LOS ANGELES & SAN JOSE – If you've received a phone call from your BBB recently, be careful. Several consumers have reported receiving calls from scammers who claim to be from or affiliated with “the Better Business Bureau” and they’re trying to steal money or personal information.
On March 13, a consumer in Hayward reported to BBB Scam Tracker that they received a call from someone who “stressed that they were ‘from the Better Business Bureau’ and that [the consumer] had won $850,000 through Publisher’s Clearing House … There was a processing fee … 400 and some odd dollars.” Luckily the consumer recognized it was scam.
This scam is a variation of an imposter scam. In 2016, imposter scams were the second most common category of consumer complaints received by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). According to the FTC, in an imposter scam, “a scammer pretends to be someone trustworthy… to convince the consumer to send money.”
A consumer in Vacaville said they received a call from a person claiming to be from “PC Tech,” saying that BBB ordered the company to repay money they had previously scammed from people. To do this, PC Tech needed remote access to the consumer’s computer to get signed authorization and directly deposit money into their bank account. The consumer had previously given remote access to their computer to a scammer and knew better than to comply.
If you get a call from someone using BBB’s name you may be tempted to trust the caller. But it should be a red flag if the caller claims you won a prize or owe money, or if they’re trying to gain access to your personal data. BBB will never actively solicit this information. Here’s some advice to avoid scams like these:
If you ever receive an unsolicited call from “BBB” or from a company claiming to be affiliated with the BBB, make sure it’s legitimate. Call or text BBB at 408-278-7400 or 213-631-3600, or email info@LosAngelesSiliconValleyBBB.org. And if you’ve been contacted by a scammer impersonating BBB report it to BBB Scam Tracker to help warn others.