BBB Tips: List of scams for December

Marjorie Stephens is the president/CEO of Better Business Bureau Serving Northern Indiana.(ARCHIVE)

This list is current as of November 30, 2017. Readers should take into consideration the importance of the practice in question and the total performance of the company. For complete information, please visit BBB.org

1. “This is your final notice! $100 in Savings to Wal-Mart, Target, and More!”

A recipient of this postcard reported calling this number and was asked for her credit card number or of any person in the household’s credit card number. When she indicated that she did not have one, she was instructed to call as soon as she had one. The excuse used for obtaining one’s credit card is that shipping and handling must be paid. Cash and checks would not be accepted.

2. Con using Microsoft’s name. “Deshawn Davis from the Customer Care Refund Department

of Microsoft” called to provide a $200 refund to a couple, which had originally been paid for the purpose of securing the couple’s computer. Since Microsoft supposedly was unable to secure the computer, they were calling to provide a refund. However, “Mr. Davis” claimed to have deposited $1800 into the couple’s account. He was panicking and said he would lose his job of 10 years if the couple did not pay him his money back. He needed for them to pay him by Walmart gift cards totaling up to $1500.

Three hundred of the $1800 total was to pay the couple for their trouble.

3. Investigative Team of the IRS voice message. “This is very serious emergency

and time sensitive. This is the Investigative Team of the IRS. We just received notification regarding your tax filing. It will expire within the next 24-working hours. Once expired, you will be taken into custody by local cops. There are serious allegations. We would request that you get back to us before we take any action against you. The number to call is 801-381-6581.” – Should you receive this message, just know that the IRS will not call you. Also if you were going to be arrested, you would not be warned via a voice message.

4. Fraud attempt. Do not call! This spoofed email is not coming from TransUnion!

From: Trans Union Security

Sent: Saturday, November 4, 2017, 12:20:02 PM EDT

Subject: Fraud Alert- Call NOW

We Need You To Call Account Security

There Has Been Unusual Activity on Your Credit Account If you did NOT Open A New VISA Account On 10/31/2017 Ending in ****1265 Call Account Security To Correct This Matter Right Away

855-740-4836

There could be possible Hacking Fraud on your account

5. ‘Tis the Season of Giving and Sometimes Taking. Please be on the lookout for

suspicious emails, where a sender writes in broken English or has an unusual request, such as the one below:

Subject: Donation

I would like to make donation to charitable institution in your community. Please contact me if you can accept this donation on their behalf. Contact email: mgoodmanr@tampabay.rr.com.

6. Scammer calls cab for elderly woman. A woman had supposedly won the Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes prize of $1.2 million. All she had to do was send $295 S/H through Western Union. Since she could not drive herself, her caller had a cab sent to her door. Her husband politely declined the cab service for his wife.

7. Too good to be true job offers via email. Offers of making quick money are very

tempting, no matter what time of the year. A particular email goes to a hyperlink for a website french.bikeprescription.com. Its domain is in Zurich, Germany, and the organization’s identity is protected by a web hosting company. ALWAYS check out a company before doing business with, whether it’s to make purchases or for job opportunities. And do not open links!

8. How heavy should a package weigh to cost $500 in Shipping and Handling? The International

Monetary fund, supposedly sponsored by the Federal Government that helps with poverty, contacted a local consumer. Her prize-winning was to be $50,000 delivered by FedEx.

She was told that the money would come in a lockbox and not to tell anyone!

9. Desperate Parents Targeted by Scammers with Fake Fingerlings. It’s the one thing

parents dread most at the holidays: The List. Because there is always at least one popular-but-impossible-to-find toy every year that all the kids want. This year it’s Fingerlings, the cute finger-puppet monkeys. Unfortunately, the fact that they have sold out in many stores has turned them into bait for scammers. Con artists are selling counterfeit Fingerlings or simply making sales they don’t plan to fulfill.

How the Scam Works:

You want to purchase Fingerlings for your kids or grandkids, but they seem to be sold out at every store you visit. Instead, you decide to search online. You come across a website, perhaps by clicking on a Facebook ad or other advertisement. The site may seem legitimate and feature images of the original toy. The company may even promise very fast shipping. However, many unscrupulous e-commerce sites have been scamming buyers.

In the past two months, BBB Scam Tracker [http://BBB.org/scamtracker] has received nearly 20 reports of Fingerling scams. Consumers report being unable to contact the company by phone or email when their order doesn’t arrive. “I sent 4 emails to them, no response. The phone number goes directly to a voicemail,” wrote one victim who hasn’t received the Fingerlings they ordered in October.

Others were shipped counterfeit or incorrect products and were unable to get a refund.

One victim reported receiving toys “but they are NOT Fingerlings. They are “Funny Monkeys.” And although they look like Fingerlings, they don’t do much of anything but make annoying sounds.”

Tips to Avoid the Fingerling Scam:

* Only purchase from reputable retailers. Knowing the seller is the best way to avoid getting scammed. It is best to buy products directly from the manufacturer or authorized resellers.

* Beware of unreasonably low prices. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. An extra low price, especially when toys are sold out at many well-known retailers, should be a red flag. Low prices are often a sign of counterfeit products.

* Be cautious with your personal information. Don’t be quick to give out your name and credit card information to an unfamiliar company. First, call the provided customer service number to make sure it works and someone can answer your questions about products, payment and shipping.

* Review BBB online shopping tips. Many online purchase scams use similar tactics. See BBB.org/shoppingonline [http://BBB.org/shoppingonline] for more advice.

For More Information: Read more about counterfeit product scams on BBB.org.To learn more about scams, go to BBB Scam Tips (BBB.org/scamtips [http://BBB.org/scamtips]). To report a scam, go to BBB Scam Tracker (BBB.org/scamtracker [http://BBB.org/scamtracker]).

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