Each year, the Better Business Bureau compiles a list of scams that have the greatest potential impact on consumers across British Columbia. The following is a brief summary of what we predict will be the top scams to watch for and some simple tips to protect you from becoming a victim.
BBB received numerous complaints in 2010 about door-to-door salespeople who used aggressive sales tactics to bully consumers into purchases.
TIP: Don’t fall victim to high-pressure sales tactics. If you are uncomfortable with a salesperson, ask him or her to leave your home, and call the police if the person does not leave immediately.
Auto Rental Scams
Car rental companies often employ a number of tactics to increase your invoice. When it comes to auto rentals be aware of overcharges related to insurance, gas, damages and additional fees.
TIP: Before purchasing rental insurance from the auto rental company check your pre-existing coverage via your personal auto insurance, credit card coverage and home or life insurance policies.
Watch for tiny overcharges on all your receipts, bank and credit card statements. Scammers quickly make a small fortune robbing you pennies or dollars at a time.
TIP: Review your bank and credit card statements on a monthly basis and compare your statements with your purchase receipts to make sure they match.
Social Media Scams
Common elements of social media scams include offers of cash, a prize, or a gift to entice people to participate; you are asked to become a fan or follower and to invite others on your contact lists to get involved; personal information is required to participate; you are lured away from the original social media site to outside web links.
TIP: Like with most scams always be aware of unsolicited opportunities to win cash, a prize or take advantage of a too-good-to-be-true opportunity.
Watch for investments or business opportunities that appear lucrative and primarily focus on recruiting new investors or distributors, rather than selling a product or service.
TIP: Don’t get involved in any investment or business opportunity until you have researched it thoroughly and had it reviewed by your lawyer or accountant.
Charitable Disaster Scams
Scammers use fake phone numbers, websites, emails, text messages and social media accounts to lure donors into giving away money and personal information.
TIP: Do your research before donating to any organization. Whenever possible, seek out the charity you wish to donate to yourself. Always independently verify the charity’s name, address, phone number and contact information and learn as much as you can about the charity before you make a donation.
FEBRUARY 2011 SENIOR LIVING MAGAZINE VANCOUVER ISLAND
FEBRUARY 2011 SENIOR LIVING MAGAZINE VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND