Check out the latest scams and bad business in BBB’s February 2012 Hot Topics!
1. There’s a new twist to the BBB Phishing Scam. Businesses are receiving calls from someone who says they are with the BBB, wanting to help them remove a virus from their computer due to a phishing scam. BBB is NOT making these calls!
2. A local consumer received an email from Frontline Focus International offering a secret shopper opportunity. The company claims to be out of Louisville, KY, but the company has no location in Louisville. This appears to be a mystery shopping scam.
3. A local woman bought a “Coach” product from www.coachoutlet-onlinestore.org, was charged $107, and didn’t receive the product. The consumer contacted BBB to find out if the company is legit. The website appears to be bogus, plus it is using the BBB Online Reliability Seal without authorization. The website is registered using a “private” domain and a Hotmail email address. No legitimate commercial website for a reputable company would be registered in this way. BBB contacted the official Coach, who is now investigating. Coach has closed down more than 500 sites purporting to be them! You can find an original Coach at www.coach.com.
4. Don’t fall for Tax Scams this tax season! Email scams, asking for personal information, may appear to be from the IRS or from a legitimate company. The latest fake email appears to come from Intuit, and states it is taking part in the IRS name and TIN Matching Program. Don’t be fooled!
5. Looking for love? Millions use Online Dating websites to meet people. While many are successful, there are scam artists using these sites to take advantage of love-struck victims. Scammers create fake profiles and build relationships, then ask for money to be wired for travel, medical emergencies, or other things. Victims find out quickly, this was NOT true love!
6. Sending flowers, candy, or gifts for Valentine’s Day? Do your homework first! Be sure it’s a company you can trust. When buying flowers, review the description of the flower arrangement; allow time for shipping; check out the company at bbb.org; and, beware of fake e-cards – they could be infected with a virus.
7. Bridal Expos are in full swing. Brides who attend shows should create a new email account for wedding vendor communication; take a notebook and pen to keep track of vendors and great ideas; find out special pricing will be available after the show; and research the vendor before signing a contract at bbb.org.
8. Scammers are calling consumers, pretending to be with the Do Not Call Registry, offering an opportunity to sign up for the do not call list. The calls are not coming from the registry! Do not provide any personal information! To register for the Do Not Call List, call 888-382-1222 or go to www.donotcall.gov.
9. A Text Scam is leading to unauthorized charges on consumer’s cell phone bills. The text, which comes from TXTALTSNOW, states “Entertainment Alts for $9.99/mo.” and tells the consumer to reply with STOP to cancel. Apparently, that doesn’t work, as consumers are still getting charged. The charge appears to come from “Silicon Investments.” If you get a text like this, contact your cell provider right away.
10. Do you use your Smartphone to Pay Bills? BBB suggests if you do, find out if your phone has security software available to keep your transactions as safe as possible – just like you would with your laptop. Also, your level of protection against financial liability will vary depending on your carrier’s policies. So, be smart, check your contract.