BBB serving Northern Indiana
Tips for June 2014
Greg Smitley at 260-969-9548
Marjorie Stephens at 260-918-2067
This list is current as of May 30, 2014. Readers should take into consideration the importance of the practice in question and the total performance of the company. For complete information, please visit www.bbb.org.
1. Thank you to our readers! We have 3 main areas that we cover in Northern Indiana: Fort Wayne, Osceola, and Schererville. A consumer reported having received a call from someone in Jamaica, who pretended to be from Publisher’s Clearing House. Right away, she knew that she had received a scam call because of an article that she had read in the “Elkhart Truth” written by Dreama Jensen/Area Manager. We appreciate Dreama for writing that article and the great work she does in her area, but we especially appreciate it when consumers benefit from the information that we diligently put out there for their protection. Help spread the word!
2. Someone should probably tell the scammers that the deadline to file taxes has past! The deadline to file taxes was April 15th, although people can request an extension to October 15th if needed. Scam calls are being reported, where the IRS is supposedly calling and is threatening to arrest individuals if they do not call their number ASAP. Individuals are being accused of fraud, failure to pay taxes, etc. Definitely, the IRS does not operate in this fashion. They will not call you for being late on taxes and certainly will not threaten jail time or to arrest you!
3. SURPRISE!!! Not only have you won millions of dollars, but you are being flown to Madrid, Spain to pick it up! It’s unlikely that this trip would have come to fruition. A consumer reported having received a call from an attorney, who worked for International Sweepstakes. This New York attorney informed her that she had won the money and would fly her to Madrid to pick it up or he could bring it here for a fee… Why, oh why would it cost anything to send money from Madrid to the Midwest? Then again, how is it that someone in the Midwest won money from a foreign country, when foreign lotteries are illegal in the United States? Hmm…
4. To those receiving unemployment benefits, who wouldn’t want to receive more? This email received actually wasn’t received by someone out of work. It would entice anyone to look into further though. What do you think?
5. A new way to finance a business?! A call was received from American Cash Awards. A Mr. John David called, offering winnings of $4.5 million and a Mercedes-Benz from the Bank of America. He mentioned that in order to receive it though that 1% or $45,000 was required to ship the car. The consumer asked him, “Where would I get that kind of money?” He said, “The bank.” Then, she told him, “I already have a Mercedes. Why would I want another?” That’s when he changed his tune. He told her that he was starting a business and just needed to borrow money. She didn’t fall for it.
6. Today is your lucky day! Donald Trump wants to give you money! A random call came from a nameless person who claimed to work for Donald Trump. He told the woman that Donald Trump wants to issue her a check and would like to meet her near her home. She asked him why Mr. Trump would want to give her a check, and he told her that it’s because she pays her bills on time and keeps her property maintained. She asked him what Donald wanted in return from her. The man said, “Nothing. He just wants to give you money.” She hung up on him at this point, and we haven’t heard from her about receiving any check. Certainly, it hasn’t been on the news.
7. My daughter’s in jail. At least, it sounds just like her on this call. Scammers are expanding their territory. Not only are they threatening grandparents by pretending to be a person’s grandchild, who is in prison and off in a foreign country, but they also are preying on parents. One woman reported having received a call from a correctional facility. It was a collect phone call supposedly from her daughter. There was a recording that stated her daughter’s name, and it was the daughter’s voice, which she found very disturbing. Her daughter definitely wasn’t in jail but how they got the recording of her daughter’s voice was a mystery to her.
8. Email attachments may not be safe, but what about those URL links that lead to malware? An interesting email was received regarding “Payment Advice,” and the sender asked recipients to download a document from dropbox. The disclaimer on the bottom gave advice about protecting oneself from viruses but failed to mention that the link one was requested to click on most likely lead to a virus as well. Be careful out there on the wild and wooly internet!
9. Due to a surgery being botched up, the FDA is awarding you $50,000. The scary thing is the woman who received this call actually had had a botched up surgery on her bladder. She wondered, “How do these callers find out these personal things about people?” She was told in order to receive the money that she must first pay $250 by Western Union. This was a dead giveaway that the call wasn’t for real. Plus the FDA wouldn’t pay a settlement over the phone. This just isn’t standard protocol.
10. Don’t panic! Just turn on your computer. Microsoft called to tell a man that his computer had been hacked. In order to catch the hacker, the woman asked him to turn on his computer. He asked her how long the hacker had been in his computer. She told him 3 weeks, and he asked her how he should know that she wasn’t the hacker. She said, “If you don’t believe me, go to your computer and I’ll read you your computer ID.” He did not do this and told us at the BBB that she was very good at creating a sense of panic about turning on the computer, but he didn’t fall for it.