Old-fashioned scams find place in high-tech world
If you know the treachery you might confront, you’ll be a lot less likely to become a victim.
So, the Better Business Bureau - which collects consumer complaints - compiled a top 10 list of scams that consumers faced in 2010, coupled with a cool graphic you can see online at www.bbb.org/top-online-scams.
“The world has never been without a good old-fashioned scam: The infamous, corrupt salesman, the oh-so-concerned mechanic - these are the people who should be winning the Oscar,’’ said Paula Fleming, vice president of the Better Business Bureau office serving Eastern Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, and Vermont. “Now that we have fought our way to the age of technological genius, scams have found a nice comfy home on the Internet and in places disguised as humanitarian safe havens that will put your life back on track.’’
Here’s the list:
1. Job seekers: Watch out for the lure of a great job, which results in a request for a fee, a bank account number, or Social Security number.
2. Debt relief: Pay a fee upfront and you’ll be free of debt. More likely, you’ll end up deeper in debt.
3. Work at home: You’ll either be asked for money or unwittingly become a fence for stolen goods.
4. Timeshare resales: You pay a fee up front. You’re out that money and still have the timeshare.
5. “Free’’ trial offers: Sign up for a “free’’ trial, but end up with monthly charges that are hard to stop.
6. Rogue home repairs and roofers: They collect an upfront fee with the promise of cheap work. That’s the last you’ll see of them.
7. Lottery/sweepstakes: Be assured that you didn’t win a contest you didn’t enter or have to pay to collect on one you did.
8. Advance-fee loans: Don’t pay fees in advance for the promise you’ll get something.
9. Overpayments: You receive a check that’s more than the agreed upon amount for merchandise or a service, and you pay them back the difference. They do it because their check is a fake and your money is real.
10. Identity theft: Giving personal information to someone who calls or e-mails you is a recipe for disaster.
Now you know the most likely ways to get scammed. So, please try to resist the temptations.
Mitch Lipka is a nationally known consumer columnist and runs TheConsumerChronicle.com. He lives in Worcester. You can find him on Facebook at http://on.fb.me/MitchLipka. He can be reached at ConsumerNews@Aol.com.