It would be a rare person who has not had at least one attempted scam via phone (cell or land line) this past year.
Law enforcement says these are the top scams of the year gone by:
- “Tech support worker” claiming they need access to your computer remotely to remove viruses. What they’re really going to remove is your personal information.
- “The IRS” claiming they’re about to take you to court or have you arrested unless you make immediate payment via wire transfer or debit card. Tip: The IRS NEVER makes phone calls. Official business is always conducted by mail.
- “Utility bill collectors” looking for immediate payment or else your utilities will be shut off. Again, real utilities do not operate this way.
- Phone numbers on your caller ID that are very close to your own number. Scam artists know you're more likely to answer an unknown number that's close to your number. If you don't recognize the number, let it go to voice mail.
When in doubt, get off the phone and make contact yourself with the agency the original caller claimed to be from.
Many of us, for reasons both environmental as well as financial, are contemplating “going off the grid” and installing solar panels on our homes.
Before you take the plunge, you should be aware of a potential scam that has popped in this field. It involves companies that offer to install solar panels on your home for free. The deal is, they own the panels and they will bill you every month, just like the power company.
Now, these companies promise that your bill will be substantially less than what you’re currently paying, but there have been reports of people actually paying more.
So before agreeing to anything, do your homework. Find out if other friends or family members have done business with the company. Research them online with the Better Business Bureau and things like Yahoo reviews. Finally, read your contract carefully and make sure you understand what you’re getting yourself into.
Reputable businesses are always glad to do business in the sunshine.