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Better Business Bureau: Curious about model/actress Lily Collins? Don't wind up on a malware site

By By Tracy Bracy
Sept. 28, 2013 at 4:28 a.m.


Do you know who the most dangerous celebrity of 2013 is? You might be surprised to find out it's musician Phil Collins' daughter, who is making a name for herself as a model and actress. Unfortunately, her name, Lily Collins, is also a top computer security risk, according to anti-virus software company McAfee.

The company researched pop culture's most famous people to reveal the riskiest celebrity athletes, musicians, comedians and Hollywood stars on the web.

Searching for images and downloads of Lily Collins gives you a one in seven chance of a webpage infecting your computer with malware, including adware, spyware, viruses and more. That's a 14.5 percent chance.

Federal court shuts down massive sweepstakes scam

Good news for consumers and bad news for scammers: A federal court just shut down a major sweepstakes scam. Scammers sent out almost 4 million personalized letters to consumers claiming they had won a large cash prize. The scam took in more than $11 million dollars since 2009. Victims were from more than 156 countries including the U.S., Canada, France and Japan.

Most of the victims appear to be older than 65. If you think you might have won a sweepstakes, the Better Business Bureau offers the following advice:•  Don't expect to win a contest you never entered. You can only win a sweepstakes you enter. If you have entered a sweepstakes, keep track of who you're entering with.

Don't get tricked by "official-looking" material. Seals, official-sounding names and terms that imply affiliation with or endorsement by a government entity are commonly used by scammers to fool consumers into thinking they are legitimate.

A true sweepstakes will not make its winner pay fees. Legitimate prizes do not come with processing fees, and taxes are paid directly to the Internal Revenue Service after winnings are collected.

Never agree to deposit a check and send a portion to someone else. No matter how legitimate the check may appear to be, no matter what story or reasonable-sounding explanation you are given, you will get burned. A bank teller might accept the check, but when it turns out to be fake, you will have to reimburse the bank.

Man gets 40-year sentence for defrauding elderly women

The Texas State Securities Board announced a 40-year prison sentence for a man who scammed several elderly widows out of more than a half-million dollars. The scammer convinced them to liquidate their securities, holdings in brokerage accounts and other assets and transfer the funds to him.

He told the women he would buy annuities from legitimate insurance companies but instead deposited the money into bank accounts held in his name. He was indicted for theft, money laundering and engaging in organized criminal activity.

The scammer had never been licensed by the Texas Department of Insurance to sell annuities. The Better Business Bureau advises to avoid being a victim by always checking out a broker on saveandinvest.org.

Tracy Bracy is the regional director of the Better Business Bureau for Corpus Christi/Victoria. Contact her by email at info@corpuschristi.bbb.org.

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