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“Largest Ever” Phone Fraud Scam Targeting Taxpayers
Two Local Businesses Lose Accreditation
At its February 14th meeting, ...
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BBB Serving Greater Cleveland - Market Monitor, April 2014

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Better Business Bureau Serving Greater Cleveland's Market Monitor Newsletter for April 2014. Articles include: Introducing BBB FLASH Webinars, BBBASAP: Real-Time Leads from Motivated Customers, Don't Get Turned Off By Tech Scams (Article about Netflix, Verizon, Microsoft Scams), On Our Radar (About Mobile Billboard and Car Wrap Scams), "Largest Ever" Phone Fraud Scam Targeting Taxpayers, Two Businesses Lose Accreditation (Expert Insurance Restoration, Lakewood Upholstery), and We Welcome Two New Directors to Our Board, Robert B. Schwartz of R.B. Schwarz, Inc, and Ronald Rafal of Stellar Benefits Group, LLC.

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Transcript of "BBB Serving Greater Cleveland - Market Monitor, April 2014"

  1. 1. MarketMonitor the ® News for Better Business Bureau Accredited Businesses 301,765 2,008 1,884,172 335,788 80 Your BBB Accreditation now offers you and your employees another way to grow. Tune in to the new BBB FLASH Webinars – on-point, fast-paced online presentations on topics that matter and that take your busy schedule into consideration. These free 25-30 minute webinars get straight to the point, cover the important details, and allow for a quick Q & A period. Topics will range from Customer Service to Information Technology and everything in between. It all starts on April 30th with “The 5 Ways to Delight your Customers” and continues with a 3-part Labor Law Series, “Three Strikes and You’re Out: Fielding your Dream Team,” including: “The Keys to Legal and Effective Interviewing,” “When Good Employees Turn Bad – Termination Tips,” and “The Pros and Cons of Social Media.” Watch your e-mail for details! Grab your computer and let your BBB help you advance your business while you enjoy your morning coffee. Just register and log on. Webinars will be recorded and archived along with downloadable materials for your continued use. Are you interested in presenting a BBB Flash Webinar? Contact Brigid at 216- 623-8964 x206 or brigid@cleveland.bbb.org. BBB Serving Greater Cleveland April 2014 INSIDE: Don’t Get Turned Off By Tech Scams On Our Radar “Largest Ever” Phone Fraud Businesses Lose Accreditation New Directors◊ ◊ ◊ Introducing BBB FLASH Webinars BBBASAP: Real-Time Leads from Motivated Customers BBB’s cutting edge lead generation program for BBB Accredited Businesses is ready for spring! The rebranded BBBASAP (formerly ABConnect) uses a geolocating application that puts you in contact with local customers in just seconds. By identifying the consumer’s location and needs, this program brings customers directly to you through the app -- right to your smart phone. BBBASAP now offers a simpler registration process using your BBB Business ID to autofill important information. The new BBBASAP smartphone app is even easier to use and allows you to see where the consumer is located. You can register three smartphones, and it’s easy to manage the requests. Consumers also benefit from the upgrades. They can see all businesses that respond to a request – which means you have an opportunity to make an impression on the consumer even if you are not the first to respond. Consumers can also link to your BBB Business Review. BBBASAP is not only used for the “quick fix” categories such as plumbers and tree trimmers, but also for less immediate categories to satisfy today’s desire for instant gratification. If you provide a service that is not on the BBBASAP list, let us know and we’ll add it. Free leads from customers who are ready to buy -- it’s a “no-brainer.” Take advantage of this free program by visiting BBBASAP.com and registering today. For more information on BBBASAP or other member benefit programs, contact Brigid at 216-623-8964 x206 or brigid@cleveland. bbb.org. Service to the Community Greater Cleveland BBB Activity Report From January - March 2014 Reports issued on companies/charities.................. Customer complaints filed.............. Online Accredited Business Directory listings viewed......................... www.cleveland.bbb.org visits....... Advertising review cases initiated......... The Short List The Consumer Sentinel Network (CSN) is a compilation of consumer complaints received by the Federal Trade Commission, Attorneys General, BBB and other agencies. The following is from the CSN 2013 report: Number of complaints received by CSN: 2 Million Number of fraud complaints filed by Ohioans: 50,765 Average Loss of Fraud Victims: $2253 Most likely form of fraudulent contact: Telephone (40%) Age group most victimized by fraud: 50-59 Age Group Most Victimized by ID theft: 20-29 Number of ID theft complaints filed by Ohioans: 7,502 National ranking of Cleveland in total fraud complaints filed: 43rd National ranking of Cleveland in total ID theft complaints filed: 67th
  2. 2. Follow Us On: and Tire Centers Vodafone 11:45 Monday Clock Stock Weather Music Camera Phone E-Mail Adress Safari Calendar iTunes iBooks News pm Mark Your Calendar What : BBB Shredding Event When: June 14th 10:00am-2:00pm Where: RadAir Complete Car Care 27051 Detroit Rd, Westlake 6221 SOM Center Rd, Solon April 2014 Three recent scams that capitalize on well known brands can allow scammers to gain access to your computer under the guise of offering tech support. Netflix Scam - Be wary when logging into Netflix since a highly dangerous phishing scam has been circulating. Initial reports indicated the scam first circulated through e-mails or pop-up windows. You are led to log-in to a dummy Netflix page and then redirected to a site that reads “Important Notice: We have detected unusual activity on this account. To Protect (sic) your account from unauthorized use, we have temporarily suspended this username.” The site goes on to provide an error code and tech support number to call. The number isn’t actually Netflix’s true tech support number (their number is actually 1-800- 585-7265 and can be verified on Netflix.com). When you call, you are asked to download software which allows the phony Netflix tech support to access your computer and all of the documents contained within including passwords, private banking information, and more. The scammer will also ask for payment by credit card for the “repairs”. Microsoft Scam - A caller claims your computer is sending error messages that indicate the computer has a dangerous virus. You are asked to go to a directory on your computer and view an activity log. The caller will falsely claim the log shows the presence of a virus and offer to fix it for you for a fee. As in the Netflix scam, the “tech” asks you to download software which allows the scammer to access the content of your computer. Verizon Scam - You receive a recorded message from Verizon Wireless “Technical Support” that claims you are eligible to receive a voucher for your account. You need to visit a website to claim it. The web address given contains “Verizon” and the value of the voucher. One recent version of the scam used “verizon54.com,” but watch for variations. The website uses Verizon Wireless colors, graphics and navigation. It prompts you to “Verify My Account” by entering your cellphone number, Verizon ID and password and the last four digits of your Social Security number. Enter your info, and you won’t receive a voucher. You will, however, open yourself up to the risk of identity theft. BBB advises: • Microsoft will never call you to alert you to viruses on your computer. • Never allow a stranger to have access to your computer. • Always keep your computer’s antivirus software up to date. • Scammers frequently use familiar brands (Netflix, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, etc) in e-mails and calls to gain your trust. • Do not rely on links provided in e-mails, pop-ups, or social media postings to log onto websites. Enter the URL manually. On Our Radar - Car Wrap Advertising Scams In recent weeks, BBB has received calls from consumers who are being solicited to make extra money by turning their vehicles into mobile billboards. Internet ads or unsolicited e-mails claim to represent popular energy drink companies such as Rockstar, Powerade and Monster Energy. The scammers typically offer to pay you $300 - $600 per week if you agree to have your vehicle wrapped with a vinyl advertisement for the beverage. They pay you with a check for much more than your weekly pay. Consumers report receiving checks in amounts varying from $1,890 - $2,850. You are instructed to deposit the check, withdraw your weekly pay, and wire the balance to the graphic artist who will create the vinyl car wrap. Scammers take advantage of our misconception that a check is real if the bank makes the funds available to you for withdrawal. In reality, it takes only a few days for your bank to make the money available to you, but it can take weeks for your bank to determine that a check is a fake. Make no mistake - the checks from the car wrap scammers are counterfeit and you will have to repay the bank for any funds you withdraw. Don’t Get Turned Off By Tech Support Scams Pre-Employment Background Reports - Instant online criminal checks for under $10 each. Other reports also discounted. Monthly fee waived (save $120 a year!), $100 enrollment fee waived. Call IntelliCorp at (800) 539-3717. Document Shredding - All Ohio Secure Shred will shred documents on site for $25/month for one container. Also, one-time bulk purge for 10 cents/lb. $50 minimum. Call (330) 659-0840 or (888) 747-3394. Phone Service - Easton Telecom - Rates ranging from 2.5¢ - 3.5¢/minute for long distance calls, toll- free lines as low as 1.79¢/ minute. 5% discount off most retail services. Contact Jim Butler at (800) 222-8122. Payroll Service - Heartland Payroll Co. - Savings of as much as 50% on payroll fees. Call Brian Nelson at (440) 371-5245. Some member discount programs generate revenue which BBB reinvests into the organization’s operations. B2B Discounts for BBB Accredited Businesses
  3. 3. “Largest Ever” Phone Fraud Scam Targeting Taxpayers Two Local Businesses Lose Accreditation At its February 14th meeting, the Accreditation Committee of the BBB Board of Directors voted to revoke the BBB accreditation of the following businesses: Expert Insurance Restoration Inc. of North Ridgeville (formerly of North Ridgeville - current location unknown) failed to respond to five consumer complaints. Three complainants indicated homeowners had given the business insurance checks for storm damage repairs that ranged from $3,000 - $7,000. According to the homeowners, the business never returned to begin repairs. The two other complaints concerned a failure to provide a promised refund and accepting downpayment for gutter and downspout work that was not done. Lakewood Upholstery did not maintain required licensing from the Ohio Department of Commerce, Division of Industrial Compliance Bedding. The license expired on August 31, 2013. BBB Welcomes New Directors! Robert B. Schwarz is President of R. B. Schwarz, Inc., a residential remodeling contracting company in business over 25 years. Has has won several PRO Remodeler of the Year awards and is a NARI Board Member. Robert enjoys community outreach projects, camping, and hiking. Ronald Rafal is a parter at the Stellar Benefits Group, LLC. Stellar Benefits manages employer group benefits for insurance. Ron has served on the Boards of Medical Mutual of Ohio and the former Meridian Hospital. He is a past chairman of Junior Achievement of Greater Cleveland and enjoys golfing. The Treasury Inspector General for Taxpayer Administration (TIGTA), J. Russell George, issued a warning in March to taxpayers to beware of phone calls from individuals claiming to represent the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in an effort to defraud them. George called this the “...largest scam of its kind that we have ever seen.” Thousands of victims have collectively paid over $1 million as a result of the scam, in which individuals make unsolicited calls to taxpayers fraudulently claiming to be IRS officials. Callers claiming to be from the IRS tell intended victims they owe taxes and must pay using a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer. The scammers threaten those who refuse to pay with arrest, deportation, or loss of a business or driver’s license. The truth is the IRS usually first contacts people by mail – not by phone – about unpaid taxes. And the IRS won’t ask for payment using a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer. The IRS also won’t ask for a credit card number over the phone. The callers who commit this fraud often: • Use common names and fake IRS badge numbers. • Know the last four digits of the victim’s Social Security Number. • Make caller ID information appear as if the IRS is calling. • Send bogus IRS e-mails to support their scam. • Call a second time claiming to be the police or department of motor vehicles, and the caller ID again supports their claim. If you get a call from someone claiming to be with the IRS asking for a payment, here’s what to do: • If you owe Federal taxes, or think you might owe taxes, hang up and call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you with your payment questions. If you don’t owe taxes, call and report the incident to TIGTA at 800-366-4484 or FTC at FTC.gov. • Also be alert for phone and e-mail scams that use the IRS name. The IRS will never request personal or financial information by e-mail, texting or any social media. You should forward scam e-mails to phishing@irs.gov. Don’t open any attachments or click on any links in those e-mails. ® Sign Up For Free BBB Scam Alerts! Text SCAM to 24587 There is no fee to sign up for BBB Scam Alerts, but your carrier’s text messaging rates do apply.
  4. 4. The Market Monitor Better Business Bureau 2800 Euclid Ave., 4th Fl. Cleveland, OH 44115-2408 The Market Monitor (ISSN 1085-5122). April 2014. Volume 9 No. 2. Published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October and December by the Better Business Bureau, Inc. 2800 Euclid Ave., 4th Floor, Cleveland, OH 44115-2408, Periodicals postage paid at Cleveland, OH. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: The Market Monitor, 2800 Euclid Ave., 4th Fl, Cleveland, OH 44115-2408. Periodicals Postage Paid April 2014 BBB Thanks Booth Sponsors! “Thank you” to the following sponsors of our booth at the recent Home + Remodeling Expo, March 14 - 16th at Cleveland Convention Center!

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