Better Business Bureau offers tips to avoid getting scammed

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Northern Indiana has offered tips to avoid scams.

In a newsletter, BBB identified sources claiming to be Publishers Clearing House, the IRS, or other branches of government, in addition to dangerous pop-up messages, and calls from supposed family members looking for money as potential scams that have been reported and that people in Indiana may be confronted with.

BBB advises that if you receive a letter from Publisher’s Clearing House claiming you won money, this is not legitimate as you will not receive that letter by mail. You also will not be notified by phone. People have been sent letters from a contact claiming to be “Claims Agent,” in order to have cash direct deposited into your account. An example of this is below:

A letter from a source claiming to be Publisher's Clearing House looking to deposit money into the winner's account.
A letter from a source claiming to be Publisher’s Clearing House looking to deposit money into the winner’s account.


If you see a pop-up message on your computer that advises you are in trouble for online sites that you’ve visited, that take over your computer and asserts that payment must be received in order to gain control back of your computer and to get out of legal trouble, shut down your computer immediately. BBB advises that you consult a reputable, computer consultant before proceeding. This is commonly called ransomware.

A new spin of the “Grandparent scam” has been reported. According to the person who reported the scam to the BBB, the “grandson” sounded like a young child and was sobbing in the phone saying “Grandpa, grandpa. You’ve got to help me! I was in the hospital and dad was arrested. I need money sent right away!” The grandfather informed BBB that the kid did sound like his grandson, but something didn’t feel right. He asked the kid what his mom’s name was, and he hung up.

You may receive a letter from the “IRS” advising you that they are putting your social security number on hold. BBB advises you ignore these requests. An example of this letter can be seen below:



If you receive calls from someone claiming to be from any department of the US government, threatening to repossess your home or advising you will face jail time if debt is not paid back immediately, ignore these requests. Requests such as these will come in the official mail. Jail time, repossession of homes, and arrests are not allowed either. That judgement is made in the court of law.

For more information visit BBB Northern Indiana.