ROANOKE, Virginia – The Better Business Bureau is sounding the alarm bells on three scams you should know about.
1. Fake prompts to activate streaming service
If you have a smart TV, you should be aware of this when setting it up. When you sync your accounts with Smart TV apps, sometimes it requires visiting an online activation page.
The Better Business Bureau says that if you put the address directly into your computer or phone’s web browser, you’ll be taken to the official YouTube link to activate your account. But some people just search the website and that’s how they get ripped off.
“A lot of scammers have figured out that they can pay to be on top and they can put up what appears to be your activation page and they don’t. That actually takes you to where you’re going to try to log in and then it’ll tell you that you have to pay a fee to do so, ”said Julie Wheeler, Better Business Bureau serving Western VA.
Here’s how to stay safe:
Always verify that you are visiting an official website.
Beware of advertisements and sponsored links.
Be careful with your login information. Legitimate customer service representatives typically do not ask for passwords over the phone or email.
2. Bogus products on social networks
The BBB also warns against deceptive ads on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok promoting personalized gifts. The Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker has received many reports on purchases very different from what people thought.
Wheeler says here’s how the scam works: You see something like a keychain with your pet’s face on social media. When, or if it happens, it may contain errors or be different from what the website describes.
“Some of them are just trying to get you to pay and maybe you get inferior product, maybe you don’t get any product at all. You want to be careful and make sure you’re using reputable companies and research beyond something that shows up on your social media feed or that you click on a link, ”Wheeler said.
Here’s how to avoid being scammed:
Research the company.
A real business must have valid contact information.
Look for reviews on other websites.
Pay with a credit card.
3. What to know if you are using near-field communication
Wheeler says that Near Field Communication uses a series of protocols to make transactions easier and faster. People use them to make contactless payments, share digital content, connect one device to another, and a growing list of other tasks every day.
But crooks also use it to get your information.
“It’s very important if someone is near your smartphone and you have something activated that allows near-field communications to access your information on your phone. But they have to be within fourcm, so that usually won’t happen with someone unless you know them or have actually handed them your phone, ”Wheeler said.
She says to be careful. Do not give your phone to someone if you do not know them and if you are using this technology, activate them only when in use.
What other security tips can you use to protect your data?
• A password protects your mobile device
• Enable two-factor authentication for all monetary transactions
• Read data usage policies before downloading apps to make sure they protect your privacy
• Regularly update installed applications
• Turn off your NFC when not in use (with Android devices this can be found in settings. With iPhone, NFC is disabled in individual apps)
• Update your device as needed to receive security patches and firmware updates
• Only use near-field communications with suppliers and people you know can be trusted.
You can help raise awareness and protect others when you report scams to BBB Scam Tracker.
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