Jan 2021 Hot Topics


  1. Don’t fall for a secret shopper scam! A local consumer reported to BBB Scam Tracker that she received a check to be a Secret Shopper. She was told to deposit the $2000 check, keep $500 for payment, then use the rest to purchase gift cards and send the gift card information. The check was fake, and the victim is out the money!
  2. A local consumer fell for a car wrap scam. Scammers used the address of a local business. The victim was sent a check, was told to cash it at the bank, keep part of it for payment, then take the rest of the money and deposit it to an account for the decal people to put the decal on his car. Supposedly, every two weeks, he would continue to be paid while the decal was on his car.
  3. Don’t fall for an employment scam! Several victims have reached out to BBB Scam Tracker saying they were contacted by “shipping companies” out of the local area, offering jobs as “Quality Control Inspectors.” Victims are told they will make a large sum of money to pick up packages, inspect them, and reship them. In order to get the job, the scammers ask for your personal information.
  4. A new phishing scam involves calls offering assistance with claiming unemployment benefits. The scammers usually claim to be from a federal or state labor department and ask for personal and confidential information. Just hang up.
  5. Scammers are using the confusion surrounding the second round of stimulus checks to take your money. Don’t provide personal information, upfront fees, or click on any links to fill out an “application” for the payment.
  6. Scammers are still cashing in on COVID scams. Be wary of anyone who reaches out to you in regards to getting the vaccine via a phone call, text, or email. Scammers impersonate the CDC,  in an attempt to steal your personal information.
  7. A fake notice from Amazon says that someone spent thousands of dollars using your account. In some cases, people receive what seems to be an invoice from Amazon requesting payment. The message contains a supposed fraud-hotline number. Victims are told they must send money to correct the "mistake."
  8. The New Year is a good time to check your free credit report, with one of the three major credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion. Go to www.annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228.
  9. Make a NY resolution to be a smart consumer in 2021. Update anti-virus software on your computer; change passwords; read the fine print; get everything in writing; and don’t forget to visit bbb.org to research businesses and charities.
  10. Tax season is right around the corner! Do your research before you hire a tax preparer. Find out what their service fees are upfront, avoid those who base their fee on a percentage of your refund, and never sign a blank tax form. Check out companies at bbb.org.