Top 10 scams of 2021
The Better Business Bureau serving east-central Texas has identified the 10 scams that have targeted East Texans the most in the past year.
TYLER, Texas – The Better Business Bureau serving east central Texas has identified the top 10 east Texas scams in 2021.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Consumer Sentinel Network recorded about 4.7 million reports in 2020, with consumer losses estimated at more than $ 3.3 billion. The 2022 report will be released in spring 2021.
“The crooks aren’t going anywhere. Unfortunately, during the pandemic we saw them become more aggressive, ”said Mechele Agbayani Mills, president and CEO of BBB Serving Central East Texas. “Whether it’s online or over the phone, we need to be vigilant when it comes to protecting personal and financial information. The following list includes the most reported scams and suspicious activity in East Texas in 2021 via BBB Scam Tracker:
1. Online shopping scams – It might seem that some of the best deals can be found online, but be careful. It’s easy for a scammer to hijack photos of a legitimate retailer and display prices that sound too good to be true. Make sure you are dealing with a legitimate seller who is used to doing business ethically by going to bbb.org.
2. Phishing / Smishing / Vishing – The victim receives an e-mail (phishing), a phone call (vishing) or an SMS (smishing). In the communication, the scammer urges the target to click on a link, share information, or download an attachment that likely contains malware. In the case of an e-mail or an SMS, the link frequently returns to a form, which invites the target to enter personal information.
3. Contest / Lottery / Prizes – Winning raffles, dream vacation, big bucks, a new car, shopping spree or new tech sounds great, especially if you didn’t participate to win. Unexpected prize and lottery scams rely on your enthusiasm to trick you into paying a fee for your prize or usually require you to provide your personal information in an attempt to compromise your identity. Remember, you should never have to pay a fee to win a prize. You will also never win a lottery in which you have never participated.
4. False employers – Scammers advertise a job offer or guarantee a placement if you pay a fee to cover the costs necessary to place you in a job. However, once you pay, there is no more work and you have no more money. Remember, if a potential employer asks you to pay the company to cover the costs of testing, training, or background checks, take this as a red flag.
5. Health / Medicaid / Medicare – BBB has received numerous reports from residents of East Texas who claim to have received phone calls from Medicare / Medicaid impostors asking to confirm Social Security, income and bank account information.
6. Technical assistance – Consumers are targeted by fraudsters posing as well-known technical support companies. Victims receive a message on their computer stating that a virus has been detected and to “fix” the problem, a phone number or website is provided to purchase an anti-virus computer by debit or credit card. Computer manufacturers will not contact you to let you know if there is a problem with your computer.
7. False invoices / invoices – Beware of false invoices from vendor / supplier impostors. Scammers send out bogus invoices for office supplies, domain hosting services, web services, and other services in hopes of getting businesses to pay for services or products they don’t. have never asked for or received.
8. Identity theft – While scammers certainly want access to your finances, your social security number, debit / credit card information, PINs, passwords and anything else that has your personal information is also valuable. If this sensitive information gets into the hands of a criminal, it can be used to steal your identity. It is important to be extremely protective of your personal information online, by text message, on the phone and in person.
9. Government subsidy – Victims receive a phone call, email, or letter stating that they are eligible for a government grant, but in order to receive the grant you must pay the processing and / or delivery charges by wire transfer or credit card. prepaid debit. In East Texas, some consumers said they received a message asking them to apply for a government subsidy through a friend’s (hacked) Facebook Messenger account. Remember that the government does not award grants for which there have been no requests. Visit usa.gov for more information on the grant application process.
10. Debt collection – Consumers report receiving harassing calls and / or calls for debts that are not due. Remember that there are debt collection process rules to prevent unethical collection business practices. See the rules of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website. Report violations to bbb.org, the FTC, the state attorney general’s office, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
- Don’t be pressured into making hasty decisions. Take the time to research each organization you do business with by going to bbb.org.
- Never share your personal information (address, date of birth, banking information, identification numbers) with people you don’t know.
- Do not click on links from unsolicited emails or text messages.
- To verify. If you are unsure of a call or email claiming to be from your bank, utility, supplier, etc., do not use the number provided by text, e- mail, phone call or private message. Instead, contact the business directly using information from the previous invoice or statement or on the back of your credit card.
- Never send money by wire transfer, prepaid debit card, or unconventional method to someone you don’t know or have not met in person. Use a credit card and always reconcile your statements.
- Never send money for an emergency unless you can verify the emergency.
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