SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — A relative needs bail money, a bank is offering you millions.
Scammers are coming at you from all angles: online, over the phone, in the mail, and even door-to-door and will do anything to get your cash.
However, you can fight back and keep your family safe and Monday, our ABC40 staff and experts were here to answer all your calls and questions.
Some of the most common calls taken were about fake lottery winnings and phony apartment listings, both of which involve sending the scammer money through Western Union.
The experts say if your suspicious about any offer or claim it’s best to check it out.
Nancy Cahalen, President of the Central Massachusetts Better Business Bureau says, “If it looks too good to be true, it probably isn’t true. If you win money, you don’t have to send money to get it. And always check businesses before you do business with them with the Better Business Bureau.”
If you do get scammed or are worried a potential scammer might prey on others, experts say to report it to police or in the case of an internet scam you can also go to IC3.gov to file a complaint.
We would like to thank our panel of experts for joining us Monday night including:
- Stan Prager, Owner – GoGeeks, East Longmeadow
- Nancy Calahen, President/CEO – BBB of Central New England
- Milagros Johnson, Director – Springfield Mayor’s Office of Consumer Information
Some frequently asked questions, and answers, provided by Johnson:
What should someone do to report a scam attempt? Immediately contact your local police department. Also, you may want to contact the Attorney General’s office or local consumer program (information below) for further advice.
Can you give us some examples of scams you’ve seen here locally recently? Someone calls you and tells you that you have won the lottery and instructs you to wire funds to claim your prize because once you’ve wired the money, they often call again and demand additional funds. Another common scam now is when a consumer applies online for a loan and never receives the funds.
What signs might alert people that someone is trying to scam them?
- Caller is requesting your personal, credit card, or bank information. Banks, credit card companies, or the IRS do not call or send emails. They send letters.
- Caller tells you that you’ve won a prize and instructs you to wire them funds to collect the prize or winnings.
- Someone comes to your door demanding to enter your home claiming to be from a utility company, but you haven’t called to set up an appointment.
- You receive a letter with a check with instructions to call/deposit the check and wire a portion of the money.
Who locally can help someone recover if they have been scammed? The money will be difficult to trace if you wired the funds. Report it to your local police department.
Local Consumer Programs for Area Residents:
Hampden County – Springfield Mayor’s Office of Consumer Information: (413) 787-6437
Hampshire County – Northwestern District Attorney’s Office, Northampton office: (413) 586-9225
Franklin County – Northwestern District Attorney’s Office, Greenfield office: (413) 774-3186
Berkshire County – Berkshire County Regional Housing Authority: (413) 443-7138
- Better Business Bureau of Central and Western Mass.
- Angie’s List
- Snopes.com – An Internet resource for urban legends, rumors, scams, and folklore
- Reporting Internet scams or crimes with the Internet Crime Complaint Center at the FBI
- Filing a complaint with the Mass. Attorney General’s office
- Work-at-Home scams
- Fake check scams
- College scholarship scams
- Credit Card scams
- Telephone scams
- Citizenship and Immigration scams
- Nigerian letter or “419″ scam
- Online shopping scams
- Website and social media scams
- E-mail scams
- Avoiding home improvement scams
- Top tax scams