Better Business Bureau: Advance fee-green dot money pak

By Alan Bligh
June 23, 2012 at 1:23 a.m.

Consumers nationwide continue to be victimized by sophisticated loan scams that demand up-front fees for personal loans that are never delivered. In many cases, the scammers demand that consumers take out insurance coverage on the loans by loading cash onto Green Dot MoneyPak cards and then forward the thieves the access codes. Usually, the thieves initially demand between $600 and $3,000 to secure the loan. After receiving the first payment, the scammers typically demand additional payments until their victims ran out of money or caught onto the scam. Such Green Dot transactions are extremely difficult to trace. Other phony loan companies have used Western Union or MoneyGram to obtain the payments.

Can you see who saw your profile?

Heads up, Facebook users! Facebook never intends to create a way for a user to see who has viewed their profile. If an application claims to do so, do not trust it. Once you allow access, the app will begin posting on your page telling others to download the app. The app also has the potential to obtain personal information from your profile. Here is how the scam works: Apps such as "Facebook Profile Viewer" and "Profile Visitor" are sending users messages stating that Facebook has a new update enabling them to see who has viewed their profile. If you click on the given link, you are asked to allow the app to have access to your profile. Always be careful when confronted with unknown apps or updates.

Utility bill scheme

They say there is no free lunch. Here is a case in point. A new scam is sweeping the nation. Consumers are being contacted in person and through fliers, social media and text messages. Schemers are claiming that President Obama will pay your utility bills through a new federal program. To receive the money, scammers claim they need the consumers' social security and bank routing numbers. In return, customers are given a phony bank routing number that will supposedly pay their utility bills. In reality, of course there is no money, and customers is left believing they have paid their bills when in fact they have not. Remember, NEVER provide your social security number, credit card number or banking information to anyone requesting it that you do not know.

Research storage facilities

Last year, BBB received more than 1,000 complaints against storage facilities. Many of the complaints came from consumers who were never able to access their storage units after paying a deposit. Others had their belongings damaged or stolen. So remember to: •  Research any storage facility at

Obtain written cost estimates from at least three facilities.

Consider the type of storage unit you will need. Consider the general climate of the unit and whether your belongings will be subject to mold or water damage. If so, you may want to consider an environmentally controlled unit.

Be sure your items are insured from theft, fire or other damage.

Ask if the facility has a security system.

Get everything in writing. A failure to do this can easily lead to problems.

Alan Bligh is the executive director of the Better Business Bureau in Corpus Christi. Contact him at



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