Latest Phone Scam Claims you are part of a Class Action Settlement

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It's not only while out visiting restaurants, using ATM's, shopping at malls or surfing online that you need to be on alert to avoid fraud. Many of the latest scam techniques involve con artists who reach out to you through phishing emails, text & voice mail messages, knocking on your door or reaching out to you by telephone.

The South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs is warning about a scam that involves someone contacting you by phone to let you know that you're part of a class action lawsuit settlement.

They tell you that you've got hundreds or even thousands of dollars coming from the settlement, but you need to pay part of the legal fees or some type of tax on the money. The supposed fees are usually a few hundred dollars.

Alice Brooks, spokeswoman for the department, says, "Especially in this day and age, when the economy is bad, consumers are going to, you know, race for any kind of golden rainbow that they can find. And this is no different. It's also dangerous because class action lawsuit is something we are familiar with."

For example, there have been legitimate class action lawsuits against credit card companies over interest rates, and it's possible you could be a part of that class and know nothing about it or any settlement. The key difference is that any settlement money would likely be just a few dollars and it would be credited to your account.

The Department of Consumer Affairs say there are two main things you should know to avoid this scam:

1. No legitimate class action suit will have someone contact you by phone;

2. You would never have to pay money upfront in order to receive money from a lawsuit settlement or lottery winnings.

Another red flag in this scam is that the person making the phone call sometimes asks that the "fees" should be mailed to a postal box in Canada or sent by wire transfer

Scamming you out of Credit Card Numbers by Phone 

I have also warned on occasion of a variety of phone scams. Some offer cheap vacations, lottery winnings or prizes that will be awarded to you -if you only pay "taxes & fees" upfront. Don't fall for them! Remember if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

Some con artists will offer to send you a check made payable to you for thousands of dollars claiming that by sending you money up front should prove their so-called legitimacy. The scammer will then tell you that you only need to send them a portion of that money back to pay for your taxes and fees. Once you deposit the check it will bounce and you will soon learn you have been swindled!

UPDATE: Another recently reported phone scam is using an impersonal approach to try and steal your credit card information with the help of an automated call system.

A recorded voice message claims the person's VISA Check Card was deactivated due to a security breach in their bank's database. They then request cardholders to enter their card information to reactivate their accounts.

If someone calls saying they are from your bank, whether it's a recording or not, hang up. Call your bank directly.

For more info on the check cashing scam, see earlier blogs: Scams are on the Rise...
and BBB Reported Scams...

Here is a video that depicts a typical phone scam. This type of scam occurs somewhere -everyday!

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