The Better Business Bureau has compiled a list of 12 scams that Kansas consumers have been subjected to over the last year.
Here is the lowdown on three of the most annoying schemes that scammers have tried and are still using to fool Kansans.
We will discuss the rest of our 12 scams of Christmas in future columns.
Scam No. 12: Work from home ‘opportunities’
Among the many work-from-home scams has been a fake shipping business that may call itself “Send-it-Off,” or “Pick and Send,” or something similar.
You may receive the “offer” to be hired as an “agent” for the company through an email. You are promised reimbursement for your expenses as well as a monthly stipend. Often it is electronic merchandise that it will send to you.
Your job is to package it and send it to overseas addresses. Once you have done this, you will receive no payment and no expense check.
Some have reported being asked to send a copy of their driver’s license with their “job application,” thereby exposing themselves to ID theft. Guard yourself against such cons by remembering these tips:
▪ Ads for jobs that use phrases like “Teleworking OK,” “Immediate Start” or “No Experience Needed” are usually scams.
▪ Be wary of jobs that ask for your personal information or up-front money. They may claim to want to run a credit check or set up direct deposit for you in an attempt to steal your ID.
▪ If the job looks suspicious (and any work-from-home or secret shopper job is suspicious) then do an online search for it and see whether it appears in several different cities. That’s a sign of scamming.
▪ Look at its business website to see whether the opening is posted. Also check it out with the BBB.
Scam No. 11: Medicare phone scams
Seniors have been reporting phone calls from someone claiming to be with Medicare or another government office. The caller says your new Medicare card is in the mail.
In the meantime, they want your bank account information, claiming it is needed to set up direct deposit.
Another variation is one in which the caller wants to “verify your identity” so they can send you a new card. This is an attempt to get your Medicare number, which is the same as your Social Security number, and to steal your identity.
Avoid these and other Medicare scams by remembering to never give out your information over the Internet, or to a phone caller, or to anyone who comes to your home uninvited.
If you suspect a scam, call the Federal Trade Commission’s ID Theft Hotline at 877-438-4338. Get more information on scams at www.Medicare.gov.
Scam No. 10: Phony subscription renewal notices
Fraudsters have been sending out subscription renewal notices for newspapers and magazines across the country, hoping to lure the unsuspecting into sending checks.
The checks are to be made out to the company, not to the newspaper or magazine. They also may accept credit card payments.
Among the most popular names these scammers are using are Publisher’s Billing Exchange, Reader’s Payment Service, Associated Publishers Network and Platinum Subscriptions Services.
Always call the actual publication and tell it about the renewal notice. More than likely, it will tell you that they have no contract with such a company. Never send money without verifying the authenticity of the notice.
Denise Groene is the state director of the Better Business Bureau of Kansas. Contact the bureau at 800-856-2417 or bbbinc.org.