Scam Alerts

Posted 05/18/2015
Hackers Targeting Starbucks Mobile Users

Do you use a Starbucks application ("app") to pay for your coffee, pastries, or daily newspaper? If you do, you may be allowing criminals to siphon money from your bank account. The Oregon Department of Justice has learned scammers are changing the account passwords of some Starbucks customers and repeatedly transferring balances to themselves using an auto reload function available on the app. The number of transfers and the amount of money scammers could take is theoretically unlimited, as long as the customer has the auto reload feature turned on.

If you have the Starbucks app on your mobile device, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum urges you to immediately turn off the auto reload function.

"It is important to remember that allowing apps access to your personal and financial information opens you up to significant risks, like theft. If you do choose to use mobile pay services, I suggest using strong, unique passwords and making sure any auto-pay or reload functions are turned off. Protect these mobile pay accounts like you would your bank account," said Attorney General Rosenblum.

You should also remember to:
  • Not share your password with others.
  • Have a different password for each account.
  • Write down your password and store it in a safe place away from your phone or compute.
  • Change your passwords several times a year.

If you think you have lost money to this scam, contact the Oregon Department of Justice online at or call1-877-877-9392.

Posted 03/20/2015

Announces Top 10 Consumer Complaints List

The top two complaints included IRS imposter calls and magazine subscription fraud, with the IRS imposter calls drawing nearly double the complaints as the next highest category. These two scams were followed by complaints about telecommunication companies, motor vehicle sales, financial services, health related complaints, international money transfer schemes, home ownership issues, collection agencies and hair, nail and skin services. The full list is here.

Oregon has one of the most innovative consumer protection programs in the country. The program operates exclusively on funds recovered from businesses that break the law. In 2014 alone, Oregon DOJ obtained more than $2.6 million in refunds for Oregonians, without spending any taxpayer funds.

Health Spas

After topping our list last year complaints about hair, nail and skin services dropped 77%, thanks in large part to actions taken by the Oregon DOJ to hold the health spa Forever Young accountable for their unlawful business practices. Last month, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum fined the now defunct company $500,000 for charging customers for services that were never delivered.

IRS Imposter Calls

With a total of 1,340 complaints, IRS Imposter Calls caused a major headache for Oregonians. Looking to take advantage of 3 people during a busy tax season, scammers tell victims over the phone that they owe money to the IRS or Oregon Department of Revenue. The caller demands that the person pay the money immediately through a temporary debit card or a wire transfer. If the victim refuses to pay, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver's license. In many cases, the caller becomes aggressive and insulting.

Magazine Subscription Fraud

New to the list this year, magazine subscription scams accounted for 735 consumer complaints. Scammers solicit subscription renewals door to door or through the mail at a price significantly higher than the actual cost, and usually fail to ever deliver the subscriptions. The Oregon DOJ currently has an investigation open into this scam and has worked with several victims to recover their money.

If you think you have fallen victim to a fraud or scam, contact the Oregon Department of Justice online at or call 1-877-877-9392.