Legal Lens: Better Business Bureau warns consumers of scams

Legal Lens

The Brown & Crouppen Legal Lens takes a closer look at everyday legal issues and gives you a better understanding of topics that may affect you.

ST. LOUIS – The Better Business Bureau says people are trying to scam people because of their tight finances from the pandemic. Andrea McNairy, managing attorney at Brown & Crouppen has more on this in this week’s Legal Lens. 

What kind of housing scams are we talking about?

“Well, we are talking about all kinds of things. One thing Better Business Bureau is talking about is services for your house, cable services, internet service, pest control services. And, what’s happening is people are calling home phones. The company shows up on home ID and they are getting texts from what appears to be a legitimate number, and when you talk to somebody, they say similar things that they have heard from the company before or music playing, so people legitimately think they are talking to companies they acquire services for,” McNairy said. 

How do you avoid getting scammed?

“What they are doing when you finally talk to someone is they appear to be legitimate and they something like ‘You are eligible for a promotion for payment upfront,’ or that ‘You overpaid and you are due for a refund.’ So, what they will do is instead of using the financial information they have for you, they will ask you to purchase prepaid debit cards or wire transfers. The first rule of thumb is that should be a red flag. As these companies you do business with already have your banking information,” she said.  

Will these people show up at your door?  

“They do. That’s a new part of the scam. They’ll have uniforms, name tags. You really have to be careful whether you are on the phone with them, or get a text with them, or whether somebody from a company shows up at your door,” McNairy said.  

Finally, what happens if you realized that you got scammed?

“Just be careful. You can avoid being scammed by doing a couple of things: calling the company and verifying the employee, verifying the company or the promotion. And obviously, you will never make payments via prepaid card or wire transfer,” she said.  

Legal Lens airs Wednesdays on Fox 2 News at 6 p.m.

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