Happy New Year!
To keep your New Year happy and safe, the BBB® wishes to remind you of some recurring scams that continue to target our community. Please familiarize yourself with these fraudulent offerings and be prepared when you receive a call, letter or email!
Phony Government Agents: If you receive a call from anyone claiming to be with a government agency who states that you owe money, or that you owe a fine for any reason, don’t believe it! Immediately hang up the phone, find the number for the agency that was represented in the call and notify them of the phony call. Most agencies won’t contact by phone, but only by direct mail.
Telemarketing Scheme: You receive a call offering a great deal on a product if you “act now.” The caller asks for personal information that they can use to run up charges on your credit card. Or you receive a call, email, or letter informing you that you have won a large sum of money. All you have to do is cover “fees” or “taxes” upfront. Sometimes you’ll be sent a check as “partial payment.” These checks are forgeries.
Investment/Healthcare Scams: You receive a call, letter, or e-mail offering above-market returns on investments or great savings on medical care. The solicitor is often reluctant to provide details about the company such as name, address, and phone number or provide written documentation. Other callers will claim to be with Medicare and ask for your Medicare ID number.
Grandparent Scam: Someone calls you and says, “Grandma, it’s me.” They go on to say they have gotten into trouble and they need you to wire money to help. They ask you not to tell their parents. This is not your grandchild, just someone preying on your emotions. Often they will excuse their voice as sounding funny because of a “bad connection” or other phony reason.
Repair/Improvement Scams: Traveling contractors show up uninvited at your door and offer repairs at a very low cost, stating they have leftover materials. Or perhaps someone charges a lot of money, requiring payment in full before work will begin, and they never return to complete the job.
Phony Charities: Someone calls saying they are with a charity and they need your donation by phone. The name they use is similar to charities you’ve heard of. Unfortunately, that money isn’t going to any community programs, and you have no way to trace who you gave the money to.
Sweetheart Scams: Seeking companionship you try out online services. You’re connected with someone who sounds great but has a desperate story and need for funds. Do not provide money or personal information to anyone you don’t really know. They may only be seeking your money or information for ID theft.
The BBB and the Tri-State Consumer Task Force ask that you be aware of these scams and check with your neighbors and friends to make sure that they are not falling prey to any of them as well. Let’s all work together to wipe these scams out of our community!
For more information, contact the BBB at 812-473-0202 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was written for and appeared in the Evansville Courier & Press, Local Section, on January 18, 2016.