The latest in a long line of scams

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Focus on Finance by Cathy Williamson

Question: What are the latest scams according to the BBB?


1. IRS Phone Scams are on the rise. Scammers call, saying they are with the IRS, telling the taxpayer he or she owes money, then threatens the taxpayer with arrest unless they pay right away. Scammers also call “fishing” for personal information, claiming the taxpayer is owed a large refund.

2. NCAA SCAM. If you plan to Purchase Tickets to the NCAA tournament, make sure you are dealing with a reputable business. Websites like Craigslist have thousands of sports tickets listed, but the site offers no guarantees. If you plan to deal with a secondary market ticket firm, check out the company at www.bbb.org.

3. Skype Scam. Fake Skype notifications are going out, marked as “high importance.” Do not click on the message if you are not sure who it is from. You could end up with a virus on your computer.

4. Google Scam. If you receive an email from Google UK’s CEO, saying “you are a winner,” for using Google’s services, don’t open it. This is a scam. You could end up with a virus on your computer.

5. Instagram Scams. If you receive an email from Instagram saying your account may be deleted, it is a scam. Another scam includes an app that promises you more followers. If you’re an Instagram user and receive any warnings or other messages that purport to come from the site, check Instagram’s blog at www.blog.instagram.com.

6. Social Networking Scams. Many include photos offering free trips, air tickets, or other gifts in return for taking actions like reposting, tagging, following, commenting, or so on. The whole point is to get people to click on a link that leads to a page that is either full of advertising, “phishing” for your information, or hosting malware that infects your computer.

7. Beware Fake Rental Scams. Scammers post properties for rent on Craigslist. The scammer pulls the posting off a realtor website, so that it looks legitimate. To secure the rental, the tenant must pay a deposit through Green Dot Money Pak or Western Union. The property is not real and the scammer runs with your money.

8. If you plan to Hire a Contractor this spring, hire a contractor you can trust. Check a contractor out at www.bbb.org. Get at least three bids, get everything in writing, and beware of contractors who knock on your door offering “too good to be true prices” and asking for money up-front.

9. Making Spring Break plans? Don’t be fooled by professional looking travel mailers, websites, or emails. Get all details in writing, including the cancellation and refund policies. Beware of companies that charge hefty upfront fees. Check out the business at www.bbb.org.

10. It’s Prom Shopping Season. Do your homework before you make a purchase for your high school student. Check out dress/tuxedo shops, florists, and limo companies at www.bbb.org. Remember always to check on refunds and cancellation policies, and get everything in writing.

Cathy Williamson is manager of the Lincoln Trail Area branch of the Better Business Bureau. Contact her at 270-982-1289 or cwilliamson@bbbkyin.org.


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