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Better Business Bureau: Do not call scam

By By Alan Bligh
April 6, 2013 at midnight
Updated April 5, 2013 at 11:06 p.m.


Scammers have been making phone calls posing as representatives of the National Do Not Call Registry. The calls claim to provide an opportunity to sign up for the registry or ask consumers to verify their info. Of course, the callers are really trying to solicit personal information, which opens victims up to identity fraud.

How the scam works: Someone calls you claiming to represent the National Do Not Call Registry or the Federal Trade Commission. The registry "official" asks for personal information, such as name, address and Social Security number. The scam has several variations. In one, the caller wants to verify that you are on the National Do Not Call Registry.

In another, he or she claims to give you a chance to register your phone number. Just hang up the phone; this situation is always a scam. Representatives from the registry will not call you, and sharing personal information with the caller will just put you at risk for identity theft.

I know you will not believe this one. With the tax deadline approaching, fraudsters and phishers are increasingly sending bogus emails to dupe people into revealing private information. The Internal Revenue Service says that scammers often masquerade as legitimate tax preparers such as Turbo Tax or government agents promising unbelievable refunds or claiming problems with tax returns. Watch for these red flags when analyzing correspondence:

Unsolicited requests: The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media.

Used logos: Scammers regularly hijack company logos or agency seals to appear official; be skeptical of distorted or discolored images.

Unusual language: Phishers are more likely to use unorthodox grammar and spelling; keep an eye out for obvious mistakes.

It's still spring, in theory anyway, so why worry about air conditioning? The Better Business Bureau recommends planning ahead now, while temperatures are mild, to make sure your air conditioner is working properly when the temperatures are high.

Take the time to check contractors out carefully; rushing to find a cooling contractor during an emergency situation can burn a hole in your wallet instead of keeping you cool. Some of the most common mistakes consumers and business owners make when looking for repairs stem from hiring the first contractor they find, not doing the proper research and not getting all the details of their service or repair in writing.

Remember, choosing a contractor now will establish you as a regular customer, which will give you priority treatment later on when those emergency A/C outages occur.

Your The Better Business Bureau receives many calls from people who have payroll issues. The most frequent calls concern not getting paid. The agency that addresses such concerns is the Texas Workforce Commission in Austin. Note the area commission offices do not handle pay issues. The best way to file a wage claim is online at twc.state.tx.us/ui/lablaw/ll1.pdf. The Texas Payday Law governs what employers can and cannot do. For example, there is no law saying employees get breaks, but if they do, they have to be paid. However, employees are not compensated for lunch hours.

Also, employers are not required, either by Texas or federal law, to pay extra for working on holidays. And finally, employers do not have to offer paid vacations. Note that these points depend on company policies and, in some cases, employee contracts.

Alan Bligh is the executive director of the Better Business Bureau in Corpus Christi. Contact him by email at abligh@corpuschristi.bbb.org.

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