BBB Hot Topics: August 2014

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By Better Business Bureau

 Check out the latest scams and bad business in BBB’s August 2014 Hot Topics!

1. Bogus Debt Collectors are calling local residents, pressuring them to “pay their debt.” These callers are extremely aggressive and threaten to file a lawsuit or get the police involved if victims do not pay immediately. Victims are asked to pay via Green Dot MoneyPak or by wire transfer.

2. Local residents have been bombarded by Fake Calls from the IRS. The caller tells the victim that they have failed to pay their taxes for months and threatens jail time and lawsuits. The calls are not identical but they all want the victim’s bank account information, and payment immediately.

3. Scammers impersonating the U.S. Treasury have been awarding Fake Government Grants. These scammers are telling victims that all they have to do is pay a few hundred dollars via Green Dot MoneyPak or wire services for processing fees. Government grants are not for personal use! For more, go to Grants.gov.

4. Local residents are being contacted by the Coalition of Credit Card Relief. The “company” is asking victims for account information in order to consolidate bills. This is a FAKE organization.  If you receive a similar call, hang up!

5. Scammers are sending malicious emails, pretending to be EZ Pass. The email states that the victim has unpaid tolls and to download the attached invoice. When the victim clicks on the attachment, a virus is downloaded and is used to scan for personal and banking information.

6. BBB is issuing an alert on an online-gaming company, Now Lucky.  There have been numerous complaints about the company offering iPads for just $1—of course you have to play, and pay for, a certain number of online games with the company before receiving the iPad. This is a scam! The company is charging victims hundreds of dollars for membership fees.

7. Scammers impersonating Life Alert, have been contacting senior citizens offering free Life Alert services. The caller says the victim is eligible for a free system, or a family member has already paid for it. The scammers are using caller I.D. spoofing technology to trick seniors, and are trying to get victim’s addresses, bank account information, and social security numbers.

8. A Survey Scam has surfaced, asking victims to take a short survey about a retailer or product in order to receive a $50 gift card. The victim takes the survey, and at the end, is notified that the gift card is “out of stock.” The victim is asked to give personal information in order to receive the gift card at a later date.

9. A company that goes by Midwest Circulation has been reported in the service area. The company sells Fake Magazine Subscriptions. The company goes door-to-door or in shopping center parking lots selling these subscriptions. The sellers usually say they are raising money for schools or charity. The company is operating illegally without sales permits.

10. BBB Back-to-School Tips: Take inventory, set a budget and stick to it, compare prices, and look for the deals. Also, know what your child’s school does and does not allow. Always check for refund and exchange policies.

For more, go to bbb.org or call 1-800-388-2222.