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Don’t Get Hung Up by Phony Microsoft Callers

Logo for ColesBBB serving Central Indiana, a Coles client, is urging consumers to hang up the phone if they get a call from someone claiming to be from Microsoft.


In this scam, the “Microsoft caller” randomly calls consumers and tells them their computer has a virus or needs updates. The consumer goes to their computer and starts following the instructions given. Then, the caller either asks for your credit card information so the consumer can “pay” for the needed software, or the caller says they will “fix” your computer if you follow these instructions.


Hang up on scammers

First, don’t give the caller your credit card number for this service because you will probably never receive it. Second, don’t follow their instructions. They could be putting malicious software on your computer or gaining access to your computer.


“This type of scam is common,” said Tim Maniscalo, president and CEO of BBB serving Central Indiana. “Don’t give your personal or credit card information to anyone over the phone, unless you know they are legitimate and need the information. Make sure to hang up on scammers.”


Microsoft has created a page on its website about this scam. It states, “Neither Microsoft nor our partners make unsolicited phone calls (also known as cold calls) to charge you for computer security or software fixes.”


Keep you and your information safe

Here are the tips from BBB on what to know about your computer:

  • If you are concerned your computer may be exposed to viruses or other security threats, contact your service provider directly. Some providers offer free tools that can help detect and remove viruses.
  • To help protect your computer from viruses, make sure you have virus detection software installed on your computer. This software can help identify if a virus appears on your computer.
  • Never give out personal information over the phone to someone you don’t know. If the caller claims there is a security threat to your computer, hang up and call your computer company directly.
  • If your computer does need repair, find a company you can trust by finding a BBB Accredited Business here.
  • To prevent these calls, register your phone number with the Indiana Attorney General’s Do Not Call List by calling 1-888-834-9969 or filling in this form: www.in.gov/attorneygeneral/2445.htm.


Be smart, follow your instinct

As always, never give personal information to unknown callers, and in this case, don’t give anyone access to your computer. Be smart, be on the defensive, ask questions and follow your instinct.


If you have received one of these calls, report it to the Indiana Attorney General’s Telephone Privacy Hotline at 1-888-834-9969.


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Categories: 2014 May Newsletter, Newsletters | Tags: Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

BBB Warns of Cell Phone Scam

Logo for ColesBetter Business Bureaus across the country, including Coles’ client BBB serving Central Indiana, are seeing a rash of the “One Ring Scam” on cell phones. Returning a missed call from an unknown phone number might be tempting, but it could cost you.


Here is how the scam works:

  • Your phone rings once or twice and — with most phones having Caller ID — the number will show as “unknown” or a long distance area code you’re not familiar with on the screen.
  • By the time you answer it, no one is on the other end of the phone and they will not leave a voicemail. So, you may try calling back, only to find no one is answering or there is only noise on the other end.


It’s called the “One Ring Scam,” and it is part of a practice called phone cramming.


Cell phone plans are billed through automation and usage on both incoming and outgoing calls. You are recognized if you answer the call, and a billing statement is passed through from the service provider on the other end of the line.


The scammers count on the fact that consumers don’t always look closely at their monthly statements, which may include a premium rate of $19.95 plus international fees. Or if they do review their statements, consumers might assume the charges are legitimate.


Several Better Business Bureaus are reporting this is happening to consumers, and the number shows up as unknown or an international phone number. Victims have reported calls originating from the Caribbean Islands, like Grenada, Antigua, Jamaica and the British Virgin Islands.


If you think you’re a victim of the scam, immediately notify your cell phone provider, and keep an eye on your phone bill. The earlier the fraud is documented, the better your chances are for having some or all of the charges removed.


To find out more about scams and to read up on the latest, check out BBB Scam Stopper.


Start with someone you can trust. Visit Better Business Bureau serving Central Indiana at indy.bbb.org.



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Categories: 2014 February Newsletter, Newsletters | Tags: Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tax time again? Don’t get scammed!

The good news: The official due date for filing individual federal tax forms with the Internal Revenue Service is Monday, April 18 instead of Friday, April 15 due to the observance of Emancipation Day in Washington, D.C.

The bad news: The scammers are out there! If you’re planning on using a tax service to prepare your return this year, be prepared.

Bill Thomas, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central Indiana, spoke with Ed Wenck on WIBC radio about what to watch out for when it comes to tax refund scams. Click the below link to listen in!

Bill Thomas of the BBB Offers Tax Advice on 93 WIBC


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