These scams were reported to BBB Scam Tracker throughout 2017 and specifically targeted people in the Kansas City area.
10. Credit Card – This scam has been alive and well since Heather with “Card Services” first started her New York call center. Most of the original perpetrators of this scam are serving long prison sentence now, but many have followed in their footsteps. Now it’s “Rachel from Card Services.” The caller offers to lower the victim’s credit card interest rate. They don’t. They just steal the credit card number and make a lot of expensive purchases.
9. Government Grants – A caller says they’re with the government. They’re calling good, law-abiding citizens to offer them a government grant of $7000 to $9000. According to the so-called government agent, all the citizen has to do is wire a few hundred dollars to some other government official and they hand over the money. No such government program exists. No agency offers up thousands of dollars as a pat on the back.
8. Advance Fee Loan – Desperate consumers looking for short-term loans should be careful when a lender asks for money up front. That’s illegal. If the consumer agrees to hand over banking information, the lender will take payments until the borrower’s bank account is empty. Then the lender may sell the victim’s information and they fall victim to debt collection scams (#5).
7. Technical Support – A victim is contacted via phone or email with an alarming message. The message says that the recipient’s personal computer has had a security breach and tech support needs remote access to the computer to clean off the virus. As soon as victims grant remote access, the scammer can log into the computer at any time and start stealing personal information.
6. Sweepstakes and Lottery – A tried and true scam that has been around for hundreds of years. Scammers entice victims to pay a fee to claim their winnings. These scams frequently claim to be Publisher’s Clearing House, but PCH does not call winners about their prizes. They show up on the winner’s front step and hand them a check–no exceptions. Some scams make it look as if victims have won a prize, but when a victim pays a fee to claim the prize, the scammers tell the victim that they paid simply for the opportunity to win a prize. BBB of Kansas City has seen plenty of both.
5. Employment – Scammer scrape contact information from resumes found on Indeed.com, Careerbuilder.com or similar websites. They contact job seekers with tantalizing job offers that require minimal effort. The jobs are fake and these scammers are looking for job seekers to commit illegal acts on their behalf, hand over banking information, or wire them money. If it’s too good to be true, it is.
4. Debt Collection – These scammers call people who may have owed a debt in their past. Debt collection scams demand payment for the debt that no longer exists or never existed. Similar to the IRS tax scam, these scammers threaten targets with jail time.
3. Tax Collection – Scammers who claim to be the IRS collecting on a debt operate year-round, often threatening jail time or an expensive trial if the target doesn’t give in to their demands. The IRS never calls out of the blue and they never threaten jail for non-payment.
2. Online Purchase – BBB saw a dramatic rise in scams that involved skin cream trials in the second half of 2017. After signing up for a $5-15 trial, giving banking information, skin cream scams locked victims into an automatic payment loop, extracting money every month. The victims tried to cancel, but couldn’t. Other prominent online purchase scams included Chinese websites that advertised clothing, but never delivered products.
1. Phishing – Calls that asked “Can you hear me?” raised this category to the top. Most phishing scams request that their target volunteer personal information they can use to steal identities: social security numbers, credit card info, physical addresses and birth dates. Phishing can come in the mail, fax, email or even someone knocking on the front door. They can be anywhere. Consumers should be careful when anyone asks for personal information.