BBB Hot Topics - January 2009
1. New BBB Ratings - BBB is preparing to roll out a new ratings system. Instead of companies being rated "satisfactory" or "unsatisfactory," companies will be rated on an "A+" to "F" grade scale. This rating represents BBB’s degree of confidence that the business is operating in a trustworthy manner and will make a good faith effort to resolve any customer concerns.
2. New Year’s Resolutions for 2009 - Add these NEW YEAR resolutions from the BBB: Never succumb to a hard sell. Everything should be in writing. With a plan, comes action - create a budget. You haven’t won anything! Easy money is never easy! Always deal with reliable merchants. Resolve to safeguard your personal information.
3. Want to Join a Gym? Many clubs will be offering "New Year’s specials" – walk away from clubs that pressure you to sign a contract on the spot. Consider your budget. Many facilities charge an up-front membership fee and then a monthly fee. Visit several clubs on days and times that you plan to exercise. Also very important: read the entire contract before you sign. Also, check out the company at www.bbb.org.
4. Looking for a Reputable Tax Preparer? Steer clear from tax preparers who boast they can get larger refunds than competitors, don’t ask to review your records and receipts or discuss your qualifications for expenses and deductions; base their fee on a percentage of the refund amount, rather than the complexity of the tax return; or pressure you to sign up for immediate payment of your refund. This involves a loan that typically carries a high interest rate. To check out tax preparers, go to www.bbb.org.
5. DTV scam - Don’t be confused over what website to go to when you sign up for a DTV converter box coupon. Some people are clicking on dtv.com, which is actually Satellite Soft. The company has an unsatisfactory record with the BBB. The real webstie, dtv.gov, is where you can read about the digital transition and sign up for a free $40 coupon. TV stations’ analog signals will end on Feb. 17.
6.Wachovia Bank Settlement Checks are NOT a scam. The checks are part of a $150 million settlement. Wachovia agreed to in U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania, over telemarketing fraud. Wachovia began mailing checks in varying amounts to about 742,000 consumers in mid-December. For more information go to www.restitutionpayment.com.
7. Electronicsrs.com offers electronics at great prices. When the buyer checks out they’re told,"Lack of liquidity in the banking sector and the risky financial environment forced us to stop the credit card payments until the situation returns to normal. In order to avoid further losses and unpaid debts we have decided to receive deposits through Western Union Money Transfer Service." Don’t buy from this website! It is a scam! Never wire money to someone you don’t know!
8. VoIP Scams - Criminals are using VoIP or voice over Internet protocol, to create fake incoming phone numbers to appear on people’s caller ID boxes. Unusual calls may come from banks or credit card companies, asking for personal information. Remember, the institution should already have this information. Hang up the phone, and call the real place of business to report the call.
9. Credit Card Scam - Scam artists are posing as employers of the security and fraud department of credit card companies. They call consumers, and ask if a particular purchase was made on their card. Of course, there wasn’t. The scam artists tell consumers the company will issue a credit but they have to confirm certain information, including the security code on the back of the card. The scam artists already have the credit card number, they just need the code on the back to make purcchases.
10. Koobface Virus - Facebook users are being targeted by this virus. It uses the social network’s messaging system to infect PC’s, then tries to gather personal information. Koobface spreads by sending notes to someone who’s PC was infected. The messages, with subject headers like, "you look awesome in this new movie," direct recipients to a website where they are asked to download what it claims is an update of Adobe Systems Inc’s Flash player. If they download the software, users end up with an infected computer.