BBB Hot Topics: August 2015

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Better Business Bureau

  See the latest scams in BBB’s August 2015 Hot Topics

1.    Local consumers are receiving letters in the mail from an out-of-town attorney referencing unclaimed property. The attorney offers the consumer help to claim it, for a fee. You can find out if you have unclaimed property or cash - for free – just contact your State Treasury or go to unclaimed.org.

2.    Fake IRS calls are still rampant among local consumers. The scammers are telling taxpayers they owe money that must be paid immediately or they could be arrested. BBB receives several reports on these calls every day. The IRS is not making these calls.

3.    Local consumers are calling BBB about sweepstakes scams. Scammers ask the “winner” to pay up-front fees to receive their prize, either by wire transfer or by using GreenDot money cards. If you did not enter a sweepstakes, you cannot win. In the case of real sweepstakes, you would not be asked to pay up-front fees in order to receive the winnings.

4.    Local consumers are complaining about asphalt and security alarm companies who are going door-to-door. The consumers complain the companies are pushy, and when hired they either never complete the service that was paid for, or they do shoddy work. Check out a business first at bbb.org.

5.    Computer scams are affecting some local consumers. Scammers offer to log in to a computer remotely to “fix a security threat.” Once the scammer logs in, he adds malicious software to the computer that gives him access to personal information.

6.    In a debt collector scam, local consumers are receiving calls from Ace Cash Services. Ace contacts consumers claiming they have unpaid debts. Some consumers say unauthorized charges were made to their credit cards and checking accounts. Ace Cash may even have the consumer’s personal information possibly obtained through a data breach.

7.    Local consumers are receiving calls appearing to be from Capitol One claiming they have been approved for a short-term loan. These calls are not coming from Capitol One. This is an attempt to phish for your personal information.

8.    Beware of phone calls that claim you are eligible for a free government grant. The caller wants your checking account information so the money can be wired directly into your account, or requires an up-front payment in order to claim the grant. Do not give personal information to anyone you don’t know and don’t pay for a “free” government grant.

9.    Be on the lookout for bogus census forms that ask for confidential information that could be used for identity theft. Consumers have been receiving emails with links to online American Community Surveys. The US Census Bureau does not send out initial requests by email. Also, the US Census Bureau would never request social security numbers or banking information. Check with the Census Bureau to confirm the legitimacy of a form you get in the mail.

10.  Student loan forgiveness emails are popular this time of year. Local students receive bogus emails stating that their loan balance is eligible for complete forgiveness. These are even sent to students that did not take out any student loans. The scammers are trying to get personal information. Loans are rarely forgiven without special circumstances.

For more Hot Topics go to bbb.org.