Last updated: August 09. 2014 10:48AM - 1310 Views
by Michael Bush, managing editor fbush@civitasmedia.com



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Scams come in a variety of forms. The latest, according to the Better Business Bureau of Central Oklahoma, involves a caller claiming to be with a computer company.


The BBB says the caller claims to be with a well-known company and tells the intended victims that their computer is sending error messages and that tech support is detecting a virus. The scammer says only a tech support employee can remove the virus and must have access to the computer. If approved, the scammer then points out a virus and offers to remove it for a fee — then asks for credit card information. BBB president and CEO Kitt Letcher says the scammer not only gets the credit card information, but in some cases is also installing harmful viruses on the computer.


Another scam that has hit the Altus area involves someone reporting to with Publisher’s Clearing House. If someone contacts you claiming to be from PCH, and tells you that you’ve won a prize award – then asks you to send a payment or money order in order to claim the prize – STOP! You have not heard from the real Publishers Clearing House. It’s a scam. At Publishers Clearing House the winning is always free and you NEVER have to pay to claim a prize award. PCH representatives also say that if you get an email saying you’ve won - that too is a scam. You’ll know you’ve won if the prize patrol shows up at your door with a big check. In addition, PCH does not notify its winners through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or any other social media website.


So how do people get taken in these schemes? It’s usually either greed, sympathy or fear. If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. The promise of fast, easy money usually gets a lot of victims, but trying to help someone else out a jam, or the fear that there is a threat to them, a family member or to their well being gets the rest.


The list goes on and on when it comes to scams. They include Computer virus scams, Online trading scams, Banking and phishing scams, Computer hacking, Online dating scams, Employment scams, Investment scams, Upfront payment scams, Lottery and competition scams, Mobile phone scams, Flatmate scams, Holiday and travel scams, Charity scams, Health and medical scams, Small business scams, Door-to-door scams, and Social media scams. And, no stranger is every going to split thousands or millions of dollars with you, for any reason, after contacting you randomly through an email.


There are three major warning signs that should make a warning signal go off in your head. First, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is; Second, if they ask for personal information such as a social security number or bank account number. And remember, your bank will never ask for your details in an email, so never send your personal, credit card or online account details by email. Never give out your personal information to someone you don’t know or trust and treat your personal details like you would treat money. Don’t leave your details lying around for others to take; and third, if you are required to pay something for receiving a prize, it’s most likely a scam. Some scams will even send you a check for a large amount of money, then ask you to send a portion of that money to another bank. By the time you find out the check is fake and won’t clear the bank, you have now paid a scammer and are responsible for the money you deposited with a fake check, and you are out the money you sent them.


For more information about scams, how to prevent becoming a victim of one, and reporting them, visit: http://www.consumeraffairs.govt.nz/scams/scam-types

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