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Friday, January 06, 2012


Winnipeg, Manitoba– January 4, 2012. - Better Business Bureau investigates thousands of scams
every year, from the latest gimmicks to schemes as old as the hills. Our new Scam Source
( is a comprehensive resource on scam investigations from BBBs around the
country, with tips from BBB, law enforcement and others. You can sign up to receive our Scam Alerts
by email, and you can also be a scam detective yourself by reporting scams you’ve discovered.
We’ve divided scams up into nine major categories and picked the top scam in each, plus our Scam of
the Year.

Top Job Scam

BBB sees lots of secret shopper schemes, work-from-home scams, and other phony job offers, but the
worst job-related scam can dash your hopes and steal your identity. Emails, websites and online
applications all look very professional, and the candidate is even interviewed for the job (usually over
the phone) and then receives an offer. In order to start the job, however, the candidate has to fill out a
“credit report” or provide bank information for direct deposit of their “paychecks.” The online forms are
nothing more than a way to capture sensitive personal data – Social Insurance number, bank accounts,
etc. – that can easily be used for identity theft. And, of course, there is no job, either.

Top Sweepstakes and Lottery Scam

Sweepstakes and lottery scams come in all shapes and sizes, but the bottom line is almost always this:
You’ve won a whole lot of money, and in order to claim it you have to send us a smaller amount of
money. Oh, and keep this confidential until we’re ready to announce your big winnings. This year’s top
sweepstakes scam was undoubtedly the email claiming to be from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg
announcing that the recipient was the winner of $1 million from the popular social networking site.
These kinds of scams often use celebrities or other famous names to make their offer seem more
genuine. If you aren’t sure, don’t click on the link but instead go directly to the homepage of the
company mentioned. If they are really giving away $1 million, there will be some kind of announcement
on their website. But don’t waste too much time looking.

Top Social Media/Online Dating Scam

On the Internet, it’s easy to pretend to be someone you are not. Are you really friends with all of your
“Friends” on Facebook? Do you have a lot of personal information on a dating site? With so much
information about us online, a scammer can sound like they know you. There are tons of ways to use
social media for scams, but one this year really stands out because it appeals to our natural
curiosity…and it sounds like it’s coming from a friend. Viral videos claiming to show everything from
grisly footage of Osama bin Laden’s death to the latest celebrity hi-jinks have shown up on social media
sites, often looking as if they have been shared by a friend. When you click on the link, you are
prompted to “upgrade your Flash player,” but the file you end up downloading contains a worm that
logs into your social media account, sends similar messages to your friends, and searches for your
personal data. The next time you see a sensational headline for the latest viral video, resist the urge to

Top Home Improvement Scam

Always near the top of BBB complaint data are home improvement contractors who often leave your
home worse than they found it. They usually knock on your door with a story or a deal – the roofer who
can spot some missing shingles on your roof, the paver with some leftover asphalt who can give you a
great deal on driveway resealing. Itinerant contractors move around, keeping a step ahead of the
law…and angry consumers. The worst are those who move in after a natural disaster, taking advantage
of desperate homeowners who need immediate help and may not be as suspicious as they would be
under normal circumstances. A large percentage of BBB’s Accredited Businesses are home contractors
who want to make sure you know they are legitimate, trustworthy and dependable. Find one at

Top Check Cashing Scam

Two legitimate companies – Craig’s List and Western Union – are used for an inordinate amount of
scamming these days, and especially check cashing scams. Here’s how it works: Someone contacts you
via a Craig’s List posting, maybe for a legitimate reason like buying your old couch or perhaps through
a scam like hiring you as a secret shopper. Either way, they send you a check for more than the
amount they owe you, and they ask you to deposit it into your bank account and then send them the
difference via Western Union. A deposited check takes a couple of days to clear, whereas wired money
is gone instantly. When the original check bounces, you are out whatever money you wired…and you’re
still stuck with the old couch.

Top Phishing Scam

“Phishing” is when you receive a suspicious phone call asking for personal information or an email that
puts a virus on your computer to hunt for your data. It’s almost impossible to avoid them if you have a
telephone or an email account. But the most pernicious phishing scam this year disguised itself as
official communication from NACHA – the National Automated Clearing House Association – which
facilitates the secure transfer of billions of electronic transactions every year. The email claims one of
your transactions did not go through, and it hopes you react quickly and click on the link before
thinking it through. It may take you to a fake banking site “verify” you account information, or it may
download malware to infiltrate your computer.

Top Identity Theft Scam
There are a million ways to steal someone’s identity. This one has gotten so prevalent that many hotels
are posting warnings in their lobby. Here’s how it works: You get a call in your hotel room in the middle
of the night. It’s the front desk clerk, very apologetic, saying their computer has crashed and they need
to get your credit card number again, or they must have gotten the number wrong because the
transaction won’t go through, and could you please read the number back so they can fix the problem?
Scammers are counting on you being too sleepy to catch on that the call isn’t from the hotel at all, but
from someone outside who knows the direct-dial numbers for the guest rooms. By the time morning
rolls around and you are clear-headed, your credit card has been on a major shopping spree.

Top Financial Scam

In challenging economic times, many people are looking for help getting out of debt or hanging on to
their home, and almost as many scammers appear to take advantage of desperate situations. Because
the federal government announced or expanded several mortgage relief programs this year, all kinds of
sound-alike websites have popped up to try to fool consumers into parting with their money. Some
sound like a government agency, or even part of BBB or other nonprofit consumer organization. Most
ask for an upfront fee to help you deal with your mortgage company or the government (services you
could easily do yourself for free), and almost all leave you in more debt than when you started.

Top Sales Scam

Sales scams are as old as humanity, but the Internet has introduced a whole new way to rip people off.
Penny auctions are very popular because it seems like you can get something useful - cameras,
computers, etc. – for way below retail. But you pay a small fee for each bid (usually 50 cents to $1.00)
and if you aren’t the winner, you lose that bid money. Winners often are not even the top bidder, just
the last bidder when time runs out. Although not all penny auction sites are scams, some are being
investigated as online gambling. BBB recommends you treat them the same way you would legal
gambling in a casino – know exactly how the bidding works, set a limit for yourself, and be prepared to
walk away before you go over that limit.

Scam of the Year

Yep, it’s us – the BBB phishing scam. Hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of people have gotten
emails that very much look like an official notice from BBB. The subject line says something like
“Complaint Against Your Business,” and the instructions tell the recipient to either click on a link or
open an attachment to get the details. If the recipient does either, a malicious virus is launched on
their computer…a virus that can steal banking information, passwords and other critical pieces of
information needed for cyber-theft. BBB is working with security consultants and federal law
enforcement to track down the source of these emails, and has already shut down dozens of hijacked
websites. Anyone who has opened an attachment or clicked on a link should run a complete system
scan using reputable anti-virus software. If your computer is networked with others, all machines on
the network should be scanned, as well.

For more information on these and other scams, go to BBB Scam Source ( Sign up
for our Scam Alerts and learn about new scams as soon as we do.

About The Better Business Bureau

The BBB Serving Manitoba & N.W. Ontario, established in June of 1930, is a not-for-profit, public
service organization and part of an international organization with 114 local Bureaus across Canada and
the U.S. and locally in Manitoba & now N.W. Ontario. BBB rates companies in the marketplace
through a rigorous evaluation of businesses against objective standards, unbiased business review
reports, impartial dispute resolution services and educational programs for businesses and consumers
alike. The Better Business Bureau is unique because of its position of neutrality and its outstanding
history of service. Visit the Better Business Bureau at:
Posted by Mike Gupton at 10:31 AM 0 Comments

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Gold Scams

If you’re like us, you’re surprised these Cash-For-Gold and travelling roadshow scams and predators are still around considering the options available today. At KMG Gold, we're determined to educate the consumer so they can make the wisest decision possible.

Walking around the corner or even outside the city limits to sell gold coins and used jewelry for cash seems may seem appealing to some, it is definitely not the best idea. Businesses that provide cash for gold pay pennies for the true value of gold.

If individuals absolutely must sell their gold items for cash, they should be aware that the price of gold is only a small factor in the offer price provided by these operations. A person may make a profit on a piece of jewelry or a coin purchased ten years ago just because the item is worth more than what was paid for it. The buyer in turn makes their money by reselling the item to a refinery. You have the option of dealing directly with the refiner hence cutting out the middleman.

Jewelry stores significantly mark up the price of gold items so they can make a profit. When a piece of gold jewelry is traded for cash, the offer received is not based on what the item is worth in metal value, it is based on how the store will use the item. If the gold piece is sent off somewhere to be melted, the store will receive the value is based on the melt weight.

With the high price of gold, it pays to be informed about the industry and the different transactions available. The more you know, the money may end up in your pocket and not theirs.
Posted by Caitlyn Diamond at 7:34 AM 0 Comments