Better Business Bureau advises users to take precautions including not clicking on links sent in emails. Other items this week include a scheme involving an alleged iPad giveaway.
By Stuart Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times
October 10, 2011
Here is a roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for:
The Better Business Bureau is advising consumers to take precautions to avoid being tricked into giving away their Twitter passwords in email phishing scams. Most important, the agency said, is to avoid clicking on links that arrive by email — even emails that appear to be from someone familiar. In one common scam, an email says, “I saw a real bad blog about you, you seen this?” The email includes a link. If victims click on the link, it leads to what appears to be the Twitter log-in page, but it isn’t. Those who enter their user names and passwords on that page will have their accounts compromised. The Better Business Bureau suggests Twitter users should be suspicious of any link sent by email. If you’re ever in doubt, don’t click.
Scammers have tried to take advantage of the recent death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, the Better Business Bureau said. One scam was promoted briefly on Facebook with the phrase, “In memory of Steve, a company is giving out 50 iPads tonight. R.I.P. Steve Jobs.” The message was followed by a link. Instead of directing users to an iPad giveaway, however, the link led to a survey. The orchestrator of the scam was probably paid a fee every time someone was directed to the survey page, the agency said. Facebook has shut down the scam. Be wary of clicking on links through email or social media sites because the links could contain malware, the agency added.
A federal judge has ordered a woman to repay $1.68 million to consumers victimized by a scam that offered tips about obtaining government grants for a fee, the Federal Trade Commission said in a news release. Meggie Chapman was accused by the FTC and attorneys general in Kansas, Minnesota, North Carolina and Illinois of promoting the scam through mass mailings produced by a company she ran in Arizona. Victims received postcards that promised $25,000 in government grant money. When they called a telephone number on the cards, they were offered a book on grant writing for $59. Victims who paid the fee rarely were awarded grants, the FTC said. More than 8,000 people had been victimized since 2007.