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Start 2019 by resolving to avoid these common scams

From the Western Michigan Better Business Bureau

Happy New Year. As we welcome 2019, many people will be making New Year’s resolutions. Often these have to do with living healthy and secure lives. The Better Business Bureau wants to help in that regard by encouraging everyone to resolve to avoid some of the most common scams in our area. The following tips are intended to help you avoid getting taken in the new year.

It is not a prize if you have to pay for it: Many scams claim you have won a big prize, just send them money to cover taxes/fees etc… You should never have to pay up front to get a prize.

Just because the bank takes the check doesn’t mean it is real: If someone sends you a check written for more money than you are expecting it is probably fake. Scam artists often tell you to keep the agreed upon amount, and send them, or someone else, the difference. The bank doesn’t know for sure the check is fake until it is processed. Any money you withdraw and send away in that time is likely gone.

Unless you are paying Apple, iTunes gift cards are likely not a legitimate form of payment: With federal crackdowns on wire transfer services, many scammers are now asking you to send money with gift cards. They have you buy gift cards then send them the numbers on the back. Before you know it the cards are drained and you are out of luck.

Tech support isn’t calling you: If someone from a “tech support company” calls offering to “fix” or “clean-up” your computer, don’t believe it. The scammers convince victims their computer needs to be repaired. Once given access they either hold the computer hostage until a bounty is paid or install software that will gain access to your personal information and accounts. Only have your computer serviced by people and companies that you know and trust.

Find someone to trust: So many scams are successful because customers don’t ask for a second opinion. Often the scammers tell victims to keep it a secret or lie, warning that the big prize or amazing offer might disappear if others find out. They warn you that others will be jealous and cause problems. The best way to be safe is to find a family member or friend to talk with about the offer. Be honest and ask their opinion. They may help prevent you from making an expensive mistake.

The BBB would like you to have a scam-free 2019. If you are unsure about an offer you are welcome to contact us at 800-787-2221 or at bbb.org. We also encourage people to report scams to our bbb.org/scamtracker 

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