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Check out the latest scams and bad business in BBB’s May 2013 Hot Topics!
1. OverstockCloseoutSales.com of Leitchfield, KY has an “F” rating with the BBB. Consumers say the website, which is now shut down, was using the BBB logo. Complainants, who found the company advertised on their local Craigslist, say they ordered and paid for items they never received. They paid for the items through Green Dot MoneyPak.
2. Local seniors are annoyed over automated calls offering a Free Medical Alert System. The calls are making the rounds nationally, and no one really knows who they are coming from. It appears the calls are coming from cell phone numbers, that cannot be traced, nor can anyone return the call. BBB warns: the callers could be seeking personal information.
3. Beware of Vanity Awards! The latest, which operates as the Jeffersonville Award Program, notifies local businesses via email that they have been selected to receive a “best of” award. BBB believes the program’s actual purpose is to persuade businesses to spend $80 to $200 for an award plaque or trophy. The awards program uses the website www.awardprogram.org and customizes the name of each award, depending on the recipient’s location.
4. Postcards offering Free Airline Tickets are making their rounds locally. These bogus postcards come with a well-known airline’s logo, saying you have won two free tickets. However, when consumers contact the number on the postcard, they are asked qualifying questions, then those who qualify are asked to attend a 90-minute presentation in exchange for the tickets. Consumers who attend the presentation complain they were subjected to high-pressure sales tactics and feel they were misled by the postcard.
5. Scam artists are using QR Codes to divert victims to malicious websites. Scammers are using stickers to place their QR codes on top of legitimate ones, or they are placing them in public places to spark curiosity. Don’t scan a box that doesn’t appear to be linked to anything; be careful scanning codes in public places; check to be sure it is not a sticker over another code; and use an app that checks the website before taking you there (a secure reader app).
6. Protect yourself from being Hacked! Create strong passwords by making them long with a variety of letters, symbols, and numbers; change your passwords every few months; and, don’t use the same password for all accounts.
7. Beware of Fake Scanner Emails. The message appears to come from an internal email address, Hewlett-Packard, or Xerox, and looks to be a copy of a scanned document from your printer/scanner. If you click on the file, it contains a link to a third-party website that will download a virus to your computer.
8. If you receive a System Administrator Email with a subject line that says “anti-virus and anti-spam protection,” DELETE IT! The email states the web administrator wishes to take measures to protect your webmail account from viruses and email, and asks for personal information. This is a phishing attempt!
9. Prepare for Senior Celebrations! BBB receives thousands of complaints nationwide on limousine services – often after events like senior prom or graduation. Check with the BBB before you hire a company at www.bbb.org.
10. Beware of these Memorial Day Scams: Fake charities raise funds on behalf of military organizations; con artists pose as the Veterans Administration, contacting vets saying they need to update their credit, bank, or other records with the VA; and, scammers offer “instant approval” military loans with hefty interest rates and fees.
11. Whether you are ordering flowers, shopping for something customized, or arranging a spa day, be smart on Mother’s Day! Check out the company first at www.bbb.org. Understand the store’s guarantee, return, and shipping policies. Also, use a credit card when ordering, so you can dispute the charges if the vendor doesn’t deliver.