Protecting yourself from scams this tax season

By Chennell Ramos - Digital Journalist

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Tax season is upon us - and that means scammers will be aiming for your money.

 

This week is National Consumer Protection Week. Consumers should be on high alert and on the lookout for the following scams circulating in the northeast Florida area.

 

The Better Business Bureau has already seen scammers targeting consumers.

 

Some complaints include:

Apartment complexes get more complaints than used car dealers and roofing contractors. As a consumer, you need to do your homework before you rent. Be sure you understand the lease agreement.

 

Used car dealers- The same dealers get same complaints all the time- usually an “As Is” purchase that falls apart shortly after you drive it off the lot.

 

Roofing contractor- “Assignment of Benefits” clauses are sometimes contained in the roofer's quote/proposal form. Beware if you are asked to sign a quote. You may be signing away significant rights. Money from insurance company goes straight to the roofer and they can schedule the job at their leisure. 

 

In addition to complaints to the BBB office are reported scams; the top ones reported to BBB in North East Florida according to Tom Stephens, president, Northeast Florida include the following:

Online purchase-targeted advertising on social media by foreign retailers. Knock off or inferior products.

 

Employment scams- 2 types- first is fake job offers that require you to pay upfront for a background check or training materials. There was no job & you're out the money. Second type involves sending you a check for you to deposit in your account, purchase a few small items, keep a small amount for yourself & send the rest back to them. Either the check will bounce or you've just helped a criminal launder some money.

 

Tech support-impostors impersonate Microsoft, FTC, IRS & even BBB. Claim that you were sold an inferior product and you are owed a refund which must be deposited directly in your bank account. If you give them access to your account they will clean it out.

 

Stephens states that consumers should be vigilant in spending and handling financial affairs, by researching and educating yourself. 

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