TIP NUMBER ONE
WA RESTAURANTS: Phony Health Inspectors Target Restaurants
Thanks to WA Attorney General’s Office for Warning
SEATTLE, June 25, 2010 – Scammers posing as health inspectors are calling restaurant operators.
Restaurants in Washington State, as well as across the nation and Canada, have been targets of the scam, which apparently involves a series of phone calls. The first caller tells the restaurant that it will receive an automated call providing a numeric confirmation code. A second caller, claiming to be a health inspector, requests the code and seeks to set up an in-person restaurant inspection. The caller threatens fines if the restaurant doesn't cooperate.
FULL STORY HERE: http://spokane.bbb.org/article/wa-ag-warns-phony-health-inspectors-target-restaurants-20482
TIP NUMBER TWO
RANDOM BUY.COM INVOICE/CONFIRMATION SCAM EMAILS BEING SENT MAY CONTAIN TROJAN HORSE VIRUS IF YOU CLICK ON LINKS PROVIDED
Phishing Email Redirects Pages to Unknown Places, Uses Return Email
Have you received this questionable email invoice from buy.com when you haven’t even purchased something from them? Consider it to be a huge red flag, and don’t respond or click on links in these invoice emails. You may get a virus!
Here is the gist of the email:
Thanks for your order XXXXXXXXX (email here removed by BBB for privacy),
Want to manage your order online?
If you want to check the status of your order or make changes, please visit our homepage at buy.com and click on the My Account link at the top of any page.
Once again, thank you for placing your order with Buy.com. We value your business and pledge to continue to offer top brands, superstore selection, low prices, and outstanding service. Anything. Anytime. Anywhere.
We appreciate your business,
CEO and President
TIP NUMBER THREE
BUSINESSES: DIRECTORY ADVERTISING GROUP FAMILIAR TO BBB TARGETS ELLENSBURG, WA CHAMBER MEMBERS
Varsity Publications of IL Has BBB’s Lowest Rating
Thanks to the Ellensburg Chamber for this Warning
Last week, the E’burg Chamber issued this warning to its members:
The Ellensburg Chamber of Commerce has been informed that there is a business calling themselves "VARSITY PUBLICATIONS" that claims to be selling ad space for an Ellensburg HS 2010 Boys Football Poster (Aug-Dec) to local businesses.
They say they are doing this for the "Bulldog Football Team." When asked, they couldn't say where they distributed the posters, just said they send out thousands of them. They add a disclaimer that "All posters are strictly intended as a direct advertising vehicle for businesses, and are not to be construed as a fundraiser of any kind."
Beware - many of our local business have been caught by this before, thinking they are advertising with Columbia Sports (which is under legitimate contract with EHS), that does the posters we see around town.
BBB BUSINESS REVIEW
TIP NUMBER FOUR
SHIELD PROTECTION aka SECURITY ONE, INTERNATIONAL of UT Going Door to Door in NW MT
Company Has BBB’s Lowest Rating
Shield Protection aka Security One International
727 N. 1550 E. Ste 375, Orem, UT 84097
A security alarm company with the BBB’s lowest rating was going door-to-door in the Great Falls area last week, and BBB wishes to alert people that through the days of summer, many door-to-door sales people, good and not so good, may knock. Best knowledge to have is the knowledge you arm yourself with. Do research before saying YES to any door-to-door sales person this summer, and CHECK 1ST WITH BBB: www.bbb.org
We received a call from a Great Falls, MT, resident last week reporting that there was a security alarm company in her area attempting to sell her a home security system. They were offering “free equipment” worth approximately $2,000 if you then accept monitoring services for a monthly fee. She says the salesmen are wearing photo ID badges.
BBB BUSINESS REVIEW
The BBB complaint history for this company shows that the company responded to and gave proper consideration to most complaints. However, one or more complaints are unresolved meaning the company failed to properly address the complaint allegations or their response was inadequate.
TIP NUMBER FIVE
DO HOMEWORK BEFORE BUYING MEAT FROM DOOR-TO-DOOR OR “TRUCK TO YOU” SALESPEOPLE
When considering buying meat from a door-to-door salesman, BBB recommends consumers:
•Do the research. Ask the sales representative for written material about the company and let them know you are going to research them before making a purchase.
•Check the company’s Reliability Report with your BBB.
•Many communities have licensing and permit requirements for selling door-to-door; confirm with your city or county government that the seller is in line with the law.
•Don’t fall for empty promises. The seller might claim to offer a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee, but many complainants had no way to contact the seller if they were dissatisfied. Request the guarantee in writing, and know how to follow up with the company to have the guarantee fulfilled.
•Never pay with cash. When paying by check or credit card you have at least some way to protect your money—such as canceling the check or reporting it as fraud to your credit card company.
•Know your rights. If you decide to make a purchase, ask for a dated cancellation form and a dated receipt. In some states, you have three days to cancel certain purchases such as door-to-door sales even after you sign a contract and pay. To cancel your order, you should notify the company in writing by midnight on the third business day following the purchase. Saturday is considered a business day.
•Report the bad guys. If you feel that you were ripped off by a door-to-door salesperson, file a complaint with BBB. If you feel threatened, immediately call your local police department.
Consumers with questions about purchasing meat can contact the USDA'S Meat and Poultry Hotline at 888-674-6854.
RECENT MONTANA ORDER
Goldman, Sachs, LLC Pays $75,000 fine to Montana
Helena, MT- Commissioner of Securities and Insurance, Monica J. Lindeen, announced settlement with Goldman, Sachs Inc. Under the agreement, Goldman Sachs has agreed to immediately repurchase from Montana investors the $25,650,000 in auction rate securities it sold before the market for the securities froze in February 2008. Goldman Sachs will also pay a $75,000 fine that will be deposited to the state's general fund.
The settlement resolves a multi-state investigation into allegations that Goldman Sachs misled investors regarding the liquidity risks associated with auction rate securities (ARS) that they underwrote, marketed and sold. According to complaints received from investors throughout Montana, Goldman Sachs misrepresented to customers that ARS were safe, highly liquid investments that were comparable to money markets. In late 2007 and early 2008, investors alleged Goldman Sachs knew that the ARS market was deteriorating and began purchasing additional inventory to prevent failed auctions.
Auction-rate securities are preferred shares or debt instruments such as corporate or municipal bonds. They have a long-term maturity and are sold at monthly or weekly auctions, and until recently were treated by many investors as cash investments. However, the auction-rate security market collapsed, bringing auctions to a halt and leaving investors illiquid investments.
Contact the Commissioner of Securities and Insurance of the Montana State Auditor's Office toll free at 1-800-332-6148 or online at www.csi.mt.gov.
UPCOMING Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Webinar
Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act Webinar
Date of Webinar: July 8, 2010
This FREE webinar is for:
• Tax professionals
• Payroll professionals
• Industry partners
• Small businesses
* The HIRE Act payroll tax exemption and retention income tax credit for employers who hire previously unemployed workers.
* Who qualifies as an eligible individual for each benefit.
* What businesses may claim each benefit.
* How business can claim those HIRE benefits.
Earn Continuing Professional Education credit:
• Enrolled agents receive one CPE credit for participating for a minimum of 50 minutes from the start of the webinar. Other tax professionals may receive credit if the webinar meets your organization’s or state’s CPE requirements.
• To receive credit, you must attend the event offered on July 8, 2010. You must also register for the webinar using your e-mail address, and use the same e-mail address to log in to attend. This will confirm your attendance and generate your Certificate of Completion. Groups will not receive individual certificates as attendance can not be verified.
• *Only July 8, 2010 participants will receive certificates. If you do not need a certificate to obtain CPE credit, you may choose to view the archived version of the webinar after
July 8, 2010.
• Look for your Certificate of Completion by e-mail approximately one week after the webinar. If you have met all requirements, you will receive your certificate automatically.
Register online at: http://www.visualwebcaster.com/IRS/69705/reg.asp?id=69705
Millions of Student Loan Borrowers' Personal Info Compromised
The personal information of 3.3 million people who took out student loans was accessed by a burglar last week, according to KOMO News.
The suspect, who is now under arrest, got his hands on the names, birthdates and social security numbers of people who took out student loans through the government.
The suspect obtained the info from breaking into a nonprofit company called ECMC in Minnesota and stealing a safe full of computer backup disks with sensitive information.
You can read more here: http://www.komonews.com/news/consumer/97037514.html
FBI Releases Information on the Latest Telephone Scam: “Telephone Denial of Service” Scam
Telephone scams have been around for decades but scammers are still finding new twists to trick consumers. On Monday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released information on the latest phone scheme targeting consumers.
The “telephone denial-of-service” scam ends with the consumer receiving an exorbitant amount of phone calls ranging from recorded messages to dead air. What consumers don’t know is that while they are receiving the phone calls, scammers are hard at work.
Scammers find out the victim’s personal information months before they set up these phone calls. They find out account numbers and passwords and then use the phone calls to divert the victim’s attention and prevent any other phone calls from coming in. While the phone lines are busy, the scammer either drains the victim’s bank account through fraudulent transactions or they pretend to actually be the victim using the account information they previously collected. One of two things will happen. The first outcome is the bank will try to contact the victim, but will receive a busy signal and continue with the transaction. The second outcome is the bank will not make the transaction, but the scammer will either try again later or add an additional phone line to the victim’s account so the bank will call them.
Read more: http://spokane.bbb.org/article/fbi-warns-fraudulent-telephone-calls-allowing-fraudsters-access-to-consumer-financial-and-brokerage-accounts-20315
FREE GIFT VOUCHER FROM PROTECTION JUNCTION of OR? DON'T TAKE THE BAIT
ID Theft & Legal Protection Firm Uses Deceptive Trial Offer to Get New Program Participants
Thanks to WWA BBB for this Warning!
Protection Junction, an OR company that offers identity theft and legal protection services, has a recent pattern of Better Business Bureau complaints pertaining to its trial membership solicitations.
Protection Junction first came on BBB's radar at the end of April 2010. Since then, BBB has received 1,100 inquiries and processed 47 complaints on the company; in less than 2 months, additional pending complaints have been reported.
Consumers say they've received text messages from Protection Junction offering free gift vouchers for Walmart or Target. To claim the vouchers, consumers are instructed to contact the company by phone or sign up online. Those who want the gift must sign up for "free" 10-day trials of the company's identity theft protection and legal protection programs and pay shipping or processing fees for the vouchers.
FULL RELEASE HERE
Mercer Health and Benefits, LLC Sends Data Breach Letters
On June 22, 2010 it came to the BBB’s attention that data from this firm was compromised in April 2010. The data included name, address, driver’s license number, date of birth and Social Security number. The company has notified the people affected via letter offering any assistance needed to resolve problems that might arise.
FULL STORY HEREhttp://spokane.bbb.org/article/mercer-health-and-benefits-llc-sends-data-breach-letters-20363