Marketplace Alerts for April 2011

April 29, 2011

In an effort to keep the public informed, Better Business Bureau serving Eastern North Carolina offers monthly Marketplace Alerts to inform consumers about vital issues that may impact them. This list is current as of release date. Information regarding business or consumer topics reported here can be obtained through the BBB office by contacting      

BBB warns consumers to beware of a spam e-mail offering an upgrade to the new Adobe Acrobat Reader. The e-mail contains a link which is supposed to direct consumers to a Web site touting the benefits of the software. The phony Web site prompts the user to provide personal and financial information, which eventually falls into the hands of a scam artist. Adobe Acrobat Reader is a free product, so consumers should never be required to provide any credit card information in order to receive an upgrade. BBB recommends consumers delete suspicious emails immediately and avoid clicking on any questionable links or attachments.

BBB has received complaints from consumers regarding paid online survey companies. Consumers are completing surveys online, and not getting paid by the companies for their work. Consumers are also having difficulty reaching the companies after they complete the survey. BBB advises consumers read the privacy policy and other fine print before submitting personal information to any paid survey Web site. It is important to research the company as well to find out the legitimacy of it. Visit to review the Business Review of a specific online survey company.

BBB urges consumers to beware of calls from scam artists who tell them they have won a lottery and need to collect their winnings. Scam artists are calling both individuals and businesses to inform them that they have won a significant amount of money, but must first wire a fee to receive the money. Avoid wiring money to someone who awards you with something too good to be true, and never pay money to accept a prize. BBB advises consumers to research a company before providing any personal information or sending money.

BBB has been alerted of a new nationwide mortgage scam targeting consumers who are struggling to make their mortgage payments. Consumers are receiving an official-looking letter from an out-of-state law firm asking them to pay a fee to join a “mass joinder” lawsuit to force their mortgage lender to reduce their monthly payments. BBB warns consumers to beware of any company that promises to help you modify your mortgage in return for an advance fee. Before sending any money or signing a contract, check BBB Business Reviews at

BBB cautions consumers to beware of a telephone scam related to overdue payday loans. Consumers are receiving calls from people alleging to represent agencies, including the FBI and law firms. The caller claims to be collecting debts from well-known companies, but will not provide any information about the payday loan. The caller also attempts to instill fear by threatening the consumer with jail time and legal actions. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits debt collectors from using abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices to collect from consumers.