The Top 10 Ways to Avoid Scams – by the BBB of Northwest Ohio

The Top Ten Ways to Avoid Scams by Dick Eppstein

I do many speeches to seniors, Blockwatch and church groups, all sorts of consumer organizations. I tell them about all the current scams and offer them general advice on how to protect themselves. Here are a few of my tips:

  1. Hang up on robocalls. Recorded messages from IRS, “The Treasury,” Rachel with a great credit card deal or any robocall is bad news. Don’t believe anything they say. Just hang up!
  2. Don’t “press 2” to take your number off their list. That’s another scam. Pressing any number tells them the line is active and just gets you more calls!
  3. Don’t believe “caller ID.” The crooks can fake any number, including your own! Caller ID may say the caller is local when he is actually in India!
  4. Don’t let them scare you. If they say you are in trouble or they are coming to arrest you, just hang up.
  5. President Reagan had it right: Doveryai, no proveryai. “Trust but Verify.” Any “emergency” phone call from a family member (especially grandchild) who is in trouble in a distant country, needs money and begs you, “Don’t call Mom and Dad” is a scam! Don’t send money without verifying the story.
  6. Crooks use social media too. If the caller claims to be a family member and knows all about his brothers and sisters and recent family events, you will be sure he is your grandson. But young people put all that information on Facebook or other social media, and the crooks use it to fool you. Ask him a trick question that only your grandson would know. Get his phone number to call him back, then call the family and verify. His story may be convincing, but he probably got the family information off Facebook!
  7. Banks don’t call to verify your account numbers. Neither do credit cards. They may verify that you are traveling or charged an unusual item, but they never ask you to give your numbers. They already have them.
  8. Stop before you click on any email! The message may look legitimate and just ask you to click on the link, but it may have a virus or even “ransomware” to lock up your computer! In connection with this…
  9. Have a good backup on your computer. If infected, your computer could lose everything! Have it backed up, preferably “off site.”
  10. Call BBB first before you hire a company! Get their BBB grade. It can save you time, money and frustration because you will hire a good company!

Dick Eppstein
BBB of Northwest OhioServing all of NW Ohio and SE Michigan