Different Scams Going On in Our Area

By BROOKE WELCH | bwelch@wfft.com

Published 04/28 2014 02:08PM

Updated 04/28 2014 02:27PM

Have you ever been scammed or know of someone that has?  The Federal Trade Commission estimates that almost 15% of Americans will be scammed this year but experts say that number is likely much higher because many people are unwilling to admit they've been scammed.

WFFT's Brooke Welch brings us a special report about the different scams in our area.

Catherine Stanley was looking for work when she go an email to be a secret shopper.

"I found this and thought this would be good pocket cash.  Ya know, to have on hand, just a little something extra."

Catherine says the emails looked legitimate, they even sent her text messages.  She received a check for $1,996.  The letter said to keep $250 for herself and then wire the rest to Turkey.

"Go to WalMart and then evaluate an employee and then go to Western Union, which is in WalMart, wire the money, and then evaluate that employee and then go home and fill out the survey they have on here."

Upon taking the check to the bank, they gave her $200 in cash but then Catherine was upset when she received a call a few days later, that the check was a fraud and her new job was a scam.

"It was very shocking.  I felt very violated that someone took advantage of people like this."

A check that looked authentic enough for the bank to release cash.  Stories like Catherine Stanley's happen to people every single day.  WFFT spoke with Marjorie Stephens at the Better Business Bureau and she wants everyone to know these scams happen to people of all ages.

"All of us have this notion, it's happening to only the seniors and it's not.  It's happening to every age group."

That's because scammers are improving their tactics.  Like the sweepstakes scam that actually comes from the US Consumer Protection Bureau.  Sound legitimate, but an organization that doesn't exist.  The fake website also lists an address that really is the address for the Better Business Bureau in Arlington, Virginia.

"Just be very diligent, pay attention.  If there is anything that even remotely puts up a red flag, give us a call, check it out."

So what type of red flags should you watch out for?
1.) Check your bank/credit card statements.
2.) Never wire anyone money.
3.) Don't pay money to claim a prize.
4.) You can't win a contest you didn't enter.
5.) Don't answer phone numbers you don't recognize.
6.) Don't click on links to unfamiliar websites.

For Catherine, she got lucky.  The bank isn't making her pay back the $200 dollars, but she says this came will always have an effect on her.

"I was worried that they would get a hold of my boyfriend's bank account and start racking up charges.  That we might go into more debt than we already are.  I was worried since I had to send my address, that they might come over here and bug my house.  It gives you paranoia."

If you're concerned that you may have been scammed, you can contact the Better Business Bureau.   Their phone number is 423-4433.

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