Posted Wednesday, June 23, 2010 in
If there is a disaster in the news, you can count on numerous scams bubbling up around it. The BP oil spill is no different.
The scams come via websites, e-mail, newspaper ads, phone calls, mailings and more. Con artists will find a way to contact you. Many times these predators already know a lot about you and know the best way to get you to “bite.”
The three biggest scams at the moment are “job offers” that pay well, selling of stocks of companies related to the cleanup of the BP oil spill, and asking for donations that supposedly go to clean-up efforts.
On June 15, 2010 it was brought to the attention of the Better Business Bureau serving Eastern Washington that a questionable job opportunity was circulating in Central WA on the Yakama Reservation. $40 an hour, room and board, and transportation to Louisiana were being offered to those who would work doing cleanup of the oil spill. The people doing the hiring needed names, addresses, and social security numbers. These people have been successful in getting this information from 500 people on the Yakama Reservation. Thus far the BBB and other authorities have not been able to determine if the oil spill jobs being offered are legitimately tied to British Petroleum (BP).
Before providing your personal information to anyone when you have not initiated contact, confirm that the company is legit. Be suspicious of anyone who promises you a job and who asks for personal information upfront.
If you “slip” and give your personal information when you shouldn’t, be sure to contact your bank or credit union, credit card companies, and the three major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority is warning investors to watch for stock scams related to the oil spill. One company in California was suspended by the Securities and Exchange Commission in May for questionable claims that their company’s technology to help with the spill cleanup was on BP’s radar. Don’t be pressured to invest without having the facts.
There are good charities, not so good charities, and bad “charities” asking for donations. Before giving, verify that it’s a real charity. Also, verify that the charity has the resources for be effective in helping with the cleanup. Remember, oil is a hazardous material and takes special handling.
What scams have you heard about?