How to avoid summer scams: Fake tickets, IRS threats, flood assistance

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Lollapalooza 2017 kicks off in just a few days. But music lovers should be careful if they're still looking to buy tickets.

It's one of many summer scams the Better Business Bureau is warning people about.

Steve Bernas from the BBB joined ABC7 News This Morning to talk about how to avoid buying fake tickets, scams targeting flood victims and bogus IRS threats.


BBB Alert: BBB Scam Tracker Shows IRS Scams Spiking Again

Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois has seen a recent spike in IRS collections complaints in the BBB Scam Tracker, and is alerting consumers about the latest wave of attacks. Victims report receiving threating calls from people posing as IRS representatives stating they owe money and will be subject to arrest if they refuse to pay.

Specifically, callers inform victims that an arrest warrant has been issued due to attempted tax fraud. Many victims are reporting receiving multiple calls, as many as 10 times a day, all from different phone numbers. If they don't answer, they receive threatening voice mails demanding a return call.

President and CEO of Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois, Steve Bernas, says: "Scams often repeat themselves and come in waves. This recent spike in IRS call complaints just lets us know that the bad guys are on the move again and are hitting hard. Being aware of scammer's tactics is key to avoid falling victim to IRS scams."

Bernas adds, "The IRS will never call and threaten you, and always make multiple attempts to contact you via letters in the mail before resorting to other methods of communication."

BBB offers the following tips to spot this scam:

-You are pressured to act immediately. Scammers typically try to push you into action before you have had time to think. The IRS and CRA will give you the chance to ask questions or appeal what you owe, and their first contact with you will always be by mail, not phone or email.

-Payment must be made by wire transfer, prepaid debit card, or other non-traditional payment methods. These methods are largely untraceable and non-reversible. The IRS and CRA will never demand these forms of payment.

For more information on tax scams and IRS calls visit and

You can find additional information on how to identify if it's really the IRS contacting you at:

Always report scammers. If you've been cheated, report the scam to authorities and the BBB Scam Tracker to warn others.

Search our databases anytime at no cost to find trustworthy businesses and valuable consumer information. Visit Follow us on Facebook, Twitter or add us on Instagram.

ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2016, people turned to BBB more than 167 million times for BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.2 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for the local, independent BBBs in the United States, Canada and Mexico, as well as home to its national and international programs on dispute resolution, advertising review, and industry self-regulation. BBB Serving Chicago and Northern Illinois serves 19 counties in Illinois.
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