Scam Alerts

The hazards of hoteling

Booking a hotel stay for a summer vacation? Before you check in, check out how scammers try to take advantage of travelers.

The late night call from the front desk

You think you’re getting a late-night call from the front desk telling you there’s a problem with your credit card, and they need to verify the number, so you read it to them over the phone. But it’s really a scammer on the line. If a hotel really had an issue with your card, they would ask you to come to the front desk.

The pizza delivery deal Continue Reading >

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Scam Alerts

Howard County, MD launches Scam Alert!

In response to the growing number of scams confronting residents, the Howard County, MD,  Office of Consumer Affairs (OCA) has launched a new “Scam Alert!” website, where residents can learn about the latest and most common scams, how to identify them, and how to report them.

This year alone, OCA has received reports about the following: Continue Reading >

Whoa there! Watch out for cell phone ‘credit muling’

Scammers have found yet another way to exploit people who need money fast, including cash-strapped college students: Pay them to open wireless contracts that include new smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices. The scammers target people to act as “credit mules.” That’s when a scammer uses someone else's identity, personal information and credit to get something of value. In this case, it’s a wireless device. Continue Reading >

Once more into the breach: What eBay users need to know

As news about the eBay hack hits the media, you may be wondering what you can do to protect yourself from fraud. First, change your eBay password. When you create your new password, keep these tips in mind.

If you used your eBay ID or password for other accounts, change them, too. Hackers sometimes try stolen IDs and passwords on different websites to gain control of other accounts. Continue Reading >

The telltale signs of a pyramid scheme

What’s the difference between a multilevel marketing program and a pyramid scheme? Pyramid schemes are illegal.

If the money you earn is based on your sales to the public, the company may be a legitimate multilevel marketing plan. Here are some signs that the company is operating a pyramid scheme: Continue Reading >

Lights out for fake utility bill collectors

The caller sounds convincing: If you don’t pay your utility bills immediately, your gas, electricity or water will be shut off. They ask you to pay using a specific — and unusual — method.

Be warned: The call probably is a trick to steal your money.

The Federal Trade Commission, state and local consumer protection agencies, and utility companies have gotten a slew of complaints from consumers about utility bill scams. Here are a few signs you may be dealing with a scammer: Continue Reading >

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Scam Alerts

Dreams Deferred

When Langston Hughes wrote about a dream deferred (and asked whether it dries up like a raisin in the sun), he wasn’t necessarily thinking of scams. But many Spanish speakers found their immigration dreams deferred (if not ended) and their money taken by a Baltimore-based couple who promised help with immigration services. Continue Reading >

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Scam Alerts

“Pending FTC complaint” emails are fakes

Have you gotten an email with the subject line “Pending consumer complaint” that looks like it came from the FTC? The email warns that a complaint against you has been filed with the FTC. It asks you to click on a link or attachment for more information or to contact the FTC.

These emails pull out all the stops to look official: They have an FTC seal, references to the “Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA)” and a “formal investigation,” and what look like real FTC links. The truth is that they’re fakes. Continue Reading >

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Scam Alerts

Fake IRS collectors are calling

This time of year is often taxing for many consumers. Scams aimed at stealing taxpayers’ money make the season more stressful. Continue Reading >

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Scam Alerts

Mind your business (opportunity)

Many people dream about being their own boss. Controlling their own schedule, running things their way, and being in charge of their own earning potential? What’s not to love?

Chasing that dream wisely, though, means knowing the difference between a legitimate opportunity and a scam. Continue Reading >

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