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 June, Central Ohio consumers reported losing a total of $4,309 to scams.
BBB analyzed Scam Tracker reports from June 2017 to shed a spotlight on four scams affecting our Central Ohio community:
1. Lottery Scam: A Pataskala, Ohio man received a call stating he had won the “Money Team Lottery”. In order to get the money, he had to wire money to cover fees. He wired money three different times from Kroger to a person named Javon Kelly located in Jamaica in order to cover the fees, but never received any money after sending a total of $700.
The consumer then received a fourth request for money from a woman claiming to represent Floyd Mayweather and the Money Team in a lawsuit against the scammer, but she wanted $400 to represent him in court. He did not wire money a 4th time, but called BBB instead.
The Money Team Lottery is an older Facebook scam that may be resurfacing. Facebook users receive messages from the boxer Floyd Mayweather or his Money Team telling them they have won money. Consumers can learn more about this scam by reading this article from Snopes.com.
If you have been notified that you have won a lottery or other contest, don't pay any upfront fees to claim your prize. No legitimate sweepstakes company will ever ask you to pay a fee or buy something to enter or improve your chances of winning — that includes paying "taxes," "shipping and handling charges," or “processing fees” to get your prize.
2. Employment Scam: A woman from Zanesville, Ohio cashed a check for $2,900 at Zane Food Mart. She had received the check in the mail and thought it was a disability check because it was from “Disability Management Services Inc”, but it was actually part of a mystery shopping job scam that had previously been emailed to her. She now owes Zane Food Mart the money, or faces charges.
Always be wary of work-from-home or secret shopper positions, or any job with a generic title such as caregiver, administrative assistant or customer service rep. Positions that don't require special training or licensing appeal to a wide range of applicants.
Be cautious if you receive a check in the mail. Where did this check come from? Were you expecting a check?
Finally, don't fall for an overpayment scam. No legitimate job would ever overpay an employee and ask for money to be wired elsewhere. This is a common trick used by scammers.
3. Tech Support Scam: A Marion, Ohio man reported a caller claiming his computer was infected with pornography. The caller offered to fix his computer for $349.99, and took control of his laptop. Once the scammer had access, they put a virus onto his computer, shutting it down.
BBB wants consumers to beware of the following tech support scam red flags:
You receive a call from someone claiming to work for Microsoft or another prominent company. Most big tech company’s employees will not call customers who haven’t asked to be called and will never reach out to you if you don’t request it first. This is true for almost all other big tech companies, as well.
You see a pop-up notification on your computer, but it’s not from a program you installed. Scammers make tech support scam pop-ups look like they’re coming from your computer, but they’re actually ads that are displaying in your internet browser. Don’t click on pop-ups that aren’t system alerts from your machine.
You’re offered a “free security scan,” or a pop-up says a free security scan already has found a virus on your machine. Many antivirus software providers offer free trials of their software, but programs cannot scan your computer before you’ve installed them. If you haven’t installed the security software, any claims about that software scanning your computer are a scam.
They want you to give them access to your computer. Remote access programs make it possible for people to “take over” computers that are far away from them in order to help fix them. However, just like you wouldn’t physically hand your machine to someone you don’t know and trust, you shouldn’t give access to your computer to someone you don’t know or didn’t hire.
4. Advance Fee Loan Scam: A woman from Columbus, Ohio received a call telling her she had been approved for a loan. She was mailed a check that she was instructed to deposit into her bank account, wire some funds back for fees, and keep the rest. After depositing the account, she learned the check was fake, and her bank closed her account. She lost $600.
BBB would like to remind consumers that advance fee loans are illegal in the United States and Canada. If you are told you qualify for a loan, you should never have to pay fees before receiving the money.
For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2016, people turned to BBB more than 167 million times for BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.2 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Central Ohio, which was founded in 1921 and serves 21 counties in Central Ohio.