Made those New Year’s resolutions, Tampa Bay? Scammers are ready for you | #phishing | #scams

Be alert, consumers: Even your plans for a better 2022 might not be safe from scammers.

The Florida Attorney General’s office is warning that those well-intentioned New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, learn a new skill or save money might provide opportunities for grifters ready to cash in.

That commitment to work out more? If you’re considering joining a gym, the Better Business Bureau recommends taking a tour of the facility, resisting high-pressure sales tactics to join now and reading the contact thoroughly and carefully — because it will be more binding than any promise a salesperson makes. You can check a business out beforehand at AARP also warns of bogus weight-loss scams, especially those that call themselves revolutionary or claim you can eat as much as you want.

Maybe you’re resolving to pick up a skill or hobby like speaking a new language or raising tropical fish. If you’re hunting around online, be on the alert for phishing websites that pretend to be reputable companies so they can steal your personal and financial information. Consumer advocates suggest sticking to trusted websites, avoiding clicking on links from unknown sources and doing your research before purchasing anything. You can consult the Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker for previous reports or even google the name of a business and the word “scam.”

Thinking of investing as part of your new year’s plan? The Federal Trade Commission warns of investment scams that promise big money fast. Statistics and testimonials offered up can be faked, the commission warns, and consumers should take time to research any proposal, consider the risk and independently verify claims before putting up any money.

“The beginning of a new year is a popular time to set goals, but do your research before signing up for memberships or purchasing products to help you succeed,” said Attorney General Ashley Moody. “Scammers may try to exploit the situation to sell unproven products or just flat-out steal your personal or financial information.”

Consumer advocates suggest one more resolution: Being alert for scammers in 2022.

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