On Your Side Alert: BBB warns about phone scam

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Use caution the next time your phone rings - crooks are targeting the area. The Better Business Bureau is warning about a bogus call where crooks claim to represent the organization.

Tom Gallagher, with The BBB says criminals claim you've won millions of dollars. In hopes of adding some credibility to the deception, they tell you they're calling on behalf of the BBB. "We might call for a survey or something but there will never ever, ever be anything associated with any money. You are not going to win anything from The Better Business Bureau and the BBB  is not going to cost you anything. It is not going to happen if you are a consumer," he explains.

Gallagher says these are random cold calls. They appear to be coming from Jamaica but he says don't trust you Caller ID. "They are able to spoof on your caller ID another phone number. They do it with the IRS all the time. It is not the real number they are calling from," Gallagher says.

The BBB advises if you get a similar call, report it to them. Gallagher says never  give out any of personal information and if anyone ever calls claiming you've won a lottery, hang up. "Don't think that you will able to out smart them, you wont, this is how they earn their living. They are very good at what they do and they will get you," he tells us.

The caller usually tells you in order to collect the bogus jackpot, you have to pay a fee. Remember, you're not going to win a lottery you didn't sign up for and if the lottery is legit, you won't have pay to collect.

The BBB also provides these safety tips:

•     Hang up and don't call the scammer back. We all like to have the last word, but returning the phone call may just give the con artist information he can use.

·        Do not give your personal information out to someone who has contacted you, whether it's by phone, email, social media or at your front door.

•     If you are unsure about a communication received, be sure to contact the company or agency directly using a verifiable telephone number.

•     Check your bank account and credit card statements regularly for unauthorized transactions.

•     If you think you've been scammed, notify your bank and credit card companies immediately.  Also contact Equifax, Experian or TransUnion and put a fraud alert on your account.  You only need to contact one and they will alert the others.

•     Contact your local BBB if you need help at 804-648-0016 .

•     Check out companies before you do business with them at http://Richmond.bbb.org

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