How to avoid getting scammed

From internet scams to unauthorized transactions, scammers are taking advantage of these trying times to mislead and deceive consumers, according to New York Attorney General Letitia James.

Consumers need to be vigilant and guard against fraud.

Below are some of the top consumer complaints and tips for avoiding these scams:

INTERNET-RELATED

These include: internet services and service providers, data privacy and security, digital media, data breaches and internet manipulation fraud.

Below are tips for avoiding some of these scams:

Do you constantly reuse the same username and password? Cybercriminals could attempt to log into online accounts using login credentials stolen from other online services. If you’re looking to protect your online accounts, HERE ARE SOME STEPS TO TAKE.
Phishing is a form of Internet fraud that aims to steal personal information such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, user IDs and passwords. These schemes can also trick the recipient into installing malware on a computer or mobile device. HERE ARE SOME TIPS TO PROTECT YOURSELF.
Online shopping scams are on the rise. Scammers create slick websites claiming to sell high-demand items. To lure you to the sites, scammers pay for advertisements on Facebook, Google, and other websites. The best way to not get scammed is to be aware of the tactics and know what to look for. HERE ARE A FEW TIPS.
If you have been impacted by a data breach. HERE ARE SOME STEPS you can take to protect your identity.

Regularly check your online accounts for unauthorized transactions and immediately contact your online service (or credit card company, if applicable) if you see anything suspicious.

OWNER / TENANT DISPUTES

These include: releases of security deposit, harassment of tenants.

Here are a few tips :

Your landlord must return your security deposit within 14 days of your departure. If your landlord takes money from the damage deposit, they must provide an itemized receipt outlining the damage and its cost. If your landlord doesn’t give you this receipt within 14 days of moving out, they must return your entire security deposit to you, whether or not there is damage. If your landlord fails to comply, you may be entitled to up to twice the amount of the security deposit.

If you are having difficulty paying your rent, please contact your social service. Check the links below:

New York residents can call 311 and inquire about rental assistance programs. More resources are available HERE.

RETAIL SALES

These include price gouging, faulty merchandise, poor customer service, pet stores and animal breeders.

If you see excessive prices for gas or other goods vital and necessary for health, safety and well-being, the authorities ask you to report it immediately. HERE’S HOW TO REPORT a price hike in your state.
Free COVID-19 test kits are available from the US government at www.covidtests.gov. The US Food and Drug Administration has warned consumers against fake COVID-19 home test kits. And HERE are tips to avoid scams related to COVID-19.

CONSUMER RELATED SERVICES

These include COVID-19 testing facilities, alarm companies, dry cleaners, restaurants, movers, personal household services.

Scammers are using telemarketing calls, text messages, social media platforms, and home visits to carry out COVID-19-related scams, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General. HERE ARE some things consumers need to know to avoid fraud.

COVID-19 testing facilities that advertise turnaround times for test results are required to accurately state how long it will take consumers to receive their test results. Any consumer who believes that a lab or other testing facility is making misleading claims about their time to get test results should report it to their state attorney general‘s office.

CAR

These include: Sales, Service, Financing, Repairs.

Beware of deceptive sales tactics when buying or leasing a car. Prices for new and used automobiles continue to climb, driven by factors such as strong demand and global shortages of semiconductors, which are an essential component of new automobiles. Do not sign any documents and never leave the dealership with a car until you have carefully reviewed all of your documents. Don’t sign a blank document that doesn’t have any numbers or words filled in.

Make sure what you sign is what the seller told you and that you are not being charged for accessories or additional products you did not request, such as warranties, tire protection and wheels and wine engraving. Ask the seller or finance manager what fees or charges you don’t understand and if they’re required by law.

If you’re shopping for a used car, be especially careful not to buy a flood-damaged vehicle. Water damage can be difficult to detect in vehicles. HERE IS SOMETHING telltale signs of flood damage.

CREDIT

These include: debt collection, credit card billing, debt settlement and relief, payday loans, credit repair, credit reporting agencies, identity theft .

Consumers facing debt collection now have additional protections under federal and state laws.

New nationwide rules passed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which came into force in 2021, limit how and when debt collectors are allowed to contact consumers. CLICK HERE to know your rights.
When shopping online, only buy from secure websites. Use familiar websites, or find and read reviews of new sites, and check that the website starts with https (not just http – the ‘s’ stands for secure) or has a padlock icon. Protect your identity and your money by following THESE RULES.
Scammers often use crisis incidents to perpetuate fraud and divert donations from intended recipients. Avoid being scammed with THOSE ADVICES.

UTILITIES

These include cordless and residential telephones, energy repairers and suppliers, cable and satellite.

Do you need help paying your electricity bills? HERE are resources for energy assistance in your state.
Scammers are using new tactics to extract money from utility company customers. HERE are the signs you need to look for.
If you’re annoyed by robocalls, you’re not alone. Federal regulators reported a 25% increase in complaints in 2021. THESE TOOLS can help you stop unwanted calls.

HOME REPAIR/UPGRADE

These include: Repair problems, misleading contractors.

Before entering into a contract, shop around for estimates, check with the Better Business Bureau, vendors and neighbors for references.

Know your rights: You have three days after signing a renovation contract to terminate it.

Comments are closed.