BBB Hot Topics: April 2012

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 Check out the latest scams and bad business in BBB’s April 2012 Hot Topics!

1. Fake Emails Continue to Plague BBB: The latest phishing attempt tells the recipient there is concern over “several unauthorized transactions from a number of checking bank accounts to the receiver’s account.” Other fake emails revolve around complaints. BBB’s Council, FBI, Secret Service, and a phishing deactivation service are working to shut down these scam artists. If you receive one of these emails, report it to the BBB and then, delete it!

2. Beware of Fake Derby Tickets! Some are popping up on Craigslist. One local man lost $1,000 after wiring money to someone in Boston, in hopes of getting some Derby tickets. The scam artists are asking ticket seekers to send money via Western Union. NEVER wire money to someone you don’t know!

3. Medicare Card Scam: Scammers claim to represent Medicare, and offer to send new Medicare cards. They ask for information to update their files then they ask for bank account information. The scammers are aggressive, often calling many times, at all hours of the day. Medicare will not call you to update information or issue a new card.

4. AmEx’s “Thanks for Updating Your Email” messages are fake! Scammers are using the company’s email addresses in a phishing scam. The email claims an account’s email address has been changed, and provides a link where the recipient can log in and correct the address. The email is sophisticated, with footer links labeled “View Our Privacy Policy” and “Contact Customer Service.” The links in the fake email are intended to download a virus on users’ computers.

5. A local grandparent lost $15,000 in a Grandparent Scam after wiring money to Bolivia, where he though his grandson was incarcerated. In another grandparent scam attempt, a local grandma had a full-on conversation with someone who she thought was her granddaughter, however, when her “granddaughter” told her she was in some kind of trouble and needed money, grandma became suspicios and didn’t send money. These scams are all too common. Think before you act. Verify the child’s location. And think twice before you wire money!

6. Walmart/Best Buy Text: If you receive a text message from Walmart or Best Buy telling you that you are the lucky winner of a $500 - $1,000 gift card, delete it! It is a scam! The scamsters try to get you to call a phone number and reveal your personal information to receive your “prize.”

7. Robocalls from “Cardholder Services” offer consumers lower interest rates on their credit cards. The automated voice tells you to press “1” to benefit from a smaller rate and then asks for your personal information. This is an attempt to steal your credit card information!

8. Power4Home Pro has an “F” rating with BBB. The company sells DVDs that purportedly provide instructions on how to build and install energy-saving solar panels and windmills at home. The DVD sells for $49 plus a $7.99 charge. However, an investigation by BBB reveals the same information is available on the Internet for free. Complaints to BBB include delays in receiving the DVD, and problems with receiving refunds. Oh, and the company uses the BBB logo on its website, indicating the company is a BBB Accredited Business, which it is NOT.

9. Making a Move? Avoid scams! Research moving companies thoroughly! Some companies have been known to change prices at the last minute, holding a customer’s belongings “hostage.” Find out if the mover is licensed. Get at least three written in-home estimates. Ask about full value protection, and check out the company at www.bbb.org.

10. Summer Camp for your child is right around the corner! BBB advises parents to check out facilities, ask about the staff’s training and experience, and find out how the camp handles medical emergencies. Also, ask about fees and payment deadlines, and be sure to fit your child to the appropriate program for his/her interests.