My name is Steve Brinkman, and I’ve had the distinct pleasure of helping the hearing-impaired for 12 years as Beltone’s Director of Customer Care. My team’s goal has always been to partner with our national network of 1500 Beltone offices to help ensure the best possible hearing care experience for our patients. Before Beltone, I worked for a bio-food gum company that produced a food additive to keep salad dressings “smooth” in consistency. I can tell you that at the end of the day, it feels MUCH better knowing I’ve helped someone hear better versus eat a well-dressed salad. In my role at Beltone, I speak with many patients every week. One of my biggest pet peeves is hearing about the many scams our parents/grandparents fall prey to on a regular basis. As an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau, with an A+ rating, Beltone is committed to promoting and preserving the highest standards of ethical and compassionate hearing care. Our Hearing Care Professionals even sign an oath to uphold our Code of Ethics, and I’m proud of that! Recently, the BBB published an article about the biggest scams that affect our families on a daily basis—via phone, email, and postal mail. I think it’s important to share these with everyone!
Top Ten Scams of 2012…
- Work-at-Home Schemes – account for 33% of scam inquiries received by the BBB.
- Advance-Fee Brokers – This scam attracts vulnerable consumers who urgently need cash.
- Credit Repair Services – These services “claim” to automatically remove negative information from your credit report, or guarantee to cut your debt.
- Foreign Lotteries – Promising instant wealth, these solicitations for foreign lotteries are illegal in the United States.
- Prize Promotions – Beginning with congratulations for winning a valuable prize or cash award, consumers are then asked to front money to receive the prize.
- Office Supplies – Telemarketers target small businesses by pretending to be a regular supplier, and then charge inflated prices for inferior merchandise.
- Pyramid Companies – This involves the payment of “returns” to existing investors, using funds contributed by new investors.
- Debt Relief Services – Use the names of government agencies and legitimate looking phone numbers, and attempt to convince consumers to wire money to a foreign country.
- Home Improvement by “Traveling Workers” – Con artists that move from state to state offering services for home repair or yard work at low prices, but then raise the fee substantially once the work is done, and use intimidation to obtain payment.
- Sweepstakes – Similar to prize-promotion scams, you’re required to pay money to collect your big winnings or exotic trip.