BBB Scams - June

Exiting a Timeshare? Research Your Resources.

Hundreds of timeshare owners – from at least 46 states – have lost thousands of dollars each to timeshare exit businesses.

Since Jan. 1, 2016, timeshare owners from across the nation, including 12 from Kentucky, 10 from Indiana and 14 from Ohio were part of the more than 700 total complaints with BBB against Missouri timeshare relief companies, reporting millions of dollars in losses.

The investigative study – “Timeshare Exit Trap” – highlights several cases in which timeshare owners paid exit businesses anywhere from $1,000 to $30,000 after the businesses assured them they could get them out of their timeshare contracts. Several consumers said the exit companies turned their cases over to law firms or others that also failed to help them.

The report concludes that seniors and timeshare owners on fixed incomes “are falling victim to timeshare exit companies at an alarming rate. Many of these companies either do not have the expertise or the ethics to follow through with promises to extricate their clients from the often burdensome lifetime timeshare contracts.”

If you believe you’re a victim of a timeshare exit company:

  • Complain to the company directly.
  • File a complaint with BBB.
  • File a complaint with the FTC online or by calling 877-FTC-HELP.
  • Contact the attorney general’s office of the state where you live, and the attorney general’s office in the state where the business is located.
  • File a complaint with your local U.S. Postal Inspection Service office online.

Read more about the report on bbb.org

Airfare Con Bills Victims for Canceled Tickets

Taking a vacation this summer? If you book your airfare through a third-party website, be sure to use caution. BBB Scam Tracker is receiving reports of scammers pretending to be online airline ticket brokers. They cancel your airline ticket reservations, but not before charging you.

While doing an online search to find the cheapest flight to your destination, you come across a website that has a great deal. You haven’t heard of the company before, but the website looks legitimate and everything seems to be in order. When you begin the payment process, however, red flags start to appear.

After paying with a credit card like normal and receiving a call from the company asking you to verify your name, address, banking information or other personal details – something a legitimate company would never do, the reservation is mysteriously canceled!

It appears the scammers booked the flight and charged your card – only to cancel it shortly after and make off with your money.

Instead, do your research. If you come across a company you haven’t dealt with before, research it before making any purchases. Look on org for reviews and feedback from previous customers.

Don’t cave under pressure to make a payment or give up your personal details, claiming you’ll lose out on a great deal or have to pay extra fees. If something doesn’t feel right, hang up and contact your credit card company.

Do only make purchases with your credit card. If a company asks you to pay with a pre-paid debit card or to wire funds, don’t do it. These are not standard payment methods and, if you go through with them, there will be no way to get your money back. Credit card charges, on the other hand, can be contested.

Always report a suspected scam to scamtracker.org and if you’re a victim, contact law enforcement authorities immediately.

Sticking with a travel theme. . .Juice Jacking is NOT The Latest Health Trend

How many times have you realized your smartphone or tablet is circling the OMG MY DEVICE IS ALMOST DEAD drain? Quick! Find a USB port to charge just long enough to post something on Facebook or send a text or a Tweet stating your device is almost dead. Then, after quickly clicking ‘OK’ to Trust This Device, only then have you’ve been Juice Jacked and all of your personal data is being sucked into the cyberlands of a hacker or worse . . .

Criminals secretly and randomly modify the USB ports to install malware on your phone when you use a public USB port - kind of like skimming at the gas pump when sliding your credit card through to pay for the gas just pumped. The only difference is, the hacker can steal a wide range of data, including your texts, emails, photos, and contacts, banking info - you get the idea. It’s hard to ID what port has been jacked, however, IT experts say if you see a charging cord that looks like it’s been forgotten or left behind, that’s one indicator, move along. Otherwise, they’re pretty difficult to spot.

Instead, consider investing in a personal portable battery, being mindful of keeping your electronic device fully charged or finding ways to conserve said charge and just avoiding the need to use any type of public charging facility. Should find yourself ‘jacked’, report it to the Federal Trade Commission and work with your device provider in debugging it immediately.

Business, Charities - There is Still Time to Get YOUR Torch App In!

We believe in celebrating the best in our community’s businesses and nonprofits. It just makes our area a great place to live, work and play as well as one where we can place trust in one another. The Torch Award application asks leaders to consider ethical crises and choices that have played important parts in their organization’s story. Those qualities are then measured before a third-party of judges.

This is a pinnacle moment for an exemplary business or nonprofit, an occasion to rise above and celebrate their ethics in the marketplace. Torch Award winners are driven by a passion for their work, their employees, their customers, community and principals. Apply today. Deadline is July 31 on torchapp.org.

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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