PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – The start of summer often signals an increase not only in online shopping, but also in online scams.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) Central Illinois gets a few calls daily from people and businesses that are being scammed, said President and CEO Jessica Tharp.
“Online retailers are always a top scam we see here at BBB, so checking out a company before doing business with them can save you a lot of headaches,” Tharp said.
While online retail scams often target individuals, Tharp said a new scam is targeting businesses.
The lure? Subscription Renewals.
“Companies have reported receiving an email that appears to be from Quickbooks, an invoice to renew their subscription,” Tharp said. “Similarly, they also receive emails asking them to renew their subscription to Norton Anti-Lock, which is an anti-virus protection company.”
“While both of these companies are legitimate companies, these emails are not.”
Tharp’s advice is simple: “Don’t click anything to renew a subscription. We encourage you to visit the site independently and log in to renew your subscription.
Many people are told that they have large charges on their accounts. If a caller asks to verify information, that should set off alarm bells, Tharp said.
“They offer to help you in many ways. The first is that they want to verify your credit card number. So it’s a red flag. You never want to give out your payment information over the phone. Amazon would never call you to verify your payment information,” she said. “They also direct consumers to go to a website or click on a link in text that actually downloads malware or gives them access to your device.”
But what if someone has already been scammed? Tharp said the first step is to contact that person or company’s bank. Plus, she says regular account monitoring helps identify scams faster.
“They change every day… but the themes are the same. Scammers are after your personal information, they are after your money,” Tharp said. “We just need to protect that information and those payment methods as closely as possible.”