Who doesn’t love a good prank? April 1 isn’t a national holiday, but is widely recognized and celebrated as a day when people play jokes on each other. And, what better day to pull one off than April Fool’s Day. However, your Better Business Bureau reminds you to beware of scammers so they don’t separate you and your money.
According to The National Consumer Agency, about 61 percent of consumers say they or a family member have been targeted by a scam. Of those targeted, 28 percent replied to a scam with intent to participate. Also, 11 percent of consumers responding have given up money or information due to a scam. Almost daily, your BBB receives phone calls from people saying they’ve won money or received a check from a contest they’ve never entered. April Fool’s or a scam?
Your Better Business Bureau shares a list of common scams and how to avoid them:
• Be wary of sweepstakes and lottery scams. The victim receives a letter stating he or she won a lottery or sweepstakes. The letter instructs the victim to deposit an enclosed check and then wire a portion back to the company to cover taxes or administration fees. The check turns out to be fake and victim is out the money. Remember, prizes are free.
• Watch out for deceptive sales. Scammers come to your home and lie about the extent of a problem or claim safety issues. They inflate prices for the solution to fix the problem. Find contractors you can trust by checking companies out with your BBB before you hand over any money.
• Avoid investment and work-at-home opportunities. The pitch might come in the form of an investment opportunity promising big returns or as a way to make money at home for an upfront cost. The victim is offered what sounds like a great opportunity, but it never materializes. Beware of too-good-to-be-true offers or the use of high-pressure sales tactics to get you to take immediate action.
• Be skeptical of grandparent scams. These happen when someone calls claiming to be a relative stuck in a foreign country, needs medical care or is in jail and needs money to resolve the problem. Never wire money to someone you don’t know. Ask the caller for the person’s name or other information that would be known only to a relative. If they don’t provide a number or identifying information, don’t respond to their demands.
If you have any questions about these scams, you can always get help from your BBB. Visit www.bbb.org or call (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301.