Schools, post office new targets for scammers

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The Better Business Bureau is warning area residents about scams that are circulating in Michiana. The first involves businesses and schools.

While a school sounds like an unlikely target, scammers are posing as representatives to place large supply orders by phone, and it's already been reported in Elkhart County.

A scammer will call a supply store pretending to forget account information. When they hassle a clerk for information, they'll use it to call back later and place a large order for computers and printer ink. They will ship that order to a third party address or the school itself. When it arrives at the school, the scammer will then call the school directly to explain a "mistake."

"This isn't just happening with schools," said Dreama Jensen of the Better Business Bureau.

"Other businesses have the same thing happening. Someone has a stolen credit card, and they'll contact a business and place a large order and have it shipped to them using that credit card number. It's shipped and then the thieves resell the merchandise," said Jensen.

Jensen suggests requiring all employees to follow protocol over the phone to avoid these situations. She also suggests confirming large orders with a number the employee looks up, not the number provided over the phone.

In another scam, thieves are posing as the United States Postal Service. They'll communicate via email or phone claiming a recipient has a package that was unable to be delivered.

According to the phony email, in order to claim that "undelivered package," a recipient needs to print off a supposed attached receipt. The receipt is not real, and will actually put a virus, fishing for personal information, on the computer.

"There are some things you can do to avoid becoming a victim of these scams," said Jensen.

"One is, don't believe what you see. Scammers make emails appear to be from a reputable source. They'll use a name you're all going to be familiar with. Just because it looks like a address does not mean it's safe. Be very cautious of unexpected emails that contain links or attachments and beware of the pop ups."

For more information or to report a scam in your area, contact your local Better Business Bureau.

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