BBB Hot Topics: December 2016

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Better Business Bureau

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

1.    The BBB is warning iPhone owners about hundreds of fake retail apps popping up in Apple’s App Store. These counterfeiters are impersonating businesses like Dollar Tree, Foot Locker, Dillard’s, and Nordstrom. BBB recommends going to a retailer’s website to get a link to the legitimate app in the App Store.

2.    Don’t be fooled by fake email notifications from UPS and FedEx that claim your package was not delivered and instruct you to click on a link. They are trying to get personal information, and you could get a computer virus!

3.    Beware of the “Secret Sister Gift Exchange” that is circulating on Facebook. The gift exchange states that if you buy one $10 gift for a person and add your name to a list, you will get up to 36 gifts in the mail. This is a form of gambling and is illegal in the U.S.

4.    A local consumer reported being contacted on Facebook by a “friend” who told her to contact the Bill and Melinda Gate Foundationfor grant money since she was recently widowed. The scammers said they would send her $63,000 if she went to Wal-Mart and wired them $850 back.

5.    Consumers are reporting receiving calls from scammers from “Direct TV” who want them to sign up for a promotion where you purchase a $300 Amazon gift card and use it to prepay your cable bill at a discounted rate. Don’t fall for this!

6.    Scammers are posing as county probate court officials who want to visit your house to help you write a will. These crooks are really wanting access to your home to burglarize it later.

7.    A predatory lending scam is trying to con service men and women who want to refinance their mortgage. These scammers call, email, or contact military members and veterans on social media. They mention government programs endorsed by the Department of Veterans Affairs that can help them refinance. The potential victims are guaranteed an excellent rate, which real lenders never do upfront.

8.    Be wary of ads on Facebook for websites selling college sports gear at too-good-to-be-true prices. BBB has received reports of fake business websites that do not follow through with orders. One of these businesses asked customers to pay via Western Union or Money Gram. Check out retailers at bbb.org before you shop.

9.    A robocall claiming to represent Google’s business listing or a similar service is trying to fool website domain owners into sharing personal information in order to “register” with Google. The recording claims that your domain listing is outdated and you need to update it in order to keep your spot in Google's search rankings. 

10.If you ever find a USB Stick/Thumb Driveor a CD on the ground, do not put it into your computer! While it’s tempting to see what data is on there or help identify the owner, this is a common tactic used by bad guys to infiltrate your network and steal information.

For more tips, go to bbb.org or call 1-800-388-2222.