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Home / Opinion / Guest writers / Watch out! Avoid being scammed

Watch out! Avoid being scammed

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Consumer Business by Denisha Maxey

Although April Fool’s Day has passed, the scammers are still out looking to make a fool out of new victims every day! Thousands of new scams are created daily and it is hard for consumers to keep track of them all! That’s where the Houston Better Business Bureau and our BBB Scam Tracker can help. Here is a list of the top five ways consumers are being scammed. Read the list and check it twice, to avoid being scammed!
Never send money to an online business that does not have contact information, other than an email or phone number available. There are several reputable online businesses but for every reputable online business, there are hundreds of online scam businesses. NEVER send money for your purchase by using gift cards, wire transfers, or a prepaid debit card. This will leave you without  recourse to dispute the transaction through you financial institution if you never receive your product.
Do Not Click on links and attachments in unsolicited emails. This is a dangerous no-no! Links and attachments can have malware downloaded onto your computer or other electronic devices. The malware can steal all of your personal information. Your personal information can be used to steal your identity. There is a growing number consumer’s smartphones being infected with malware. Always be cautious when accessing links or opening attachments in emails, even if the email looks familiar.
Never allow yourself to be pressured into a sale. Scammers can make consumers feel as if they do not immediately act on a deal, they will lose it! Scammers are banking on the idea of consumers agreeing to make a purchase before they have thoroughly reviewed the contract or the business’s refund, return, and exchange policies. Be an informed consumer, educate yourself about your purchase and recourse if problems arise. Remember, you do not have to make an important purchasing decision quickly.
Be careful what you share on social media. We all love to share personal information about our lives, as well as information about our family and friends via social media. Not only are we sharing with the people we love, we also share with people who love to scam others! Your identity can be stolen by using information from your social media account. Your name, city you live in, email address, and your date of birth are all readily accessible through social media. This information can be used to open fraudulent accounts in your name. Protect yourself, only connect with people you know.
Stick with local businesses. There is information you can find about local businesses by visiting BBBhou.org. This can be helpful when you need a contractor, plumbing, and air conditioning servicing. Reviewing complaint details, customer reviews, and ratings information allows you to use other consumer’s experiences to aid in your decision of who you should spend your money with.
Help out your fellow consumers, and always report known scams to BBB Scam Tracker on BBBHou.org

Denisha Maxey is director of dispute resolution at Houston Better
Business Bureau

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