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Beware of new delivery scam

Nov. 18, 2010 at 5:18 a.m.
Updated Nov. 20, 2010 at 5:20 a.m.


By Alan Bligh While you're getting your holiday happenings lined up, scam artists near and far are working as fast as they can to separate you from your spending money.

At the top of that list is the UPS/FedEx/DHL/USPS package delivery scam. The scam begins with an e-mail complete with a phony tracking number informing you that there was a package delivery error. You'll be instructed to open an attachment to print out a correct delivery label that you're supposed to take to the nearest UPS/FedEx/DHL/USPS office.

Open the attachment, however, and you'll open your computer to malware and virus attacks. That's not a very happy way to spend the holidays.

The best present you can give yourself is to delete the phony e-mail.

With our military presence in Afghanistan and elsewhere, it can't hurt to review the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act of 1940.

The law covers active-duty personnel and reservists and National Guardsmen in active federal service.

Guardsmen called by the state governor to carry out homeland security activities, but not sent overseas, are covered as well.

Key points of the SSCRA are an interest rate cap of 6 percent on mortgages, car loans, and credit cards. Eviction and foreclosure protections exist, as does lease termination provisions. There are some other benefits as well.

Don't forget that that BBB Military Line is available to assist military families with consumer problems. Such problems seem to escalate during deployments.

Mattel's trademark Barbie doll is getting older, but she has embraced technology - Barbie's new built-in camera abilities are worrying some privacy advocates and psychologists.

The Barbie Video Girl doll has been criticized for enabling children to film themselves and others using a hidden camera in Barbie's necklace. The doll, which retails for about $110, also has a small color LCD screen in her back and the capacity to record 30 minutes of video, which can be transferred to a computer.

It should be noted that it's possible that the Barbie camera might pick up some personal and private events that you would rather not be publicly disclosed.

The doll is one of many gadgets this year that contain video camera tools.

We can't always be serious so I am going to tell you about the most bizarre complaint I ever handled.

A gentleman came into our office with a complaint about a furniture dealer. He claimed a mattress was defective, it had snakes swimming around in it. That's right, snakes.

We, of course, closed the case as unwarranted and thought that was that.

Boy, were we wrong. In about three months the consumer filed another complaint, seems the snakes had moved from the mattress into his coffee table.

Things are never boring at BBB. Oh yes, this happened when I was with the Bureau in Milwaukee not here in the Coastal Bend. Surely no one here could come up with such a complaint.

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

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