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by Prince Of Petworth September 25, 2017 at 12:45 pm 0

“Dear PoPville,

On Sunday 9/24 we were hit by the ‘Neighbor Bruce’ [Also has gone by Gene] scammer at about 9:15pm at our home just off H Street, near the new Whole Foods. He introduced himself as our neighbor ‘Doug’, provided an address for where he lived and a few names of neighbors he knew. He said his employee just dropped him off and he left his coat with his wallet, phone and keys in the backseat and asked to use our phone. I initially was skeptical and tried to turn him away, but (as con artists do…) he continued on with his narrative and convinced my husband to call a number he provided. (more…)

by Prince Of Petworth September 15, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0


Photo by PoPville flickr user Tim Brown

“Dear PoPville,

Remember a few years back when people posing as Verizon employees where knocking on doors to do a system check? I believe that scam is running again in Petworth/ 16th St. Heights.

I had 3 young adults knock on my door today alleging to work for Verizon. One was wearing a very faded Verizon shirt, the others looked like they were in school uniforms – dark polos and kakhi pants.

I explained that I had recently moved iand I just had Verizon at my house last week, so I would call the office if I had problems and they went away.

But just wanted to remind people not let these people in your house. Verizon employees should be able to show you an employee ID and do not do door to door solicitations.

Be safe!”

by Prince Of Petworth September 12, 2017 at 10:05 pm 0

From a press release:

“Montgomery County’s Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) has released a consumer alert video regarding deceptive practices by air duct cleaning services. This Consumer Alert Air Duct Scams Video warns consumers about coupon-based air duct cleaning firms that engage in deceptive marketing by promoting misleadingly low prices, making unsubstantiated health claims and up-selling additional services.

The video highlights a two-step “deceptive dance” prevalent in this industry. First, coupon-based air duct cleaning firms typically gain access to a consumer’s home by advertising that they can provide a service at an extremely low cost, and then attempt to scare a consumer into purchasing hundreds or thousands of dollars of additional services by representing that dangerous conditions are present in the ducts.

The video also highlights other problems with the coupon-based air duct cleaning industry: (more…)

by Prince Of Petworth June 2, 2017 at 12:30 pm 7 Comments

“Dear PoPville,

Wanted to drop a line about a “new” ticket scam similar to the one in October.

I got duped myself, after buying 4 tickets to the upcoming U2 show. Fortunately, I was able to trick the scammer by posing as another buyer before cornering him and demanding my money back, but there are multiple posts on Craigslist by this same outfit.

I suspected they were fake and did some research after I bought them. They looked identical to the fake Adele tickets. Also, after some research, I discovered that all the GA tickets to the U2 show are “paperless”, meaning you never get a ticket, you swipe the credit card that you bought the tickets with and then show an ID. (more…)

by Prince Of Petworth October 27, 2016 at 2:00 pm 47 Comments

scam
Photo by PoPville flickr user Wayan Vota

“Dear PoPville,

A woman stopped me as I was walking toward Farragut after work and said she’d been in a car crash and her car was totaled and that she didn’t have enough cash for the cab ride home, which she said was 1.5 hours outside of DC. She said she worked for a law firm in the area but that no one was in the office and that she had just recently moved to DC from Georgia and didn’t know anyone. She was using a cane and was crying while telling me this story. (more…)

by Prince Of Petworth October 18, 2016 at 12:35 pm 35 Comments

scammers
Photo by PoPville flickr user Randall Myers

Readers reports:

“$20 for two $10s scam guy is back…or maybe he never went away. Spotted harassing folks at 15th and M this morning.”

and

“I’ve heard from several of my neighbors in the H Street area that “Neighbor Bruce” is back and coming to folks houses with a scam story about needing metro money and being locked out of his house. He is a white male, mid 50s, around 6′ tall, dressed in a full suit and tie.”

Ed. Note: He also goes by Gene

and

“Just want to give people a heads-up on this guy scamming people in the NoMa/Eckington neighborhood. It happened to me a few weeks ago, and this weekend I learned something similar by the same guy happened to one of my close friends. Considering the odds of that, I assume it has happened before and will happen to others.

Based on NC/VA/MD records, the guy in question is a convicted felon with priors in NC for felony B&E, robbery, assault on a police officer, plus numerous other petty larceny/obtaining money under false pretenses/drug possession charges, so that (combined with some things he said) gives me some reason to worry that he just might be involved in something beyond scamming gullible young professionals in the NoMa area.

On a Tuesday night a few weeks ago, a guy who looked to be anywhere from his late 20’s to mid-30’s stopped me outside of the NoMa metro station asking for a tank of gas to drive to North Carolina. He told me that his dad had just suffered a heart attack and his 14-year old brother was alone with him at a hospital in Durham. He said he didn’t have any money in his bank account to cover the gas, and it was right before the end of the month, so I thought that was plausible. I told him to meet me at a gas station on the corner of New York Ave and P St. NE. When I got there, he was standing outside his car waiting for me. (more…)

by Prince Of Petworth October 11, 2016 at 2:45 pm 53 Comments

ticket-comparison

“Dear PoPville,

I want to share something that happened to me and my friends this weekend.

“I successfully buy tickets off of craigslist all the time for shows at 9:30, U street music hall, Echostage, and sometimes, big budget shows at the Verizon Center. I will never do the last one again.

There is an organized system of ticket scammers for the biggest shows that come into town. I know many will read this and say “duh!” but I feel strongly in sharing this story so others do not repeat my mistake.

cragslist-scam

I bought 4 tickets to the Adele concert on Sunday off of a craigslist ad that was not supported by a third party scalper or any sort of buisness. Instead it was written earnestly, in the same way I would write an ad, with an above face-value price for four floor tickets. I went back and forth with the seller and settled on a price. I also asked the seller to send me a photo of the tickets, which he did. Also, in all the email exchanges, his messages were signed off with the “sent by an iphone” message.

The seller then asked for my phone number to meet, which I gave. He then offered to drop the price some more if I wanted an additional ticket. I said yes. Red flag, I know. At this point, I was buying four tickets at face value. I did notice that when he texted me from his 304 number that the text bubbles were green (suddenly not an Iphone user?). I asked if I could Venmo, he said cash only. (more…)

by Prince Of Petworth September 16, 2016 at 9:30 am 0

8639403468_80e88566a1_z
Photo by PoPville flickr user Erin

From DMV:

“The District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles is warning customers about a phishing scam to collect money from past due tickets. In an email from [email protected], customers are being told that they have a Notice of Unsatisfied Photo Enforcement Ticket. The notice also directs customers to click the link to “Lost Traffic Tickets.”

Photo Enforcement tickets are mailed through the United States Postal Service to the address of record based on the tag number. Also, DC DMV mails the Notice of Unsatisfied Photo Enforcement Ticket, and it contains specific information on how to contest the ticket by submitting a request for adjudication. DC DMV only contacts customers via email if they have registered for DC DMV’s email ticket alert system. Then, they will receive an email notifying them to log into their account when there is a ticket update.

Customers who receive this email notice should report it to the Federal Trade Commission, which has detailed information for consumers on how to handle phishing scams.”

by Prince Of Petworth August 22, 2016 at 9:55 am 148 Comments

school con
Photo by PoPville flickr user Mr.TinDC

“Dear PoPville,

I wanted to write to warn people about several interactions I’ve had with a gentleman downtown, near the Convention Center and CityCenter.

Several weeks ago, during the middle of the day around 10th and Massachusetts NW, an older gentleman approached me and asked, “Do you know where the Veteran’s Building is?” He had a stack of papers in his hands and was wearing a dingy white button down shirt and a tie.

I asked him if he knew the address, which he did not, and he asked if I could look up the information for nearest VFW. He then asked if he could borrow my phone to call the VFW, because his phone had died. I dialed the number and handed him the phone.

During this phone call, he relayed a terrible story to the person on the line. He said that he was a Vietnam veteran, he lived in Maryland, and he had taken the bus into DC that day for an appointment at the VA. But when he arrived at the VA, he learned that the appointment had been rescheduled for the next day without notifying him. He had spent his cash on a bus ticket to DC and didn’t have enough money to stay anywhere overnight until his rescheduled appointment the following day. He asked the VFW if they could help him arrange for a hotel room or hostel room for the night, but was unsuccessful. The call was heartbreaking to listen to. (more…)

by Prince Of Petworth April 26, 2016 at 10:55 am 21 Comments

scam or not

“Dear PoPville,

Came home yesterday to a note left in the crack of my door. Upon getting this, I immediately messaged my upstairs roommate (who handles our cable) to find out what was up. The copy/paste Comcast label was an immediate red flag for me. After calling Comcast to confirm – we can officially say this is a total scam! The scammer left this in our mailbox on the front of our house, but to leave it at my door they had to get super creepy. They unlocked our back gate, came into our backyard, and walked down to my rear-entry basement apartment in a desperate attempt to see if someone was home – and most likely try to get inside. Luckily, we were all at work. Who knows what would have happened! We suspect if you call the number, they’ll try to extort you not to “turn off your cable.” Scary, and super creeps! This all sounds very much like the fake “Verizon techs” who were wandering around a few month ago. NoMa residents – beware!!”

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