BBB’s November 2015 hot topics

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

1. A secret shopper and fake check scam is using Walmart’s name. A local consumer shared the letter and fake check with BBB. The letter contained instructions for the check recipient to visit, which is a fake website that asked for personal information. The recipient was then instructed to deposit the check, keep a portion, and wire back the rest. This is a scam!

2. Local consumers are receiving phone calls from the “Sheriff’s office” demanding payment of $1,480 to keep a significant other from being sent to jail. The caller spoofs the real number of the local Sheriff’s office, as a scare tactic.

3. Beware of scammers pretending to be with local service companies. Recently, scammers have been calling local consumers, pretending to be with Duke Energy, LG&E, Louisville Water, and Louisville MSD. They tell consumers their bill is outstanding, and they need to pay up now. This is a scam!

4. You receive a message from your financial institution about your new chipped credit or debit card. The email states, before you get your card, you must update your account. Do not reply to the email or give your personal information. This is a scam. Contact your financial institution directly.

5. Have you received an email with the subject line “Notice to appear in court?” If so, delete it. A BBB employee received the email, which includes a notice that the recipient is due to appear in “state court.” The recipient is instructed to open an attachment for more information. It contains malware.

6. You have not won $500,000 from Google! A Gmail and Microsoft scam email is making its rounds, informing recipients that it is their lucky day. They have won a large sum of money and a laptop! You are one of five lucky winners. This is an attempt to phish for your personal information.

7. If you receive an order confirmation from Amazon with a product you did not order, it is likely a scam. If you open the attachment, you could end up with malware. Log into your Amazon account directly, and go to Your Orders to see if there is a purchase outstanding.

8. If you receive an email from UPS New Jersey stating the arrival of your ATM card, from Eric Johnson, delete it. It is a scam. The email looks official, and states that your tracking number will be issued once you pay an insurance fee of $245 via Western Union.

9. Don’t fall for Craigslist job scams. A local consumer, who applied to several jobs on Craigslist, received five responses from five different ads, each saying that the job was filled, but there was a “personal assistant” needed. The applicant would receive money in the mail, and packages to reship. What the applicant wouldn’t know, is that the packages have products that are bought with stolen credit cards and, once shipped, are sold on the black market.

10. Beware of holiday job scams. You receive an email that appears to be from the HR department of a major retailer or recruitment firm. The email says the company is hiring for the holiday season and claims to pay a high hourly wage. Applying is easy. All you have to do is click the link and fill out an online application. If you click, you may download malware to your device, or they may be phishing for your personal information.

For more consumer tips, go to or call 1-800-388-2222.

By Reanna Smith-Hamblin

Better Business Bureau (BBB)

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