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BBB Hot Topics: February 2016

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By Better Business Bureau

 See the latest scams in BBB’s February 2016 Hot Topics

1.    BBB has received several calls about fake government grants. Scammers tell local consumers they are eligible for a federal grant, because they pay their bills on time. All they have to do is pay an upfront fee. This is a scam.

2.    A local consumer was told there was a warrant out for her arrest for not responding to a jury summons. The scammer told her to pay $1500 to keep from being arrested. The consumer told BBB the scammer sounded official, but this is a scam.

3.    BBB is receiving a lot of complaints about fake tech support calls. Local consumers claim Tech Support America is calling, saying an update is needed or there is a security threat on their computer. The company, which has an F rating with BBB, says they can help by logging on remotely – for a fee! Don’t do it!

4.    In a fake check overpayment scam, a local consumer was contacted about putting advertising on his vehicle. The man received a check for $2250 with instructions to keep $250 and forward $2000 to someone who would be sent over to wrap the vehicle. Don’t fall for it!

5.    In another fake check overpayment scam, an individual sends charities an email, expressing interest, then sends a 5-figure donation via overnight mail, using a fake check. The person informs the charity it was a mistake and asks them to return $10,000 of the money to cover a medical emergency for a child. If the charity follows through, they lose $10,000.

6.    Scammers are impersonating cable companies, telling “loyal customers” they are qualified for a significant discount on their monthly bill. However, to get the discount, you must pay upfront for six months – with a pre-paid debit card. This is a scam.

7.    Scammers pretending to be from Social Security are sending out emails offering new features to help consumers monitor their credit and learn whether someone is engaging in unauthorized use of their SS number. This is actually a “phishing” email designed to get you to click on a link, which could install malware on your computer. Don’t be duped!

8.    A fake TurboTax email claims to be “verifying” that your account is secure. Do not click on any links. Hover your mouse over the “click here” link to see where the link will actually take you – it could be a fake website where scammers will phish for your personal information.

9.    Con artists are posing as the “American Chamber of Commerce.” They call, asking for an employee by name, claiming to be updating the company’s listing in its directory. The scammer begins by asking for basic business information. They are phishing for information!

10.  Beware if you post items for sale on sites like Craigslist or eBay. Scammers are fooling sellers with fake emails that appear to be payment confirmation messages. The buyer claims to have sent money through PayPal. You receive an email that appears to be from PayPal confirming the transfer. By the time you find out the PayPal transfer is fake, the “buyer” is gone with your merchandise.