take advantage of consumers. Scams could include selling products that are ineffective at preventing the disease and spreading misinformation through social media and other channels. Other scammers may be pretending to solicit donations to help coronavirus victims, but instead are stealing consumers’ money and personal information.

Here are some tips to protect yourself from these scams: Read More

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Thanks to Stephanie for passing on:

“A little PSA – just had a phishing scam. Someone “from Pepco” calling to reduce my bills by 30%, they just needed me to provide my Residential-R service number. Got off the phone and called Pepco to ask about it. Supposedly with that number they can hijack your account.”

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“Dear PoPville,

Sad to say that I saw the 2 $10s for a $20 scam in action on the platform at Union Station today. I was about 15 feet away and on an important call and wasn’t 100% sure I had correctly recalled this as a scam so I didn’t intervene.

Only when the tricked guy and I both got on the train did I think to google “PoPville $20” – and sure enough, it pulled up the picture of the guy and his walker. It’s done so, so adeptly – and the man really does appear disabled and in-need – that I frankly doubted my own memory and hesitated on intervening. I showed the scammed guy the picture. He actually reacted pretty graciously (“Well I hope he needed it more than I do.”).”

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Photo by PoPville flickr user Andrew Pasko-Reader

“Dear PoPville,

I’m scanning Craigslist apartment listings for the first time in a few years, and I’d be curious to hear from other readers whether it’s the new norm to ask for personal information before you see a place?

Obviously, we all know not to share banking details with the person who’s out of the country but will mail you the keys to your $1,200/month Dupont penthouse suite.

But the people who ask for full name, occupation, and current location before you even tour the apartment? Legitimate landlords, who are similarly wary of Craigslist, or a newer and subtler way of scamming renters?”

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“So I’m back to the velvet underground / back to the floor, that I love / to a room with some lace and paper flowers / back to the gypsy that I was.” -Stevie Nicks

“Dear PoPville,

Just wanted to put a PSA out there so no one repeats my dumb mistake.

The TL;DR: never ever, ever ever use Zelle or Venmo to buy stuff off craigslist until you’ve got the thing in hand. They don’t have payment protection. Paypal does.

Anyway, I decided to try and get some last minute tickets to Fleetwood Mac tonight. Went on Craigslist to buy tickets. Messaged this legit-seeming post. The tickets in the post said “Mike” on them. The person texted like a Dad. It seemed legit until…they asked if I had Zelle. I thought it was weird. Their excuse was “Unfortunately they hold payments on new accounts for 21 days which is absurd.” Something about the word “absurd” seemed real to me. Almost disarming. You’re right! It is absurd. But they wouldn’t go along to get along: they refused to send the ticket before I sent payment despite my offer to send a drivers license picture. There were too many flags. I let the conversation end there.

Reader, I’d love to tell you that I, having learned my lesson and stopped right here.

I did not learn my lesson, nor did I stop right here. Read More

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