Scams and concerns: What you need to avoid!

Posted at 3:23 PM, Dec 18, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-18 19:17:16-05

This is our December newsletter about scams and consumer concerns we're seeing.
You can get the monthly email by putting your address in the box at the upper right portion of the Let Joe Know web page.

Happy December:

Here are the latest scams and consumer concerns we're seeing:

CHARITY SCAMS: It's giving time and scammers know it. Don't fall for charity calls or door knocks. You need more information before handing over your cash. I listed some charity-check websites below. Go there. Look at their 990 tax form. See how much of your dollar goes to the programs, and how much goes into their own pockets.

CONTRACTORS: Do you hire a roofer, landscaper or repair person because they popped up online or left you a flyer?  DON'T! What do you know about them? We're seeing more contractors with no license or a suspended license taking money and doing nothing. Before hiring, check license at , run an internet search on their reputation, and give as little upfront as possible.

SECRET SHOPPER: There are legitimate "secret" shoppers hired by companies to test their customer service undercover. But scammers are faking job opportunities as a way to make easy cash before Christmas. If you have to pay, or they pay you upfront, it's a scam. Find legitimate secret shopper jobs.

JOE LETS YOU KNOW: Black Friday and Cyber Monday are thankfully behind us. But I'm guessing you still have more shopping to do, and that you're doing some of it online. Protect yourself against scams. Go to sites that show https in the address bar. That "s" means the site is secure. Don't click on links in emails. Scammers could use them to get into your computer. And use your credit instead of debit card if you can. You have more protections to keep your money. Oh, and have a great holiday season!


The IRS scam is still the top scam we're seeing. That's for a really good reason--people keep paying! STOP IT! The IRS will never call, scream at you and coerce you into wiring them money to pay your debts. Just doesn't happen. Next time you get the call. Hang up, then block the number.

STORY YOU SHOULD SEE: Please share this story with your parents and grandparents. It's what can happen when fake computer tech gets into your computer. Here's the link.

WEBSITE YOU NEED TO KNOW: Before giving to a charity, check them out at charity navigator or guide star.