Check out the latest scams and bad business in BBB’s January 2013 Hot Topics!
1. Be a Smart Consumer in 2013! Do your research on businesses and charities by going to www.bbb.org. Keep your computer safe by installing anti-virus software. Get everything in writing. Do not just take someone’s word for it. Never wire money to someone you do not know. Last, protect yourself from scam artists by limiting the information you share on social media pages.
2. Joining a Health Club? Before you sign on the dotted line, check on cleanliness, adequacy of space, and other factors that are important to you. Also, consider your budget. Ask the club about enrollment fees and ongoing monthly costs. Find out if there is a contract, and what the fee is if you cancel it. Last, check out the business at www.bbb.org.
3. Purchasing Athletic Equipment? Do not believe all of the claims you see! Beware of the latest trend and avoid products that claim to focus on one certain area. Don’t be fooled by fit models in advertisements. Read the fine print. How much is “three easy payments?” Ask about cancellation fees. And, only buy what you will use!
4. “Your Prescription Refill is ready for Pickup.” Scammers are impersonating Walgreens pharmacy in an attempt to gather personal information like credit card or social security numbers from those using medications on a regular basis. If you receive a call like this, hang up! Call your pharmacy directly.
5. Donald Trump Lottery Scam: A company working on Trump’s behalf calls themselves “American Money Corporation.” Employee, “John Washington,” is telling individuals they have won $2.5 million. To receive the winnings, $500 must be received payable by Green Dot MoneyPak. Once the money is received, the check will be delivered by FedEx. Of course, the check ends up fake.
6. Beware of Bogus Surveys. The lure is usually a free gift. When you click on the “free gift” image, which you may see on a friend’s social media post, you are told you cannot proceed until you repost the offer on your own page. After you do this, you can complete the survey, and then you are asked to provide address details and bank or credit card information so your gift can be sent.
7. Car buyers, beware. The latest Craigslist Scam involves a scammer who arranges to meet you in a parking lot with a vehicle offered at a bargain price. After you test drive the car, the scammer asks for a $500 deposit and promises to return later to hand over the title and collect the balance. The scammer never shows up.
8. Choose a Tax Preparer wisely! Before you hire a tax professional, find out what the service fees are before the return is prepared. Avoid preparers who base their fee on a percentage of the amount of your refund. Only use a tax preparer that signs your tax return and provides you with a copy for your records. Avoid anyone who asks you to sign a blank tax form. You are ultimately responsible for your tax return! Find a tax preparer at www.bbb.org.
9. Beware of Tax Refund Scams. Scam artists call tax payers, indicating the IRS made a mistake and the tax payer owes $2,100. The scammer asks for a bank account or credit card number. This is NOT the IRS. Another IRS scam indicates you “must pay money upfront to receive your refund.” The IRS typically contacts tax payers by mail.
10. Tired of unwanted calls? Sign up for the Do Not Call List in 2013! By registering, telemarketers have 31 days to comply and stop calling you. If they continue, they could be fined thousands of dollars. Calls from political organizations, charities, telephone surveyors, and companies you have an established business relationship with are exempt. To register, call 1-888-382-1222 or go to www.donotcall.gov.