CLEVELAND - The Cleveland Better Business Bureau is urging consumers to check on their accounts more often in 2014, especially after the Target data breach, which may have compromised up to 40 million accounts in Dec. and Nov. of 2013.
“If 2014 is like past years ,” said David Weiss, BBB President and CEO, “scammers will continue to find new ways to part us from our cash and trick us into providing sensitive personal information. Consumers can combat fraud by recognizing the red flags and protecting private records.”
In response to a growing number of fraud cases, the Cleveland BBB issued the following list of resolutions that will hopefully help consumers have a safe, scam-free 2014:
1. Be skeptical of “job offers” that promise easy money. With high unemployment and long job searches common, scammers are targeting people desperate to find jobs. Beware of any job offer, work-at-home scheme or business opportunity that promises big money for little work and no experience.
2. Always read the fine print—especially with “free” trial offers. Thousands of consumers complained to BBB this year after signing up for a “free” trial offer online that resulted in repeated charges to their credit or debit cards, sometimes amounting to hundreds of dollars every month. Read the terms and conditions of any “free” trial offer before handing over credit or debit card numbers.
3. Keep your computer safe. If you haven’t already done so, install anti-virus software on your computer and check regularly for software and operating system updates and patches. Don’t open attachments or click on links in emails unless you can confirm the email came from someone you trust.
4. Never wire money to someone you don’t know. Many scams require that the victim wire money back to the scammers. Scammers know that tracking money sent via MoneyGram or Western Union is extremely difficult. Once you’ve wired the money, it’s nearly impossible to get it back. Requiring payment by Green Dot MoneyPak cards is also a red flag.
5. Fight identity theft. Shred paper documents that include sensitive financial data and dispose of computers, cell phones and digital data safely. BBB offers tips and checklists on what to shred, and hosts two local Secure Your ID events to help you stay safe.
The BBB invites consumers to check a business out using its online data base before they buy. Visit cleveland.bbb.org to find BBB business reviews for nearly 4 million businesses across North America. BBB business reviews contain grade ratings, customer reviews and complaint detail.
BBB Business Reviews offer verified information on companies and charities, and they’re available by calling 216-241-7678 during business hours.