BBB lists top scams to watch out for in 2016

Con artists at work online, on phone, on the street

If someone becomes aggressive online or on the phone, or asks you for credit card information, or offers you a huge prize from a contest you’ve never heard of, or offers to fix your ‘hacked’ computer online, think two or three times… then stop and think again, before believing them.

And never offer any personal or financial information on-line in response to an email, or telephone call or someone knocking at your door until you have verified independently that they are, in fact, representing the agency they say they are.

The Better Business Bureau has released a list of the ‘scams, frauds and things to watch out for in 2016’ that you might want to post on your fridge – the full list, along with more detail and ‘consumer tips’ related to these descriptions can be found at bbb.org/vancouver-island under the Top 10 Scams link:

CRA Collection Scam – Aggressive telemarketers pretending to represent the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) use threatening tactics to scare taxpayers into paying a fictitious tax return debt.

Unclaimed Prize Scam – Automated phone recordings pretending to come from legitimate airlines, hotels or vacation booking agents lure consumers into believing they are eligible to win a vacation prize.

Computer Virus Telemarketing Scam – Consumers are aggressively targeted (by phone, email and online pop ups) by fraudsters pretending to represent Microsoft or Apple, informing them that their computer has been infected with a virus.

Impostors Phishing Scam – Using the logos and good names of reputable charities, non-profits, banks, government agencies and businesses, scam artists send out a variety of legitimate looking, but fake links designed for you to click on so that they can install malware on your computer or steal your private information.

Vacation Rental Scam – Tourists rent condos or homes from private homeowner/renters but find themselves out-of-luck when vacation rentals turn out to be fake, in disrepair, not what they were offered or unexpectedly canceled with no refund.

Smishing (SMS Phishing) – Bogus text messages are sent to victims in attempts to lure them into unknowingly agreeing to accept large monthly charges to their credit cards or downloading viruses, or malware onto their smart phones or other mobile devices.

Counterfeit Merchandise – The Internet is filled with online stores and auction sites marketing alluring, cheaply priced, counterfeit products being pitched as the real thing. Legitimate Gucci handbags and Rolex watches do not come cheap, no matter what the sale price. Before you buy any product online, be sure you know the difference between real and fake offers.

 

For more consumer and business tips you can trust, visit bbb.org/Vancouver-island.