Check out the latest scams and bad business in BBB’s July 2013 Hot Topics!

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Better Business Bureau

 1. Parents are complaining that Inspirational Keys, a performing arts summer camp here in Louisville, abruptly shut down. BBB has received 18 complaints since June 3, 2013 against the Memphis, TN based business. Parents complain they never received any refunds.

2. Ft. Knox has released a list of Kentucky businesses deemed “Off-Limits” to Ft. Knox soldiers. The memorandum, which serves as a direct military order to Armed Forces personnel, identifies the following companies as prohibited for military business: The Military Company, Elizabethtown; Bella Construction, LLC, Prospect; Bluebird Realty, LLC, Bluebird Properties, LLC, Bluebird Investment Group, LLC, Affordable Heating and Cooling, Inc., and Affordable Investments, LLC, Elizabethtown; Jim Stanley Sr. Paving and Sealing, Jim Stanley Sr. Paving and Seal Coating, Shepherdsville; Hardesty Built Homes, LLC, Jim Hardesty Homes, and Hardesty Homes, Lebanon Junction. These companies have an “F” rating with the BBB.

3. Beware of 4th of July Scams. BBB recommends never opening suspicious holiday eCards or downloading email attachments you’re not expecting; beware of fake websites offering big, one-day sales; and lastly, if you’re buying tickets to a local fireworks show, get them directly from the venue or other trusted ticket sellers.

4. Beware ofPeople Knocking on Your Door Demanding Money! A local woman called the BBB complaining that a man claimed to put Freon in her air-conditioner and demanded a fee of $266. The woman didn’t even ask him to do it. She says she paid out of concern for what would happen if she didn’t. Bottom line…Don’t pay someone if you didn’t hire them to do a job! Call your local authorities!

5. Scammers are getting easy money out of trusting consumers by what’s known as the Gas Scam. The scam artist says he needs to get home for a family member’s funeral, but he ran out of gas and doesn’t have money to fill it up…promising to pay the victim back. Tip: offer to walk to the nearest service station to pay for the "much-needed gasoline." Chances are the scammer will run for the hills.

6. Consumers say Dream Financial calls offering personal loans, and requests consumers pay up-front fees via wire transfers. A local consumer wired $400 for a loan, and didn’t receive anything in return. This is a scam!

7. Beware of Fake Debt Collection calls. Local consumers are getting calls from a fake law firm claiming they owe money on a debt they do not really owe. One woman panicked and sent $200 after the scammer threatened to have her sent to jail for not paying the bill. In some cases the scammers are using company names from BBB’s website. Never send money to a company without doing all of your research!

8. Financial Aid Scams: Be wary of websites, seminars, or other schemes that promise to find scholarships, grants, or financial aid packages for upfront fees. Information on financial aid is available for free. BBB suggests going to a school counselor for help. For more information go to http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/.

9. The FBI has seen an increase in cyber criminals who use online Photo-Sharing Programs to perpetrate scams and harm victims’ computers. These criminals advertise vehicles online but will not provide pictures in the advertisement, unless requested. Once shared, the photos often contain malicious software that infects the victim’s computer. BBB reminds you to always be cautious when surfing the web!

10. Renting a Car? Know what is in the contract! BBB receives numerous complaints against the auto renting industry every year because of billing and contract issues. Tips: Shop around, look for hidden charges, ask about unlimited mileage, and save yourself some additional charges by bringing your own car seat and GPS.