Top Scams of the Week for May 17, 2016

Each week, the Identity Theft Resource Center works with some of the top industry experts to provide consumers with updates about threats to their personal data. The Better Business Bureau leads the way by publishing a recurring and continually updated list of scams, fraud attempts, and other threats each day in its Scam Tracker. Take a look at some of their recent top scams or fraud attempts.

#1 – Credit Repair Scam

There are a few universal truths that make it easy for scammers to cold call their potential victims. Everyone would love to take a vacation, they all have to pay taxes, and there’s an excellent chance you have at least one credit card that carries a balance. That’s why these three topics are on a short list of favorite scam attempts.

Repairing your credit score and paying off out-of-control debt is an incredibly serious matter that involves meeting with a credit counselor. This counselor can help you do the math and know what mount to pay to reduce your balances, can work with your lenders to reduce your interest rate or even your total balance, and can help get you on the road to being debt-free. Sadly, they have plenty of clients, so many that they do not need to resort to auto-dialing your phone to drum up new business.

If you receive an unsolicited phone call from someone who wants your personal information—like credit card numbers or Social Security numbers—and promises you they can erase your debt, hang up.

#2 – Account Cancellation

Whether it’s a phone call, an email, or even a mailed letter, if you receive some kind of threat that requires you to take swift action to resolve a matter, you should immediately become suspicious. In one reported case this week, a man received an email from his bank that his account had issues and was facing immediate cancellation unless he clicked the included link and resolved the matter.

Thankfully, he ignored the email and contacted his bank directly, who confirmed that it was a scam. The link in the email would have likely installed malicious software on his computer.

To find out if any kind of threat is genuine, remember to always go to the source using a verified contact number (not a number listed in the communication, since the scammers would answer that phone and confirm the contents of the letter) before you take any action.

#3 – Prize Winning Scam

One report to the BBB this week can only be described as bizarre. A caller informed a would-be victim that she had won a new Mercedes. He told her he would be delivering the car personally and that she need only pay the fees for the prize. According to the report, she must have actually given him her home address.

Instead of delivering her car, he arrived in a cab and demanded the fees. Fortunately, the victim refused to pay him as he had not brought the car.

The bizarre part? He claimed the prize was from the Better Business Bureau as a reward of some kind!

Remember, you will never win a prize or award that you never entered, and a legitimate prize does not require you to front any money or pay any fees. If you’re told you must jump through hoops to claim your prize, it’s a scam.

For the rest of this week’s top scams, visit the Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker site or the ITRC website under the Current Scams & Alerts section. Be sure to share this information with others so they can stay informed and protect themselves.

Anyone can be a victim of identity theft, anyone can use our services, and anyone can help us help others. If you found this information useful, please consider donating to the Identity Theft Resource Center to help us keep our services free to the public.

 

 

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