Earlier this week, Houston’s office of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) released its list of the top 10 scams, as well as methods people can use to avoid losing their hard-earned money.
“Can You Hear Me?”
A phone scam said to be growing in popularity is one involving scammers calling a victim’s number and asking, “Can you hear me?”
When then victim answers, “Yes,” the scammers can then use the recording to authorize purchases on the victim’s accounts.
The scammer tells the target they are entitled to a job or can receive information about potential jobs, but only if they pay a fee.
When the target pays the fee, the scammer disappears with their money, and the target is left without a job and without their fee.
The scammer calls the target and claims to be with the federal government; the scammer then tells the target they are behind in their tax payments and must pay immediately or risk arrest.
In a legitimate tax dispute, the IRS will handle the process by mail, rather than by phone. According to the agency’s website, the IRS will also work with taxpayers on a payment plan, rather than demand immediate payment.
Similar to the tax collection scheme, a scammer will call a target to threaten them with wage garnishment, lawsuits or even prison time regarding unpaid debts, unless the target pays the amount over the phone at that moment.
When a target visits a website, a popup message appears to tell the target their computer is encountering a problem, instructing them to download special software for repairs.
When the target downloads the software, the program installs a malware system, which steals the user’s sensitive information.
Processing Fee Scams
A number of scammers promise targets they will receive “free money,” such as from a contest or sweepstakes entry, in exchange for a “small processing fee” to ensure the transaction goes through.
Watch out for these crooks, Houston, and to find out more about these scams, contact the Houston BBB.