BBB Hot Topics: May 2014

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Better Business Bureau

 Check out the latest scams and bad business in BBB’s April 2014 Hot Topics!

1.    BBB is receiving calls about Free Government Grants! Scammers offer government money because a person pays bills on time, is a good citizen, or was picked in a random drawing. To receive the grant, the person must send fees via prepaid card or a wire transfer. There is no grant!

2.    Jury Duty Scam: A man who says he is with law enforcement is calling local consumers saying there is a bench warrant out for them because they failed to report to jury duty. The man asks the residents to pay fines with a credit card to avoid immediate arrest.  This is a scam!

3.    There is a vulnerability in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer web browser that can allow a “remote, unauthorized attack” on a users’ computer. Versions 6 through 11 are vulnerable. Users are being urged to use another browser or to download Microsoft’s Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit, if possible.

4.    An email that appears to be from the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service is scamming taxpayers. The email includes the message, “Your reported 2013 income is flagged for reveiew…” Recipients are directed to click on a link that leads them to a fake website where personal information is requested. Forward this scam email to phishing@irs.gov.

5.    Scammers are posing as AT&T Technical Support. In one incident, a consumer, trying to access her email, had a dialog box pop up. The message stated her email had been compromised and included a phone number to “AT&T Tech Support.”  When she called, they sent her to a fake website, where she provided personal information. BBB advice: contact AT&T directly. 

6.    Scammers are using fake caller ID to spoof a real Verizon Customer Support Number. The scammers are offering a refund for bill overpayments. The message comes as a robocall or voicemail. Victims are sent to a fake website where they are asked for their Verizon account details and credit card information. BBB advice: go directly to Verizon’s website. Do not click on links.

7.    AOL Mail is being spoofed. Scammers are sending out emails that appear to be from AOL that contain malware, viruses, and phishing attacks. AOL recommends users check the email in their sent folder to see if there has been mail sent unknowingly and to change their passwords. Report any issues to AOL.

8.    Scammers are targeting direct sales reps from Avon, Mary Kay, and Thirty-One Gifts through a Check Scam. They pose as a new customer, order products then claim they sent too much money. The scammer suggests the rep fix the mistake by depositing the check, and wiring the overage of funds. This is a scam!

9.    Scammers are posing as TV Service Providers offering a discount or upgrade if you pay upfront for several months of subscriptions. All television watchers have to do is provide a credit card number over the phone.  Don’t do it!

10.  Veterans who accidently dial the wrong phone number when calling the VA National Call Center or the VA GI Bill Call Center are being scammed. Scammers are using numbers similar to those of the VA Centers. Vets who dial the wrong numbers are offered a $100 Walmart gift card for providing personal financial information. The veteran never receives the gift card. 

11.   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.

12.  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.