BBB February 2017 Hot Topics

February 01, 2017

See the latest scams in BBB’s February 2017 Hot Topics

 1. If a caller asks “can you hear me?,” just hang up the phone! The caller hopes that you say “yes,” so they can record your voice. Your response may be used to make it sound like you authorized a purchase. If you don’t recognize the number on your caller ID, don’t answer.

2. Local consumers are receiving phone calls from “loved ones” claiming to be in jail and needing money. This family emergency scam varies in scenarios, but the end result is always the same – the “loved one” needs money wired immediately for help. Don’t fall for it.

3. A local consumer contacted us about a Facebook Lottery Scam. The fake email was sent from the “Facebook Claiming Department” and gave her a winning certificate. Facebook does not have any sweepstakes or lotteries. This is an attempt to phish for your personal information.

4. If you receive a phone call from “Mega Millions Sweepstakes,” hang up! A local consumer reported the caller said she won $520,000 and had to give $250 to register her name with the Department of Treasury to receive her winnings.

5. Be careful with online job opportunities. Several local consumers have received job offers that come with a high salary, pending they send a small up-front fee to cover training or supplies. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

6. A fake TurboTax email asks you to “sign in with your user ID and pick up where you left off” to complete your tax return. The email looks legitimate and even features a TurboTax logo. This is an attempt to steal your personal information.

7. Beware of advance fee loan scams. A local consumer found an offer online, and the company wanted to charge her an upfront fee to receive it. Never give money to get money. This is a scam!

8. Another fake PayPal email is making the rounds. Scammers are fooling consumers with fake emails that appear to be payment confirmation messages. The email appears to be from PayPal, claiming that a transaction is “on hold” until you click the link. Don’t click on it! This link will send you to a fake website.

9. Do you purchase apps and music from the App Store? If you see an email claiming to be from Apple that says you’ve been overcharged on your purchase, don’t click on any links. The fake links will take you to a fake login page. This is a phishing attempt to get your information! If you suspect there is a problem, go directly to the source.

10. Beware of card skimming devices at gas stations! Scammers are installing the skimmers to collect data from your credit or debit cards. Tape is often used to attach these skimming devices. If something looks odd, wiggle it to make sure it doesn’t come loose.

For more tips, go to or call 1-800-388-2222.