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9 things easily susceptible to scams (and how to avoid being a victim)

The Better Business Bureau offers insight and tips on the scams circulating in Colorado.

COLORADO, USA — October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month and the Better Business Bureau is warning of the latest scams circulating in the community — and how to avoid them.

Here is a list of nine things that you should be wary of to avoid becoming a scam victim:

1) Smart devices 

Inventive devices are now connected to the internet, which makes your car, fridge or door susceptible to hackers. According to the BBB, trust is placed in these devices, leading to security threats and privacy being breached.

TIP: Consider installing an anti-malware on your devices and keep your software up to date.

2) Fake email accounts

Phishers ( pronounced like fishers) seek your information and create fake email accounts posing as your boss, lawyer, realtor or someone you trust. Those targeted are linked to organizations and people involving high-dollar transactions.

TIP: Always verify your online contact before making payments or providing personal information through email.

3) Cryptocurrency

You’ve heard of Bitcoin and how popular cryptocurrency has become in the digital era. BBB said consumers using cryptocurrency in trading platforms are susceptible to hackers as schemers can take your money and disappear without a trace.

TIP: Be aware of what you purchase through cryptocurrency and investing as it carries significant risk. According to BBB, only invest what you can afford to lose, as you could lose some to all of your investment.

4) Unclaimed rewards

Imagine receiving a postcard in the mail, an email or a social media message indicating you have an unclaimed reward, redeemable at a store like Walmart or Target. When you call to inquire about your reward, you are asked for your personal information and may be paying a small fee to cover mailing costs.

BBB warns of these types of situations as scammers attempt to acquire your information to commit fraudulent charges using your card information.

TIP: According to BBB, unclaimed money comes from financial institutions and companies’ accounts. To track down an unclaimed asset, visit Unclaimed.org for the U.S.

5) New devices

Roku, Google Home, Alex or any type of new media player requires an after-purchase activation. BBB said scammers attempt to convince victims to pay for services that are supposed to be free by charging for activation fees.

TIP: Always verify that you are visiting the correct website of the device you purchase. Scammers develop look-alike websites with misspelled addresses along with sponsored ads that could also redirect you to fake websites.

6) DNA testing/Medicare

BBB believes Genexe Health, a company headquartered in the Denver Tech Center, was involved in a recent scam involving companies that provide genetic cancer screenings and other DNA testing in person. A consumer reported to BBB that she bought cancer screenings by Genexe Health at a senior expo in Colorado Springs. The consumer claimed she was told the test would be free. Her insurance was later billed $26,000.

TIP: Always contact or look up companies via the BBB website before making purchases. If you know of any allegations of fraud, you can report them through the BBB’s Scam Tracker.

7) Employment

BBB warns of two local businesses who contact applicants through employment websites and have them fill applications with their personal information. The two companies, Now Company and USA Online Logistics LLC, offer the exact same materials to applicants.

TIP: BBB asks consumers to submit complaints and reviews when they are contacted by either of these companies or report any scams through the BBB’s Scam Tracker.

8) "Sextortion" emails

This scam involves schemers contacting people through email claiming they hacked their devices and webcam, according to BBB. The scammer claims they can access all the porn sites the victim visited and threatens to send any content to relatives or coworkers if they are not paid.

TIP: BBB recommends to not send compromising images of yourself to anyone. Avoid opening the email, its attachments and never send money to follow with the demands made by the scammer.

9) Timeshare resale/exit 

Consumers in at least 46 states recently faced a loss in thousands of dollars each to timeshare exit businesses in and around Springfield, Missouri. Timeshare owners paid over $2.2 million for timeshare relief work that was never done or never completed, according to BBB.

TIP: If you believe you have fallen victim to a timeshare exit scam, contact and complain to the company directly, BBB said.

En español

Para información sobre fraudes en Colorado en español brindado por la Oficina del Estado de Colorado, visite su sitio web.

Better Business Bureau también ofrece más información sobre como evitar el fraude en su sitio web.

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