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How California Inmates Allegedly Pulled Off Another Crime

Authorities believe they obtained hundreds of millions of dollars in unemployment aid

(Newser) - Authorities in California on Tuesday announced that tens of thousands of prisoners, including Scott Peterson and many others on death row, had scammed the state for hundreds of millions of dollars in unemployment benefits. So how'd they managed it? The fraud has been linked to every institution run by... More »

That 'Secret Sister' Gift Exchange? It's a Scam

Don't fall for it, outlets warn

(Newser) - It's the holiday season, which means it's time for news outlets' annual reminder to readers to steer clear of a common Christmas-themed online scam. Posts about so-called "Secret Sister" gift exchanges proliferate social media around this time of year, asking for "six women" who want to... More »

Mystery Seeds a 'Much Larger' Operation Than We Thought

Thousands of Americans may have planted them, while others admitted to eating them, per Vice

(Newser) - Hundreds, possibly thousands, of Americans planted the mystery seeds they received in the mail over the summer, against the advice of US authorities, while others decided to pop them in their mouths. That's according to Jason Koebler at Vice , who read through "thousands of internal emails" from state... More »

NFL Player Charged in COVID Relief Scam

Feds say Josh Bellamy received more than $1.2M in the scheme

(Newser) - Former NFL player Josh Bellamy was arrested and charged Thursday with participating in a scheme to file fraudulent applications for more than $24 million in coronavirus relief funds, authorities said. Bellamy, 31, of St. Petersburg, is charged with wire fraud, bank fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank... More »

Police: Students Scammed Into Kidnapping Themselves

Scam is targeting Chinese young adults studying in Australia

(Newser) - A scam that ends with people tying themselves up in a hotel room and sending photos of it to their family? Outlandish but true, say Australian police, who are warning Chinese students in Sydney of a surge of "virtual kidnapping" cases in the country. Police say they have this... More »

Criminals Use Fear During Crisis: Secret Service

Federal agencies warn of fake charities and fake coronavirus treatments

(Newser) - Times like these give criminals an effective and profitable tool in preying on people, the Secret Service has warned Americans: fear. The agency said the pandemic provides "a prime opportunity for enterprising criminals" to take advantage. Fake charities spring up to collect donations for the ill, ABC News reports,... More »

'Shark' Out $400K in Phishing Scam

Barbara Corcoran 'won't be getting the money back'

(Newser) - Even sharks get swindled now and then. Shark Tank investor Barbara Corcoran has revealed that she lost almost $400,000 in a phishing scam this week. The real estate mogul tells People that her bookkeeper received an email with a $388,700 invoice from a person she believed to be... More »

Cops: Cab Driver Saved Woman, 92, From Scam

He took her to the police station instead of the bank

(Newser) - An elderly woman in northern California would have had her bank account cleaned out by scammers if it wasn't for a conscientious cab driver, police say. Officers say the 92-year-old woman told Roseville Cab owner Raj Singh that she was going to the bank to withdraw $25,000 to... More »

FedEx: Those Texts, Emails You're Getting Aren't From Us

Company warns it's not sending out package information with bad links to consumers

(Newser) - That text or email you just got from FedEx about your package that starts "Hello mate"? Don't open it, or if you do by mistake, don't click on any of its links. That's because it's a scam, the delivery giant says, and one that'... More »

Cops: 'Psychic' Charged Big Fee to Rid Girl of Her 'Demon'

Tracy Milanovich allegedly scammed a desperate mom out of more than $70K

(Newser) - A woman claiming to be a psychic stole more than $70,000 from a client by telling the woman her 10-year-old daughter was possessed by a demon and she needed the money to banish the spirit, police in Massachusetts said. Tracy (or Tracey) Milanovich, 37, of Somerset, is charged with... More »

It Was All a Scam. It Seemed So Real He Killed Himself

Inside the death of 24-year-old US Army vet Jared Johns

(Newser) - The riskiest part of their exchange wasn't the photo she sent him that revealed a bit of her bra. It was that it happened at all. In a lengthy piece for Wired , Vince Beiser shares the story of Jared Johns, a Army vet living in South Carolina who seemed... More »

Alec Baldwin Got Scammed in Statue of Liberty Tour

Actor livid after he says he and his family were tricked about tour that really went to New Jersey

(Newser) - Give us your tired, your poor, your disgruntled celebrity tourist. Although he's a native Long Islander, Alec Baldwin revealed Monday he'd been taken by what he calls a Big Apple "scam," NBC New York reports. Baldwin posted to Instagram a picture of a ticket he and... More »

80 Charged in Massive Love Scam Run Out of LA

Man named Valentine, another Nigerian citizen are accused masterminds of scheme out of California

(Newser) - The feds say elderly women and businesses were the perpetrators' targets, and that they managed to squeeze at least $6 million out of their victims in what prosecutors are calling "one of the largest cases of its kind in US history." CNN reports on the arrests Thursday of... More »

A Harvard Prof Says He Was Scammed. Now, Even More Men

Bruce Hay apparently had plenty of company in his interactions with Maria-Pia Shuman, Mischa Haider

(Newser) - The story of Harvard Law professor Bruce Hay and the jaw-dropping relationship he found himself caught up in with two shady-seeming women has an update. In the original longform for the Cut , Hay described his tumultuous interactions with Maria-Pia Shuman and Mischa Haider, which led to a paternity claim, an... More »

Dirt-Filled Boxes Enable $370K Amazon Scam: Report

James Gilbert Kwarteng is accused of sending the online retailer returns in dirt-filled boxes

(Newser) - Talk about audacious: A man in Spain is accused of scamming Amazon out of $370,000 by returning items in dirt-filled boxes, Fox Business reports. According to Spanish newspapers, 22-year-old James Gilbert Kwarteng weighed the refilled boxes to match the product weight and received his refunds. The boxes apparently went... More »

He Met Her at a Hardware Store. Then, 'Years of Deceit'

How Harvard prof Bruce Hay found himself in a paternity mess with 2 dubious women

(Newser) - Harvard Law professor Bruce Hay, who once taught a class on "judgment and decision-making," had a chance encounter in a Massachusetts hardware store four years ago. It ended up getting him labeled as "the most gullible man in Cambridge" in Kera Bolonik's latest story for The... More »

Fake George Clooney Tracked Down in Thailand

(Newser) - After six years on the run, an Italian man accused of impersonating actor George Clooney to sell a line of clothing has been arrested. After a surveillance operation that included the use of a drone, police surrounded a luxury villa in Pattaya, Thailand, where Francesco Galdelli, 58, and his wife,... More »

They Said They Found Untold Riches. They're Going to Prison

South Koreans claimed they had discovered the wreck of the Dmitrii Donskoi

(Newser) - They told investors they had discovered the wreck of a Russian Imperial Navy cruiser said to be teeming with gold. The only actual wreck is their future lives. South Korea on Wednesday sentenced three executives associated with the Shinil Group to prison after they reeled in $7.6 million from... More »

GoFundMe Scammer Faces Up to 4 Years in State Prison

She pleads guilty to theft by deception

(Newser) - A New Jersey woman who hoodwinked GoFundMe donors with a fake story about helping a homeless vet faces up to four years in state prison after pleading guilty for a second time. Katelyn McClure, who pleaded guilty to a federal charge of wire fraud last month, pleaded guilty in a... More »

Students' iPhone Scam Took Apple for $900K, US Says

Fakes sent in for repairs were replaced by genuine ones

(Newser) - Two college students scammed Apple out of $900,000 by sending fake iPhones to the company for repair under warranty, federal complaints say. The company realized many of the thousands of phones were counterfeit but still returned almost 1,500 genuine replacements to the students, NBC News reports. The phones... More »

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