BBB’s May 2016 hot topics

By Reanna Smith-Hamblin - Better Business Bureau (BBB)

1. A local BBB employee received a fake “notice to appear in court” email. The email appears to be from District Court, and informs the recipient to appear in court for a case hearing, then asks the recipient to click on an attachment for more information. Don’t click it! You could end up with a virus on your computer!

2. Beware of deceptive flyers that may be posted on your front door at this time of the year. Local residents have been receiving some of these deceptive marketing pieces. The flyers often state, “sorry we missed you,” and tell the resident to call a phone number. Sometimes these are less-than-reputable companies or downright scams. Check out BBB Business Reviews at

3. Also this time of year, beware of scammers selling fake magazine subscriptions. The seller may claim he/she is raising money for a school, charity, or veterans. The subscriptions are usually three times the typical price, but the “money goes to a good cause,” so you purchase it. Months pass, and your magazine never arrives, and the charity never gets any money. The fundraiser is a fake.

4. Businesses – beware of overpayment scams. A local business that deals in western gear, was contacted by a scammer who wanted to buy a saddle. The scammer sent a cashier’s check, with an overpayment that was supposed to be wired to someone that was being paid to “ship the item.” Don’t fall for it.

5. It’s a Dropbox phishing con. You receive an email that appears to come from Dropbox. It includes the logo and and the subject line states: “Drop Box – Pending Documents” or “ used Dropbox to share a file with you.” The email instructs you to click a link to access the shared file. Don’t fall for it! The link downloads malware to your computer!

6. The Governor of the Bank of England has not set aside $6.5 million for you. It’s the latest version of a Nigerian Scam. Victims are told they could receive a large sum of money, if they pay some fees upfront. To make it appear legit, the email comes with what appears to be the Governor’s personal identity card.

7. Scammers are contacting individuals who filed for bankruptcy, spoofing caller ID with the name and number of the person’s attorney (which is available in public records). The scammer poses as an associate of the attorney with news about a problem with paperwork and an unpaid debt. The victim is told they will be arrested if they don’t pay immediately through wire transfer. This is a scam.

8. There are reports in several states that scammers are phoning parents, claiming they’ve kidnapped their child. The scammers aggressively demand immediate payment of a ransom. Victims report hearing the sound of a child screaming in the background. The scammer insists the victim stays on their cellphone while they get cash and wire it to them.

9. Don’t fall for fake Facebook comments. Scammers create an account with an official sounding, security-related name, so victims think the comment has come directly from FB. The comment, which states, “your account has been reported by others for abuse,” warns the user that his/her account is about to be disabled. A link redirects the FB user to a fake FB page, which phishes for personal information.

10. Beware of these Memorial Day Scams: Fake charities raise funds on behalf of military organizations; con artists pose as the Veterans Administration, contacting vets saying they need to update their credit, bank, or other records with the VA; and, scammers offer “instant approval” military loans with hefty interest rates and fees.

By Reanna Smith-Hamblin

Better Business Bureau (BBB)

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