Consumer Alert: Uptick in consumer scams reported

Consumer advocates are warning that scams that seek to steal money from consumers are on the rise.

The Better Business Bureau has seen an uptick in consumer scams in 2015.

The Better Business Bureau has seen an uptick in consumer scams in 2015. (2/5/16)

EDISON - Consumer advocates are warning that scams that seek to steal money from consumers are on the rise.

The Better Business Bureau warns that one such scam involves a person pretending to be a representative of the government who calls to inform their victim that they qualify for a phony grant. The agency says that fake grants were the fifth biggest scam of 2015.

“If you know anything, a grant means it’s free,” says Melissa Companick, of the BBB. “But what these people are trying to do is get you to pay either administrative or processing fees up front.”

Another type of scam that the bureau investigates involves fake technical support.

“You’re online or you’re on your computer and you may get a pop-up that says you have a virus,” says Companick.

The scammers often pose as legitimate companies that ask the victim to dial a number or click a link to get rid of the virus. However, that’s what typically installs a real virus or the phone number, in order to steal credit card numbers.

Companick warns, “Many times these scammers can get remove access to your computer if you let them.”

Another popular scam in 2015 involved fake lotteries. Experts want to remind consumers that they cannot win a lottery they didn’t enter. Never pay money to someone to collect winnings from a fake lottery.

Experts also warn about scams involving debt collectors and the IRS. The government will never collect debts over the phone. Any calls that say they are from the IRS are a scam more often than not.

A full list of the top 10 scams of 2015 can be found at the Better Business Bureau’s website.

More on this topic

Top 10 Scams

Better Business Bureau

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