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Rite Aid recalls folding patio chairs

The chair frame can bend causing the user to fall

Rite Aid of Camp Hill, Pa., is recalling about 18,800 folding patio chairs.

The chair frame can bend causing the user to fall, posing a risk of injury.

The firm has received four reports of chairs bending unexpectedly, including one report of a minor bruise and one laceration injury.

This recall involves two folding, metal framed patio chairs with padded seats, sold in tan and gray.

The chairs measure about 24 inches long by 22 inches wide by 37 inches high.

UPC number 01182...

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    Work-at-home scam targets college students

    This is a bad one even by scam standards

    College students beware: the Better Business Bureau and the FBI have both issued warnings about a new work-at-home scam targeting students through their school email accounts. This latest scam is a bad one even by scam standards: with most such scams, the victims “only” need worry about losing their money or personal-computer security. But anyone who falls for this latest work-at-home scam risks being arrested and prosecuted for various felonies!

    Most work-at-home scams are actually check scams, and most check scams try to cheat their victims by asking them to deposit bad checks in their bank accounts, then withdraw a small portion of that money and give it to the scammer before the check clears – or, more specifically, before the bank informs you that the check did not clear, because it's a fake.

    Suppose you have $1,000 in your bank account, and receive a scam check for $500; the scammer asks you to send him $50, and you can keep the rest. So you deposit the $500 check in your account, still having no idea it is fraudulent.

    Now, your account's “current balance” is $1,500 — that's the combined amount of the $1,000 you definitely have, plus the $500 you might have, if and when the check clears. But your “available balance,” the money actually available for withdrawal, remains only $1,000, and won't increase unless and until that $500 check clears.

    You withdraw $50 to send to the scammer, bringing your current and available balances down to $1,450 and $950, respectively — but when your bank finds out there's no money to back up that $500 check, your current and available balances both say $950 – and the $50 you gave the scammer is gone.

    That's why you should never trust a deposited check until after the bank confirms that the funds did indeed go through, and your current and available balances match. However, that will not protect college students from falling for this particular variant of the work-at-home scam.

    "Payroll department"

    Here's how it seems to work, according to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) : the would-be victim gets an email offering a job with a fictitious company, usually a job in the “payroll” or “human resources” department. Should you accept the job, here's what happens next:

    The “position” simply requires the student to provide his/her bank account number to receive a deposit and then transfer a portion of the funds to another bank account. Unbeknownst to the student, the other account is involved in the scam that the student has now helped perpetrate. The funds the student receives and is directed elsewhere have been stolen by cyber criminals. Participating in the scam is a crime and could lead to the student’s bank account being closed due to fraudulent activity or federal charges.

    In other words, your scam-boss is not asking you to deposit a fake check so he can extract money from your account; he's sending you real money which he stole from someone else! And your “job description” basically boils down to money laundering.

    The easiest way to protect yourself from this scam (and other forms of check scams) is to remember that in legitimate, non-scammy jobs, money only ever flows in one direction: from the boss to the worker, from employer to employee.

    No honest employer will ask you to reverse that flow of money, not even in the event of overpayment: if someone in your payroll department made a typo and gave you an extra hundred bucks this week, chances are you'll either receive $100 less in your next paycheck, or (depending on the timing), that initial, too-large paycheck will be cancelled and a new one for the proper amount issued immediately.

    College students beware: the Better Business Bureau and the FBI have both issued warnings about a new work-at-home scam targeting students through their sc...

    Check to ensure you don't fall for a check scam

    Better Business Bureau reports new variants of an old con

    Of all the scams seeking to separate honest people from their money, the “check scam” (or “cheque scam,” if you prefer Commonwealth spelling conventions) is usually most likely to hit small business owners, or maybe direct-sales representatives selling the likes of Avon or Mary Kay from their homes — in other words, the people who in today's economy are most likely to accept checks from people they don't already know.

    But this week, the Better Business Bureau warned about yet another variant of the check scam, this one tied in with an employment scam offering job-seekers paid work as “secret shoppers.”

    The label “check scam” refers to any type of scam that first requires you, the victim, to mistake a fake check for the real thing. The simplest (and oldest) form of check scam is simply buying goods or services and paying with a bad or fake check, in which case you, the seller/victim, have lost the value of whatever good or service you just sold.

    Most check scams, like the secret shopper scam, are far more complex. They ask you to deposit a check into your account and then send money back to the scammer who sent you the fake check in the first place. For example, here's how the Better Business Bureau blogger described the Secret Shopper check scam on May 5:

    You receive an email informing you that you’ve been offered a job as a secret shopper. To get started, the message instructs you to reply and confirm your mailing address. After doing this, you will receive instructions and a check to cover your fee and shopping expenses. … Your instructions tell you to deposit the check, subtract your fee and shopping expenses and wire the rest back—but don’t do it. The check looks real, but it’s a fake. … If you deposit the check and draw money against it, you will be responsible for those funds. When the bank rejects the fake check, they will delete the advanced funds from your account.

    With minor variations, that's how most check scams work; they vary only in the excuse they invent to justify why you, the person who supposedly just received money in the form of a check, should give some of that money to the check-writer. If you sell Avon or Mary Kay, for example, the scammer might place a large order with you, send a check for payment, and tell you they “accidentally” wrote the check for too much money... so, hey, why don't you just deposit that whole check in your account, then withdraw the extra money and wire it back to me?

    Indeed, many of the classic infamous “Nigerian email” scams turn out to be check scams; if you respond, the Crown Prince Oil Minister or whatever super-rich person the scammer's pretending to be will often send you a check for a large sum of money and ask you to wire back a small fraction of it. Of course, anything you send ultimately comes out of your own bank account, since that check was utterly worthless.

    The simplest and easiest way to protect yourself from check scams is to remember three rules. The first two rules are check-specific: when you deposit a check into your bank account, never assume the money is actually there until the bank tells you the check has cleared. And if you're in business and accept checks as payment, never accept checks for overpayment.

    The third rule applies to everybody, whether you accept checks or not: never, ever wire money to somebody you don't know.

    Of all the scams seeking to separate honest people from their money, the “check scam” (or “cheque scam,” if you prefer Commonwealth...

    Aflac Warns That Scammers Have Hijacked Its Name

    Version of Sweepstakes Scam is using conterfeit Aflac checks

    Aflac, an insurance company perhaps best known for its duck advertising mascot, is warning consumers its name has misappropriated by scammers.

    “It has been reported that Aflac's name is being used in a fraudulent financial scam,” the company said in a statement. “This scam involves checks bearing the Aflac name and brand, leading consumers to believe they have won a sweepstakes.”

    Here's how the way the sweepstakes scam works. A victim is contacted by phone or letter and told they have won a sweepstakes. They receive a check – perhaps for about $3,000 – and are told it is for use in payment of either taxes or a “processing fee.”

    The money, of course, needs to be sent to the scammer but to do that, the victim first has to deposit the fake check in their checking account, then wire money back to the scammer.

    By the time the bank discovers the check is bogus, the victim has already sent the cash. They then have to pay the bank back using their own money.

    Counterfeit checks

    Scammers are apparently turning out counterfeit Aflac checks because they seem more credible. A bank, for example, might not question a customer depositing a hefty check from an insurance company.

    “We urge consumers to disregard any letter or check that suggests a promotional reward bearing the Aflac name — the letter and the check are bogus, and the check will not be honored by any financial institution,” Aflac said.

    The company further points out that it would never require policyholders to wire funds prior to obtaining legitimate claims payments.

    Aflac said it has been in contact with the FBI, the United States Secret Service and the Better Business Bureau regarding this scam.

    Aflac, an insurance company perhaps best known for its duck advertising mascot, is warning consumers its name has misappropriated by scammers.“It h...

    Craigslist Scammer Using Fake Wisconsin Department Of Revenue Checks

    At least one "purchaser" used checks to pay for items sold through Craigslist

    Counterfeit checks from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue are being used by at least one "purchaser" to pay for items sold through Craigslist.

    "It appears that this is another fake check scam used to cheat consumers out of their money," said Janet Jenkins, Trade and Consumer Protection division administrator with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. "This fraud has been around for a long time but, every now and then there is a new twist which in this case, seems to be the use of fake Department of Revenue checks."

    In this particular version of the fake check fraud, the person committing the fraud pretends to want to buy something that is for sale on Craigslist. This "purchaser" contacts a seller and arranges a sale. The fraudulent purchaser then sends a check to the seller in an amount that is greater than the selling price. The purchaser asks the seller to deposit the check promptly and then send the extra amount back to the "purchaser" using a money order.

    The check issued to the seller ultimately bounces but, by that time the seller has already sent the money order. Neither the Wisconsin Department of Revenue nor the financial institution that cashed or deposited the fake check has any liability for the scam. The seller is the person who ends up losing money.

    Consumer Protection offers a few simple tips to help consumers to avoid fake check scams:

    • If someone sends you a check for more than the amount you're owed, the chances that it is a fake check scam are very high.

    • Anyone who asks you to wire funds via Western Union, MoneyGram or any other wire service this is almost certainly a scammer.

    • With today's computer technology, fake checks, including cashiers checks, and fake money orders are easy to make. If the name of the check issuer seems at all odd, talk to your financial institution.

    • Make certain that the financial institution in which you deposited the check has actually received the money for the check before sending your money to someone else. The fact that the financial institution cashes the check does not necessarily mean that the institution has received the money for the check. Again, talk to your financial institution.



    Craigslist Scammer Using Fake Wisconsin Department Of Revenue Checks...

    Fake Check Scams Rise in Falling Economy

    Secret shopper offers can lead to wire fraud and lost money


    Hard economic times make it easier for scam artists to trick consumers into acting against their better judgment. The offer of easy money, says North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, makes the "secret shopper" scam and similar schemes particularly effective.

    "The promise of easy money can be tempting, especially during these tight times," Cooper said. "But instead of making you any money, these scammers will take your money."

    The "secret shopper" scam is a version of the counterfeit check scheme. Recently, at least 15 people per week have reported counterfeit check scams to Cooper's office.

    One recent version of the scam starts with an advertisement in the newspapers or on the Internet, a telemarketing call, a letter or an email that promises you well-paying work as a secret or mystery shopper. People who respond are sent a real looking check, asked to deposit it and then wire the money back as a way to evaluate the wire service company.

    A few days later, the check turns out to be fake, meaning that victims have wired away hundreds or thousands of dollars of their own money.

    A related scheme claims to offer work as a payment processor for an overseas company. Consumers who respond are sent money orders or checks to deposit and then asked to wire the funds back to the company. In exchange, they're promised 10 percent of the money. Once the funds have been wired, the money order or check turns out to be fraudulent.

    "The latest versions of this scam take advantage of people who are looking for work or extra income during a slowing economy," Cooper said.

    Consumers also report getting fake checks in response to items they've posted for sale in newspaper classified advertisements or on web sites such as eBay or craigslist. Victims are sent a check for more than the asking price on their item for sale and asked to wire back the extra money.

    People also continue to get counterfeit checks that come with an announcement that they have won a lottery or sweepstakes prize. They are told to use the check to cover taxes and fees on their prize. Again, once the check has been deposited and the funds wired away, the check turns out to be counterfeit.

    Counterfeit check scams are popular with international fraud rings. With recent advances in printing technology, crooks can make fake checks and money orders that look very convincing.

    "If someone sends you a check and asks you to cash it and wire money back, don't do it, no matter how real it looks," Cooper said. "What seems like a windfall will only end up costing you money."

    More Scam Alerts ...

    Fake Check Scams Rise in Falling Economy...

    Consumers Continue To Fall For Phony Lottery Scam

    Foreign scammers find U.S. consumers easy prey

    When international postal inspectors arrested 77 people in a crackdown on counterfeit checks, they exposed once again the tip of an iceberg that is one of the biggest scams facing consumers today: the phony sweepstakes.

    The eight-month probe involved schemes in Nigeria, the Netherlands, England and Canada, and has stopped more than half a million fake checks from being mailed to American victims.

    International scammers have found U.S. consumers easy prey and are increasingly targeting them.

    "All fake check scams have the same common pattern: Scammers contact victims online or through the mail and send them checks or money orders. They then ask that some portion of the money be wired back to them," said Postmaster General John Potter.

    In its most common form, victims of the phony sweepstakes scam get a letter notifying them that they are a big winner in a lottery. They may even get the prize check in the mail with the congratulatory notice.

    All you have to do to become a big winner is deposit the check and wire money to the sender to cover some taxes and fees. Sounds easy, doesn't it? Most consumers realize that it is indeed too easy, and recognize this as a fraudulent fake check scheme.

    However, Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel says some consumers continue to fall for it, because they want to believe that its for real. The check sent to the victim is the bait that tempts them to fall for the scam.

    But no matter how authentic the check looks, it's not. Consumers who deposit the checks into their accounts and authorize the wire transfer soon learn that the check didn't go through and that they cannot get the wired money back.

    Banks are not responsible for covering phony deposits and will not excuse depositors from making good on the bad check.

    "Scammers now have high-tech printers and scanners that allow them to make checks that look real. When you combine this technological sophistication along with a false promise of a financial windfall, consumers can easily fall victim, said McDaniel. The simple thing consumers should remember is that if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is, and they should do their homework and ask questions prior to taking any action.

    To avoid falling victim to a counterfeit check scheme, here are some tips to remember:

    • Don't try to collect lotto or sweepstakes winnings if you don't remember entering the contest;

    • Never give out your personal bank account information to anyone you don't know and don't trust;

    • Never accept money without knowing its source;

    • Never send money to an unknown source; and

    • If you take the check to the bank, ask that it be verified and do not withdraw your own funds until the check has cleared, a process that can take days or even weeks.

     

    More Scam Alerts ...

    Consumers Continue To Fall For Phony Lottery Scam...

    Feds Warn Consumers About Counterfeit Check Scams


    Cashier's, or bank checks, are considered so safe and reliable many consider them to be as good as money. And that may be why a growing number of criminals are counterfeiting them, to ensnare unsuspecting victims in their schemes.

    In response to these scams, the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has issued an advisory, outlining ways consumers can avoid becoming victims of scams involving cashier's checks.

    In most of these cases, individuals receive a cashier's check and are asked to deposit the check into their account, wait until funds become available and then wire some part of the funds from their account to a third party, often in a foreign country.

    Although the amount of a cashier's check quickly becomes "available" for withdrawal by the consumer after the consumer deposits the check, these funds do not belong to the consumer if the check proves to be fraudulent. It may take weeks to discover that a cashier's check is fraudulent.

    In the meantime, the consumer may have irrevocably wired the funds to a scam artist or otherwise used the fundsonly to find out later, when the fraud is detectedthat the consumer owes the bank the full amount of the cashier's check that had been deposited.

    A cashier's check is an instrument issued and sold by a bank, and is a direct obligation of the bank. For decades, cashier's checks have been used as a trusted form of payment to consumers for goods and services.

    There are a number of known scams involving cashier's checks, many involving an unexpected windfall.

    In one, the victim is advised that he has won a foreign lottery and that the proceeds will be sent to him once the taxes or fees are paid. A cashier's check is provided to cover those charges, and the victim is asked to deposit the check, wait until it clears and then wire funds to cover the taxes and fees. In most cases, the wire transfer is directed to an account in a foreign bank.

    Although funds represented by the cashier's check may be made available to the customer the next business day, and funds availability may be referred to as a check "clearing," funds availability is not a determination that the check is legitimate. Fraudulent checks can be very difficult to detect, and it may take several weeks for a fraudulent check to be returned to the customer's bank.

    When the check is returned, the bank reverses the deposit and withdraws the funds from the customer's account. Wire transfers, however, represent an instantaneous and irreversible transfer of funds. If the individual has already wired money to a third party, those funds cannot be recovered by the bank.

    While it can be very difficult for consumers to know if a cashier's check is fraudulent, the OCC guidance details a number of specific steps consumers can take to protect themselves, including these:

    • Try to know the people with whom you do business. When possible, verify information about the buyer from an independent third party such as a telephone directory. Be cautious about accepting checks even a cashier's check from people that you do not know, especially since it may be difficult to pursue a remedy if the transaction goes wrong.

    • When you use the Internet to sell goods or services, consider other options such as escrow services or online payment systems rather than payment by a cashier's check.

    • If you do accept a cashier's check for payment, never accept a check for more than your selling price if you are expected to pay the excess to someone else. Ask yourself why the buyer would be willing to trust you, who may be a perfect stranger, with funds that properly belong to a third party.

    • A cashier's check is less risky than other types of checks only if the item is genuine. If you can, ask for a cashier's check drawn on a bank with a branch in your area.

    • If you want to find out whether a check is genuine, call or visit the bank on which the check is written. That bank will be in a better position to tell you whether the check is one they issued and is genuine.

    • Know the difference between funds being available for withdrawal from your account and a check having finally cleared. Your bank may be required by law to make funds available to you even if the check has not yet cleared. However, it could take several weeks to know if the check will clear or not.

    More Scam Alerts ...

    Feds Warn Consumers About Counterfeit Check Scams...

    Growing Menace: Fake Check Scams

    Consumers lose an average of $5,000 each

    Fake check scams are defrauding thousands of Americans. The National Consumers League reports that fake check scams are now the sixth most common Internet fraud, with consumers losing an average of $5,000 each.

    There are many variations on this popular scam. Many start with an e-mail contact, with a stranger proposing to send the mark a check and have him wire money in return. Susan Grant, director of NCL's National Fraud Information Center, says it may start with someone offering to buy something you advertised for sale, pay you to work at home, or give you an advance on a sweepstakes you supposedly won.

    Whatever the set-up, the bottom line is if someone you don't know wants to pay you by check but wants you to wire money back, it's a scam.

    The crooks often claim to be in other countries and say it's too hard to make payment directly, so they'll have someone in the U.S. who owes them money send the victim a check. The amount of the check is more than the victim is owed, so the victim is instructed to deposit the check and wire the excess back. Or scammers may tell the mark to wire some of the money back as fees to collect their "winnings."

    The checks sent to victims are forgeries, but they're so realistic that even bank tellers may be fooled. By the time the checks bounce, the victims have already wired the money to the crooks. Because bank customers are responsible for the checks they deposit, the victims of these scams are left to repay the bank the money they withdrew against the bad check.

    American Bankers Association Executive Vice President Edward Yingling explains that federal law requires banks to make the funds you deposit available quickly. But he adds that it's important for consumers to know that just because you can withdraw the money doesn't mean the check is good. If the check turns out to be a forgery, the bank will reclaim the money later.

    Some tips on avoiding this and similar scams:

    • There's no legitimate reason for someone who is giving you money to ask you to wire money back;
    • Just because you can withdraw the money doesn't mean the check is good, even if it's a cashier's check; • If a stranger wants to pay you for something, insist on a cashier's check for the exact amount, preferably from a local bank or one with a branch in your area.

    For more details about how fake check scams work and how to avoid them, visit the telemarketing or Internet fraud section of www.fraud.org.



     

    Growing Menace: Fake Check Scams...

    New Scam Uses Counterfeit Checks

    Watch out for cashiers checks greater than the purchase price

    Consumers should watch out for a scam in which swindlers buy items on the Internet with counterfeit cashier's checks greater than the purchase price and then ask sellers to return the difference. The bogus check bounces, leaving the seller owing the bank the entire amount.

    The scam artists, usually from overseas, typically target online sellers of expensive items, such as cars. In a variation of the scam, consumers receive calls telling them they have won a large prize and telling them to remit part of a cashier's check to pay expenses.

    "Consumers selling items on line should immediately reject offers to pay with cashier's checks greater than the agreed-upon price," said Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, whose office uncovered the scam.

    "These seemingly simple transactions are scams intended to relieve sellers of their cash. A buyer or business has no legal or legitimate reason to send a check larger than the sale price," Blumenthal said. "Alarm bells should go off the moment someone from overseas offers to pay with a cashier's check. Wiring cash from a cashier's check will line the scam artist's pocket while picking yours."

    Phony buyers sometimes offer explanations for the cashier's check being greater than the purchase price. The purchaser may claim the check was mistakenly made out for a greater amount, is a refund from an unrelated transaction, or includes transportation or import/export fees that need to be refunded. The scam artists typically ask the seller to wire money to a foreign country via Western Union.

    In another scenario, the swindler claims that he has to pull out of the deal because of a tragic accident or other unforeseen circumstance and asks for a refund of the cashier's check. He may even offer to let the consumer keep a small amount of the payment as compensation for the inconvenience.

    Steps consumers can take to avoid such scams include:

    • Read all alerts related to Internet sales.
    • Be wary of prospective buyers who send e-mails from overseas, want to pay more than the purchase price and ask pay by cashier's check but then cancel the transaction and ask for a refund.
    • Do not assume that the cashier's check has cleared and is not counterfeit even if your bank says that funds are avialable.
    • Do not withdraw cash or write checks on any cashier's check until the check has cleared, and there is no risk that you will have to reimburse the bank.
    • Check with the bank which issued the cashier's check. Aask if it has had problems with counterfeit cashier's checks.

    If you are the victim of a counterfeit check cashing scam, submit your complaint to FDIC's Special Activities Section, 550 17th St., NW, Room F-4040, Washington, D.C. 20429, or send your information electronically to alert@fdic.gov.



     

    Consumers beware of online scammers buying items with counterfeit cashier's checks greater than the purchase price and asking sellers to return the differe...