Columbus, OH - Each year, one in four North American households are scammed. Because money loss and identity theft can happen to anyone, BBB encourages community members to protect and inform others by reporting any scam-related experiences to BBB’s Scam Tracker. In January, consumers reported losing a total of $14,343.
BBB analyzed 73 Scam Tracker reports from January 2017 to shed a spotlight on five scams affecting our Central Ohio community:
1. The “Can You Hear Me?” Scam: 17 consumers in Central Ohio reported receiving a call asking, "Can You Hear Me?" Scammers try to get consumers to respond “yes” so their affirmative answer can be recorded and used as verification to sign up for credit cards, subscriptions or other products.
BBB recommends that consumers consider only answering the phone for numbers they recognize. Be wary of strange calls asking “Can You Hear Me?”, or other “yes” questions such as:
Are you the homeowner?
Are you over 18?
Do you pay the household bills?
Do you have a home computer?
BBB suggests regularly checking your bank and credit card statements for fraudulent charges.
2. Phony Job Offer Scam: A fake company using the name “TRK Group Logistics Inc” has been claiming the false address: 5 E Long St, Columbus, Ohio. An Illinois woman reported that TRK Group Logistics promised her $2,400 if she delivered packages. After receiving 25 packages from the scammers, she was never paid.
It’s simple for scammers to create fake company websites, emails and job applications. Many work-from-home schemes sound too good to be true and promise a large reward for minimal work. Be wary of any business that only want to interview you over the phone or ask you to wire money for any fees or supplies.
3. Phony Loan Scam: A Mt. Vernon man lost $950 to a phony loan scam after being told he would receive a $5,000 loan if he first paid a fee with iTunes gift cards.
BBB urges consumers to be wary of companies who guarantee loans despite bad credit, no credit or bankruptcy. Be wary if a supposed loan provider asks you to wire or transfer money before receiving a loan, or refuses to provide their business’s street address. Look for written communications containing multiple typos and errors, although some scam communications can look authentic.
4. Phony Condo Reseller Scam: A phony condo reseller hijacked the name Cooper Properties and is claiming to be located in Central Ohio. A man from Tyler, Texas lost $8,500 to the scammers. The real Cooper Properties rents student housing on The Ohio State University’s campus.
When interested in purchasing a timeshare, BBB recommends searching for reliable resellers on bbb.org. Be sure there is a physical address outside of a P.O. Box and a way to easily contact the business. Finally, read the contract fully to see the services provided, the costs including any extra fees, refund policies and how long you have to sell the timeshare. Do not feel pressured to sign anything if you are uncomfortable with the contract.
For more travel tips and resources, consumers can visit bbbtravelhelp.com.
5. Tech Support Scam: A Newark, Ohio man reported losing $400 to a tech support scam called Singh Support. While on his computer, a blue screen popped up with an audible sound stating there was a problem with his Windows and IP address.
Cyber criminals are now attempting to defraud individuals who accidentally click a link while browsing the Internet. The link will produce what seems like a legitimate pop-up warning about a hack, and provides a tech support phone number. But when the consumer calls tech support, they are often asked for money or to give the support person access to their computer to solve the problem, losing personal information.
BBB encourages consumers to hang up on unsolicited third-party calls claiming you have a computer virus. Verify any tech support company’s information by researching their business and looking for customer reviews. Finally, never provide passwords or personal information over the phone.
Media Contact: Kip Morse
Since 1912, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2015, people turned to BBB more than 172 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 5.3 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. BBB serving Central Ohio was founded in 1921, and serving 21 counties in Ohio, is one of 113 local, independent BBBs in the United States, Canada and Mexico.