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Top Scams of 2017 as Reported by the Southeast Texas BBB

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The top scams of 2017 have recently been compiled by the Southeast Texas Better Business Bureau and you may want to pay attention. If you haven’t been contacted through any of these methods, you may, in fact, know someone that has. That’s because scams are nothing new, but the number of people they reach and the communication methods through which they’re occurring are growing. Here are the top scams according to this recent listing. Be vigilant and wary of the following:

1. Tax Collection

Top Scams of 2017 as Reported by the Southeast Texas BBB

Photo: Flickr/401(K) 2012

This scam normally results from a threatening phone call whereby someone tells you that you’re overdue on your taxes and that an arrest warrant has been issued. Immediate payment demands are then made, and several individuals have fallen victim to these incidents. Be advised that the IRS will not call you for a collection, nor will they threaten you. If you suspect there’s actually an IRS issue, get the local IRS telephone number and contact them, or go online.

2. Government Grant

Top Scams of 2017 as Reported by the Southeast Texas BBB

Photo: Pexels

Another successful scam in 2017, the government grant scam is also typically a phone call, telling the recipient that their grant was approved. The caller ID may reflect a 202 area code (which is for Washington DC) and the caller will ask that you send a “tax” or “application fee” or some other up-front fee in order to obtain your grant. Be advised that it’s not a free grant if you are required to send money up front. As well, if the caller mentions FEMA, but doesn’t know your individual grant package ID, it’s a scam.

3. Tech Support

Top Scams of 2017 as Reported by the Southeast Texas BBB

Photo: Flickr/401(K) 2012

This scam works on your computer, to convince you that you have to call for tech support. A popup window will surface usually referring to a well-known company, such as Microsoft. The scammers will then request that you contact them, and after you do, they’ll request remote access to your computer. Following that, they’ll identify that they’ve found the problem (a virus) and will fix it for a fee. But, you’ve now given them full access to your computer and files – something you should never do without first ensuring who you’re dealing with. Be advised that a tech support company will never contact you in this manner.

4. Employment/Secret Shopping Scams

Top Scams of 2017 as Reported by the Southeast Texas BBB

Photo: Flickr/401(K) 2012

In this instance, a consumer will normally have clicked on an ad which may have been for a secret shopper or work-at-home opportunity. The company that they end up contacting does a quick phone “interview” and send you a check asking you to “secret shop” at a large retailer such as Walmart. Following the deposit of the check into your account, you would be asked to purchase several $500 gift cards as well as send an email to the “employer” detailing your experience, along with pictures of the front and back of each gift card. The check you received will bounce in a couple of days, and the gift cards will have been used. Be advised that no legitimate job offer for a “secret shopper” will pay you up front and ask you to purchase gift cards. Investigate each company you apply to thoroughly before accepting any offer.