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Scam alert: Beware Better Business Bureau impostor

Scammers claim to be investigating fraudulent charges

The Better Business Bureau serving northeast Florida and the Southeast Atlantic has received reports from local consumers who have been contacted by scam artists posing as the BBB.

How the scam works:

The victims have been the target of a tech support scam in the past. The BBB imposter claims to be investigating fraudulent charges and promises to refund the cash the previous tech support scammers had taken. The catch is the BBB imposter needs access to the victim's computer to do so. The BBB imposter takes the victim to a realistic-looking site using the BBB logo, then proceeds to either try to gain access to the victim’s bank account or holds the victim's computer hostage for more money.  

Don’t fall for it!

News4Jax spoke with Pauline St. Amand, who said she was a victim of the scam.

“(It) sounded believable so I said, ‘Well, I don’t usually give out information.'’’ St. Amand recalled. “’Oh, no, you don’t have to. We give you your license number on the computer.' Which they did. 'And now you can log onto your computer and verify that’s the right number so you know I’m telling you the truth.’ By doing that, they got in.”

People have tried to scam St. Amand before, but this time she stopped them. 

“I started to suspect when they showed me copies of my bank account,” St. Amand said. They Photoshop that or whatever, then I got scared and I hung up. He said, ‘Don’t you hang up on me.’ I said, “Yes, I am and I’m shutting down my computer,’ and they took it hostage.”

St. Amand said she went to her bank and canceled her account immediately and got her computer wiped clean. She then called the BBB to inform it that someone was using itsname and company logo to try to steal money.

“They already fell for something one time. They figured if they would fall for once, there’s a chance they might convince them the second time,” Tom Stevens, with the BBB, said. “This lady was smart and did not fall for it.”

The BBB business relations department does schedule virtual presentations to share their computer screen with a business, however, they will never ask for passwords or information to access your computer. 

“They are stealing the logo (and) spoofing a website,” Stevens said. “You should just know we don’t do that. We never handle other people’s money.”

Anyone who receives a call from someone with a foreign accent requesting payment information or permission to access their computer is asked to report it to BBB Scam Tracker or call 904-721-2288.

For BBB’s complete tips on tech support scams, visit bbb.org/techsupportscam.


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