BBB Hot Topics: August 2012

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By Better Business Bureau

 Check out the latest scams and bad business in BBB’s August 2012 Hot Topics! For more information visit www.bbb.org.


1.    Beware of another round of BBB Fake Emails. Scammers continue to contact businesses across the country, pretending to be the BBB. The emails vary on subject matter, but one of the latest involves a response to a complaint, and provides a link. The link could be a virus.

2.    BBB’s Name Used in Fake Gift Card Scam – Emails claim BBB is giving away $1,000 Visa gift cards. Consumers just need to fill out an online survey to collect the cash. The emails contain links to various websites, asking the recipient to click on the link to claim the card. The website asks for general information, and then installs malware on your computer, which will later gather sensitive information (bank accounts, etc.).

3.    Is your inbox getting filled with “Your Photo” emails? Inside, it just says “Hi, Your Photos” or sometimes “Good Day, Your Photos,” and gives a link to click on. If you receive one of these, delete it. It could be a virus.

4.    Beware of Election Scams! Scammers are calling consumers with a political survey then tell them they have won a “free cruise” to the Bahamas for taking the survey. The scammers provide a website for legitimacy and then request the “winner’s” email address for notification purposes and credit card information to cover port fees. The website has testimonials and photos with a “Caribbean Line” banner, in an attempt to convince the “winner” the cruise is legitimate.

5.    Beware of Fake Groupon deals. A new email scam posing as a Groupon offer is infecting victims’ computers with a virus. The emails look just like the emails users are used to receiving when a friend shares a deal with them. Attached to the message is a file called “gift coupon.zip,” which contains the virus. 

6.    Online Coupons can help save money, but be sure the deal is real! When redeeming an online coupon, check out who is offering it. The store or a third party? Use caution if asked to share personal information. Also, beware of pop-up offers that ask you to click immediately to redeem. You could sign up for services you don’t want. Read the fine print, like the expiration date, limitations, and store location. Don’t fall for phony coupons via email – many make the rounds to family and friends.

7.    Google and Microsoft are not making remote computer repairs! Scammers are telling individuals viruses have been detected on their computers and the service they provide is to remove these pesky concerns. Then, they request the “infected computer” to be turned on and to follow their instructions. This is how the scammers gain access to individuals’ computers.

8.    You Missed Jury Duty!Don’t worry, it’s a scam! People across the country are receiving fake voicemails and text messages informing them they missed jury duty and need to pay a $500 fine or they will be arrested. When the victim calls back, the scammer asks for personal information, including social security number and credit card numbers. Courts normally communicate through mail for jury duty.

9.    Door-to-Door Selling complaints to the BBB are projected to double over last year. Last year, BBB had 1,300 door-to-door complaints. BBB has already received more than one thousand this year. Sellers often use high pressure sales tactics when selling magazine subscriptions, food products, cosmetics, and cleaning supplies.

10.  Save money on Back-To-School supplies. After you get your child’s school supply list, consider taking inventory around the house. Also, look for deals by comparing prices online and in the stores, set a budget, and check for refund and exchange policies.