Multiple BBB Alerts on Current Scams and Issues

July 16, 2014

Better Business Bureau Serving Northwestern Ohio and Southeastern Michigan, Inc.

FIRST: The EZ-Pass Racket.
Joni Fought of Cardinal Staffing (Maumee) keeps receiving fake emails from EZ-Pass, the automatic, electronic toll collection system on the Turnpike. They say:

"Dear customer,
You have not paid for driving on a toll road. This invoice is sent repeatedly, please service your debt in the shortest possible time. The invoice can be downloaded here: (followed by an email link).

This message is a scam! Do not click on the link; it will probably download a virus to your computer.

NEXT: Karl Kissner (Kissner Inc., Defiance) reported that he received a call saying that it was Ohio Edison and his bill was past due. Payment by check or cc# was essential or else their service would be shut off within 30 minutes. Mr. Kissner knew his service has been through Ohio Edison for 40 yrs and had never been late on a payment. He could barely understand the caller because the accent was so thick. He finally asked to speak with the supervisor and was sent through to another person who pretended he could not hear, then hung up. Mr. Kissner called Ohio Edison which confirmed his account was current. He reported the scam to them and they appreciated the information. Important! Mr. Kissner said his caller ID had the exact number for Ohio Edison! Crooks can "spoof" any phone number on Caller ID.

NEXT: New variation on the "Microsoft Tech Support" scam:

"My brother-in-law received a phone call today. The caller identified himself as a Google Chrome representative. He said their wireless connection and computer was being hacked into. The Google "representative" said that if they paid him $200.00, with a credit card, that he would run an internal hardware and software scan on their wireless and computer. My brother-in-law is fairly new to the internet and gave them a credit card number for the suppose service. His laptop was activated and the "suppose" scan started to run. The only way to deactivate this scan was to unhook the wireless network. Even CTRL ALT Delete, would not allow the Task Manager to open for them to terminate the scan."

NOTE: Warn your employees! Calls from "Microsoft" or other so-called "tech support" who claim to have been monitoring your computer are fake!

NEXT: Today the U.S. Senate will begin hearings on the rise in "grandparent scams." For example, when a 70-year-old Toledo resident answered a phone call in December, he thought it was his grandson. The "grandson" said he had been arrested for drug possession in Peru and urgently needed money for bail. Convinced their grandson needed help, our local senior and his wife headed to a local retail store and purchased money-orders to cover the cost of lawyers and bail. After sending a total of $14,000 to the supposed lawyer and court, the couple reached their grandson on his phone and discovered they had been swindled. An untold number of seniors have fallen victim to the "grandparent scam". We at BBB have talked to many of these folks, which the FTC guesses steals over $73 million last year. The latest news is the greater sophistication of these scams, since the crooks - in Jamaica, Panama, Toronto or other foreign countries - now use Facebook and other social media to know all about the families of the prospective victims.

NEXT: The IRS Scam is back all over the country! One crook in Richmond, posing as an IRS agent, called a lady and demanded $6,000 in "taxes owed." He threatened to toss her in jail if she didn't pay immediately. Her daughter reported the call to BBB. When we called the number, a man answered after several attempts with, "IRS." When he was asked for his name he promptly hung up. Be aware; the IRS doesn't call and demand money over the phone! The IRS will contact you by mail if there is an issue with taxes due. Watch out for red flags like bullying or hostile behavior. It will not threaten you with arrest! If you have a question, contact IRS at 800-829-1040.

FINALLY: A local attorney received a call from the Business Consumer Alliance (Colton, CA) asking him to join. The caller reportedly said, "If you join you will have more business than you can handle." Cost was $46 per month. Clarification: The BCA is the former Los Angeles BBB, which was expelled from the BBB system because it allegedly did not follow or meet BBB Standards. They insist that they "resigned" from us. They apparently are now telemarketing throughout the U.S. to solicit memberships.

Dick Eppstein, BBB

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