At the Better Business Bureau, we are amazed at how often the same scams recirculate and how often people still fall victim to them,. I developed a quiz you could take to test your scam knowledge and how prepared you are to ward off the bad guys!
1. You get a call from Publishers Clearing House telling you you’ve won $60 million! To claim your prize, you must pay the fees and taxes first. You should:
A. Immediately send money to ensure you get your prize.
B. Tell them you can make the payment when they deliver your check.
C. End the phone call.
The answer is C. Never send money to collect a prize, sweepstakes check or lottery winnings. If you have to pay, it’s a scam.
2. You get a call from Microsoft IT department saying they have detected a problem with Windows on your computer. They need your permission to access your computer. You should:
A. Follow the rep’s instructions and allow him to access your computer.
B. Hang up the phone.
C. Call your son who knows more about computers than you do to see if he can fix it.
The correct answer is B. No legitimate tech support agent will contact you unsolicited and especially not by phone.
3. You receive a desperate phone call from a grandchild saying they are traveling abroad and have gotten into trouble with the law. They ask you to send money to post bail. You should:
A. Immediately send payment to make sure your grandchild is released.
B. Tell the caller it will take you a while to get the funds and ask where you can call them back.
C. Hang up.
The answer is C. Never, ever send money to anyone without verifying the location of your grandchild first.
4. You get a recorded message from the IRS saying you have failed to pay back taxes and an arrest warrant has been issued. You will be charged with criminal fraud if you don’t pay immediately. You should:
A. Follow the caller’s instructions to make payment.
B. Hang up.
The correct answer is B. The IRS does not make telephone calls or send emails demanding payment as their first form of contact, threaten you with tax fraud or issue a warrant for your arrest.
5. A man knocks at your door and says he noticed your asphalt driveway needs re-coating. Luckily, he just re-coated a driveway around the corner and has enough sealer left over to do your drive. You should:
A. Ask them how long it would take and how much it will cost.
B. Tell them no thank you and end the conversation.
C. Negotiate a better price.
The answer is B. Almost invariably, these people perform low-quality work, with inferior materials. They demand payment in advance and leave your job incomplete, if they do anything at all.
6. You advertise your car for sale on Craigslist. A buyer comes, loves the car and you agree to a price. He mistakenly writes you a check for a higher amount. It’s his last check, and he asks you to write him a check for the difference. You should:
A. Just write a check for the difference and give it to him.
B. Don’t accept the check.
The answer is B. Protect yourself by refusing to transfer title of the car until the check clears the bank or accept cash only.
How well did you do? It’s important to stay up to date on scammer tactics, so stay tuned to this column for the latest scoop on what’s new on the scam front!
Cheryl Parson is president of the Better Business bureau serving West Central Ohio. The BBB may be found on the Internet at www.lima.bbb.org.