Alert readers deter scams
A South Bend woman whom we’ll call Mrs. Smith received a phone call last week from Ms. X (as we will call her), stating she was with the “Government of the Accountability Department ofWashington, D.C.” Ms. X told Mrs. Smith that her department handles the distribution of sweepstakes and lotteries. Fortunately, Mrs. Smith was told, someone had submitted her name in a drawing and she was the winner of $470,000 with a net (after taxes) of $350,000.
Mrs. Smith only needed to phone a number given her by Ms. X for the purpose of making arrangements to be at home when her money would be shipped and delivered.
Ms. X identified herself as being with the “Government of the Accountability Department ofWashington, D.C.” (with which we are not familiar) in an effort to imply she was with the U.S. Government Accountability Office of Washington, D.C. that is a department of the U.S. government and has nothing to do with the distribution of sweepstakes and lotteries.
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Mrs. Smith rightfully recognized this as a scam, which was a good thing. Mrs. Smith received this call last week and her failure to cooperate has prevented any further word from this scammer. If the call had been legitimate, this company would still be making every effort to reach her as it would be her money that could not be distributed to anyone else and the company would not have the right to keep it.
Did she order pizza?
A woman from one of our Elkhart BBB-accredited businesses reported she received an e-mail this week (sent at 5:31 a.m.) addressed to her personally with the following message: “You’ve just ordered pizza from our site.” It named the items ordered, which totaled $238.80.
The message continued, “If you haven’t made the order and it’s a fraud case, please follow the link and cancel the order. CANCEL ORDER NOW! If you don’t do that shortly, the order will be confirmed and delivered to you. With best regards MACARIO’S Pizzeria.”
Her first thought was, “I didn’t order any pizza and I must respond immediately to prevent the delivery.” (This is exactly what the sender wanted her to do.)
There was no link provided; however, there was an attachment. She tells us she knew she shouldn’t open the attachment (and she didn’t); however, the curiosity almost got the best of her as she wondered what it contained.
BBB tip: Do not open any e-mails that seem unreasonable and unrecognizable. Many times they contain a virus that can infect your computer. In addition, most often money and/or personal information (that you don’t want to give to the unknown) are requested.
Computer help offers
Your BBB continues to receive calls from people reporting they have been contacted by phone or e-mail by those identifying themselves as a computer support firm. They further state, “A virus has been detected in your computer and in order to remove it we must log onto the computer.”
This is a scam to gain access to your computer and once they do, who knows what happens. Whatever it is, it won’t be good.
According to reports we are receiving from consumers, phone calls are being made to area residents from those representing themselves as “Medicare” and are offering “free” back braces. The callers are pressuring for a Social Security number. It is wise to treat these kinds of calls as one of our consumers reported. “I don’t give my number out to anyone.” It is not Medicare making these calls.
BBB tip: Do not (I repeat)do notprovideanypersonal information to unsolicited callers.
Scammers vs. consumers
The winner is the “consumers.” We hope you noticed: Not one con artist that we wrote about this week was successful in scamming the consumer.
Dreama Jensen is area director of the Better Business Bureau of Northern Indiana. Contact the BBB at 574-675-9351 or visit http://www.bbb.org.