BBB - Scams for December

Gain By Giving

BBB Center for Ethics has a program that allows businesses and charities to connect with one another to make the community a better place. The program - called Gain by Giving - was designed to fulfill operational needs encountered by area Accredited Charities, and it gives BBB Accredited Businesses the opportunity to lend a helping hand. 

BBB Center for Ethics will act as a facilitator, bringing the Accredited Charities and Businesses with similar goals together to fulfill the requests. This not only gives the nonprofits the boost in morale they need, it also creates lasting relationships between community leaders.

Interested organizations are encouraged to visit, as that is where everything comes together; charities can list what they need, and businesses can post what they can give. 

New Study Shows Tech Scams Growing Global Problem

A report by Better Business Bureau (BBB) says it’s not a matter of if you will become a target of computer technical support scammers, but when. 

According to the FBI, U.S. consumers lost more than $21 million to the scheme in the first nine months of 2017. Thieves are using sophisticated advertising and carefully crafted sales techniques to scare consumers into buying phony fixes for their home and business computers. BBB is warning everyone to remain alert while online so they can spot these fraudsters.

The report, Pop-Ups, and Impostors: A Better Business Bureau Study of the Growing Worldwide Problem of Computer Tech Support Scams, shows people are typically are lured into the scheme by four ways – by either a pop-up ad on their computer; an unsolicited phone call from a “technician” claiming to have detected problems with the user’s computer; via ransomware attached to an email; or by Internet searches for technical support on sponsored links.

Most victims lost money through the use of credit cards or debit cards (55 percent) with checks (36 percent) as the second-most-common form of payment. More information about this report and how to avoid becoming a victim is available on

PayPal Phishing

Scammers are pushing out fake PayPal emails that use the premise of an unverified transaction to phish for customers’ personal and financial information. In the hustle and bustle of the holidays, many users are worrying whether the gifts they bought online will be delivered in time.  

An email from PayPal saying your transactions were impossible to verify or your payments were not processed will throw most people for a loop. Phishers are counting on that. They’re hoping you’re too distracted to notice that the email didn’t actually come from PayPal and that the email didn’t address you by name.  Instead, it used a generic Dear customer or words to that effect.

If you don’t recognize the email as a scam, and click on the button ostensibly taking you to the “Resolution Center”, you’ll be taken to a phishing site set up by the criminals. From there, through a series of pages, you’ll be asked to enter your PayPal login credentials, physical address, phone number, mother maiden name, date of birth, and payment card information including (name, card number, expiration date, & security code) 

Once phishers have all of this information, they are able to commit identity theft on many different levels.

Should you receive an email from PayPal and you do have an account, contact PayPal directly. Avoid clicking on any of the links within the email sent to you if you’re not sure it came from them.


Gift Receipts: Always ask for a gift receipt. This way the recipient can return or exchange a gift if it’s not just right.

Warranty Information: Inquire about the store’s return policy before purchasing. Also, be sure to pass along any information about returns, exchanges, repairs, and warranties to the person who will use the item.

Research: Read product reviews, check for Business Profiles, look at the sales flyers and ads, compare prices, look for early promotions and “flash sales.” For tips on searching online, check out BBB Digital IQ.

Mobile Security: With so many shoppers using their mobile devices to research and make purchases, it’s important to have a secure device. Be sure you're using the recently updated version of apps and operating system on the phone.   Also, actively manage your location services, Bluetooth, microphone, and camera – make sure apps use them appropriately.

Public Wi-Fi: Public Wi-Fi is vulnerable to thieves and fraudsters looking to steal your info. When in stores or restaurants, avoid using banking or other apps that access sensitive personal information.

Email Phishing: With all the promotional emails received during the holidays, scammers will be out in full force. It’s best not to click on links from senders you don’t recognize. You can also hover your mouse over links without clicking to see if the address is really taking you to where it says it is. Also, check the reply email address. The address should be on a company domain. Watch for look-alike domains.

Interest-Based Advertising: As you browse the web or use your favorite store’s app, you might notice ads personalized to you, sometimes based on your previous web searches. This is called Interest-Based Advertising, which is often signaled by Ad Choices in the corners of ads. If you want to opt out of receiving this type of advertising, download the AppChoices app or visit

Back up Your Data: Have an online backup option in case your device is attacked by hackers. You do not want to lose all your family’s information and memories.

Look Out for Scams:  If you suspect a scam, check out BBB Scam Tips to learn more ( or report scams to BBB Scam Tracker (

Charity Disclosure: Check out to find BBB Accredited Charities that have fully disclosed information to BBB Wise Giving Alliance. Although participation is voluntary, you may want to be cautious of charities that don’t disclose requested information to BBB.

What’s In a Name: Be on the lookout for name similarities. Dubious charities often pick a name that sounds like a more famous charity.  Before you give, be sure you have the exact name of the charity you want to support. Learn more about charitable giving at 

Brian Thomas

Brian Thomas

Based in Cincinnati, OH, the Brian Thomas Morning Show covers news and politics, both local and national, from a conservative point of view. Read more


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