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Don't Fall for Fake Customer Service Numbers

Next time you call the customer service department of your credit or debit card, be sure to double check the number. Scammers are purchasing phone numbers similar to those of customer service lines and fooling card holders into sharing account information.

Next time you call the customer service department of your credit or debit card, be sure to double check the number. Scammers are purchasing phone numbers similar to those of customer service lines and fooling card holders into sharing account information.

How the Scam Works: 

You have an issue with your credit card, so you search online for the card issuer's phone number. You dial the number at the top of the search results and get a recorded message. It prompts you to enter your credit card number and other information. 

Don't fall for it! Scammers are purchasing toll free numbers and promoting them though search ads and fraudulent websites. In a hurry, consumers simply dial the first number, not realizing it's an ad placed by scammers. 

In other cases, scammers purchase numbers very similar to the real customer support line and prey on customers who misdial. This scam is not limited to credit cards; con artists are also pulling this trick with popular retail brands, as well. 

How to avoid fake phone numbers: 

  • Be wary of phone numbers in search ads. Frequently, the slots at the top and sides of search results are for sale. This means scammers can buy these spaces and use them to promote fake phone numbers. 
  • Find the customer service number on your card. That is always your best first option for reaching your card issuer. 
  • Look for the company's official website. If you don't have your credit/debit card handy, be sure to look on the official website.
  • Try other ways to contact the company. If you can't find an official customer service phone number, try contacting the company by other means, such as email or a live chat. 

For More Information

To find out more about other scams, check out BBB Scam Stopper (bbb.org/scam). To learn more about this scam, check out this recent alert from the Federal Trade Commission. 

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The BBB is dedicated to fostering honest and responsive relationships between businesses and consumers in the U.S. and Canada, instilling consumer confidence and contributing to a trustworthy marketplace for all.

Leads, lies, and losing big

Want to work from home? How about a job helping small businesses get loans or cash advances? For people recruited by Money Now Funding (aka Nationwide Lending, among other names), it seemed like a great opportunity. Want to work from home? How about a job helping small businesses get loans or cash advances? For people recruited by Money Now Funding (aka Nationwide Lending, among other names), it seemed like a great opportunity. In reality, it was a con. People were left loaded with debt — sometimes tens of thousands of dollars of debt — and no income. Today the FTC announced that the companies behind the scheme have been shut down. Here’s what happened: scammers called people with a proposal — be our agent and find small businesses in need of a loan or cash advance. Refer them to us, and you’ll get $25 per application, plus 4 percent of any loan or advance they take out. So, on an average $20,000 advance, the company said, you’ll make $800. You also get a $100 bonus just for signing up. But first, people had to pay $299 to $499 to set up their business. Once they did, they got more calls — this time urging them to pay thousands more for leads or other services. In the end, it was all a lie. No loans, no income. Here are some signs this “opportunity” wasn’t on the up-and-up:
  • They didn’t give required documents. Under the Business Opportunity Rule, people pushing real business opportunities owe you a document with specifics, and an earnings statement to support any claims about how much you’ll make.
  • They ignored the Do Not Call Registry. If you’re on the Do Not Call Registry, you shouldn’t get calls like this. Even if you aren’t, a company should add you to its do not call list if you ask. These guys just kept calling.
  • They asked people to pay for the promise of future income. They promised buyers would recoup the investment in no time. Be skeptical anytime someone asks you to pay for a promise. Besides, if these loans were so profitable, why waste time recruiting agents instead of pitching businesses themselves?
___________________ The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the nation’s consumer protection agency. The FTC works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace.

Cunning New Con Impersonates Personal Emails

A sophisticated new scam is targeting business and personal email addresses. Scammers create email accounts nearly identical to an existing account and use that new account to initiate wire transfers.

A sophisticated new scam is targeting business and personal email addresses. Scammers create email accounts nearly identical to an existing account and use that new account to initiate wire transfers. 

How the Scam Works:

You are working for a business that deals with contractors or suppliers. One day, you receive an email that comes from your contractor, requesting to be paid by wire transfer. This is unusual, but you have a long standing relationship with this contractor, so you initiate the transfer. 

Watch out! The email may be a fraud. Scammers are hacking into email accounts and spying on messages sent by the account owners. Then they create a new, second account that looks very similar. It may differ by a single character. 

Con artists then use these new accounts to initiate wire transfers. In some case, the funds from the unauthorized transfers are sent to money mules located in the United States. These mules may be victims of employment scams. They may have no idea that their new "job" involves moving money for scammers.

Tips to protect yourself from this scam: 

  • As always, be wary of suspicious emails. Do not open e-mail messages, click links or download attachments from unfamiliar senders. 
  • Double check email addresses. Watch out for changes in e-mail addresses that mimic legitimate e-mail addresses.
  • Question changes to payment instructions. Contact the real vendor to check on the change.
  • Have a dual step process in place for wire transfers. This can include verbal communication using a telephone number known by both parties.
  • Know your vendors. Be aware of each company's typical payment activity and question any variations. 
___________________ The BBB is dedicated to fostering honest and responsive relationships between businesses and consumers in the U.S. and Canada, instilling consumer confidence and contributing to a trustworthy marketplace for all.  

Don't Fall for Car Wrapping Con

Looking for an easy way to supplement your income? Don't fall for fake emails that offer to pay you $300 a week for simply wrapping your car with a company logo.

Looking for an easy way to supplement your income? Don't fall for fake emails that offer to pay you $300 a week for simply wrapping your car with a company logo.

How the Scam Works:

You get an email that appears to be from a well-known drink brand. These latest scams use Monster Energy's name, but scammers have also impersonated brands such as Coca Cola and Heineken. 

The email claims to be offering you a chance to earn $300 (or more) a week. All you need to do is wrap your car with the Monster Energy logo and use the vehicle for your daily routine. Sounds easy! You reply and are asked to provide contact information and vehicle details. You are also promised an up-front payment.

When you receive your check, it's for far more than you were promised. Your new "boss" instructs you to deposit it and wire the difference to another person. This third party is allegedly responsible for designing the car wrap. Don't do it! It's a scam, and the check is a fake. If you deposit the check and withdraw the money, you will be responsible for the bank's losses. 

How to Spot a Job Scam: 

  • Don't fall for an overpayment scam. No legitimate job would ever overpay an employee and ask him/her wire the money elsewhere. This is a common trick used by scammers.
  • Some positions are more likely to be scams: Always be wary of work from home, secret shopper positions or any job with a generic title, such as admin assistant or customer service representative. These often don't require special training or licensing, so they appeal to a wide range of applicants. Scammers know this and use these otherwise legitimate titles in their fake ads.
  • If a job looks suspicious, search for it online. If the result comes up in many other cities with the exact same job post, it is likely a scam. Also, check the real company's job page to make sure the position is posted there.
  • Watch out for on-the-spot job offers.You may be an excellent candidate for the job, but beware of offers made without an interview. A real company will want to talk to a candidate before hiring him or her.
  • Looks for typos and bad grammar: If the offer is really coming from a famous brand like Coca Cola, their email shouldn't be riddled with bad writing.  
___________________ The BBB is dedicated to fostering honest and responsive relationships between businesses and consumers in the U.S. and Canada, instilling consumer confidence and contributing to a trustworthy marketplace for all.