BOSTON (CBS) – This is National Consumers Protection Week. This is a national campaign to help consumers make better-informed decisions and avoid being scammed.
Answer your phone, open your e-mails and the scams find you. The Better Business Bureau has put together their top list for 2013. These are scams they believe to be the most widespread.
Arrest Warrant Scam – With this scam con artists are taking advantage of technology that can change what is visible on Caller ID, allowing them to pose as the office of the local sheriff or other law enforcement agency. They call to say there is a warrant out for your arrest but that you can pay a fine in order to avoid criminal charges.
Of course, these “police” don’t take credit cards; only a wire transfer or pre-paid debit card will do. Sometimes these scams seem very personal; the scammer may refer to a loan or other financial matter. It may just be a lucky guess, but don’t be fooled into thinking you are about to be arrested.
Invisible Home Improvements – Home improvement scams vary from year to year, and most involve some type of shoddy workmanship from unlicensed or untrained workers. The hardest for homeowners to detect, and therefore the easiest for scammers to pull off, are repairs or improvements to the areas of your home that you can’t see: roofs, chimneys, air ducts, crawl spaces, etc.
Scammers may simply knock at your door offering a great deal because they were “in the neighborhood,” but more and more they are using telemarketing, email and even social media to reach homeowners. Helpful videos on YouTube can add legitimacy to a contractor, but consumers have no way of knowing if the video is real or “borrowed” from a legitimate contractor. Check out home contractors at bbb.org before saying yes.
Also use Angie’s List. You do have to pay for a membership but the customers put in the reviews.
One more thing: Attention all veterans, service members and their families:
Military Saves Week
Massachusetts State Treasurer’s Office will be co-sponsoring an all-day free seminar for the military.
OPERATION MONEY WISE
A FREE financial empowerment conference open to veterans, service members and their families.
Saturday, March 22, 2014
9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Mass Bay Community College
50 Oakland Street, Wellesley MA
If you are a service member, veteran, or are related to one, join us to sharpen your financial skills and better understand your military benefits at the Operation Money Wise conference! This FREE, first-ever event is geared toward military and their families and will feature dynamic keynote speaker, Dick Power, CFP and retired Army Colonel.
The day will also include over a dozen other expert speakers on a variety of diverse financial topics, as well as an interactive learning lunch with local celebrity radio personality Dee Lee, CFP. Attendees will also have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with a Certified Financial Planner, Credit Counselor and/or Career Counselor.
Breakout sessions provide lessons and materials in:
– Budgeting & Setting Financial Goals
– Dealing with Debt
– Retirement Readiness
– Money & Disability
– Basics of Investing
– Home Ownership 101
– Using Your Education Benefits
– Bridging The Financial Gap to College
Complimentary continental breakfast and lunch will be provided.
We hope to see you there!
A Joint project of:
Massachusetts State Treasurer’s Office
Massachusetts National Guard and Reserve
Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services
Massachusetts Financial Literacy Trust Fund
Inter-Service Family Assistance Committee