Biz Bits: IPad scammers already at work

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

BBB Watch

Scammers are busy devising ways to take advantage of early adopters to Apple’s iPad. The Better Business Bureau warns eager shoppers to stay away from online offers to become a "tester" just to get a free iPad.

"It was inevitable that scammers would take advantage of the excitement over the iPad to rip people off, just like they did with the iPod and the iPhone," said Steve J. Bernas of the Better Business Bureau. "Bogus offers most commonly claim you can become a tester or researcher and get an iPad for free. This is a deal that sounds, and definitely is, too good to be true."

Tech Web site recently warned about spam e-mails requesting product testers for the iPad. The e-mail directs to the Web site, which claims that they are looking for people to test the iPad for a couple months, as compensation you get to keep the iPad. The biggest red flag with this offer is that you have to provide your e-mail address and password in order to "tell your friends." 

Offers to become a tester on Facebook also cropped up but with a different intent. As software company Sophos explains in an online video, the Facebook page "iPad Researchers Wanted-Get an iPad Early and Keep It" was designed to trick people into signing up for a cell phone subscription service that cost $10 a month. Sophos alerted Facebook to the page - which had already racked up more than 3,500 fans - and it was taken down, but users should be on the lookout for similar offers.

The BBB also warns there are phishing scams consumers should avoid. The computer security company McAfee reported on their security blog that spam e-mails have landed in inboxes offering free iPads-the catch is that you have to buy items first and provide your credit card number.

For more advice, go

Tip of the Week

With the tax filing deadline quickly approaching, the Better Business Bureau offers the following tips for individuals still working on their returns:

- Check for missing, incorrect or illegible Social Security numbers, which can delay a tax refund.

- Taxpayers must sign and date returns. Both spouses must sign a joint return, even with one income. Anyone paid to prepare a return must also sign.

- File electronically instead of using paper tax forms to receive your refund more rapidly; by choosing direct deposit, consumers may also receive their refunds in as few as 10 days.

- Make any check out to "United States Treasury" and enclose it with, but don't attach it to, your return or Form 1040-V, Payment Voucher. Include your Social Security number, daytime phone number, the tax year and the type of form filed.

- Get an extension for your return. By April 15, you should either file a return or request an extension of time to file. Remember, the extension of time to file is not an extension of time to pay. 

- Be sure to keep all receipts and other documents and forms that were used in preparing your tax return. The IRS has three years to audit a return. They can audit you without limitation if you do not file, file a false return or purposely avoid paying taxes.

- If you notice a mistake on your prepared federal tax return, you can make changes by filing a 1040X. You have three years after filing to correct your return with this form.

The List

Here are the worst-selling houses markets in the United States, according to

10: San Diego

9. Atlanta

7 (tie): Cleveland

7 (tie): Cincinnati

6. New York City

5. San Francisco

3 (tie): St. Louis

3 (tie): Los Angeles

2. Denver

1. Milwaukee

Number to Know

8.2: Percent rise in sales agreements from January to February, according to the National Association of Realtors. This positive sign was a surprise, as experts had been expecting another decline.

Tech Talk

There’s an app for just about everything, and now there’s one for brides. The wedding planner iBride recently announced it now has an app for helping with your weddings. It’s only available through Apple at the moment, but the company says it’s working on making it available for all smart phones.

GateHouse News Service