After this week's earlier entry about hundreds of sites set up to get consumers hooked into recurring charges by signing up for "free trials," here's another tale of shady site of a decidedly different flavor.
Looking for a loan modification? How about a work-at-home opportunity? Perhaps a weight loss plan? Debt relief? Or just a way to get stuff cheap or free? Those are some of the areas where consumers get sucked in to scams fast and hard.
The sites look just like the scam sites and mirror similar efforts undertaken by the Federal Trade Commission to jolt as many consumers as possible into reality and help them avoid getting ripped off.
"There are so many people online looking for help in so many areas and there are so many scams in so many areas," said Consumer Affairs chief Barbara Anthony. "It’s a way of educating consumers in two ways: pointing out how vulnerable we all are to scam artists who take advantage of us and providing useful information for the problem they’re seeking to have resolved."
The sites link to legitimate state sites with guidance for consumers and explain how the scam sites set you up to get taken.
The loan modification and debt relief sites are getting the most traffic so far, Anthony said. She said it's amazing how many of these scams keep appearing. A site goes down and then another reappears.
"They’re like rabbits, they just keep populating," she said.
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About the author
Mitch Lipka is one of America's leading consumer journalists and advocates. He is an expert in product safety, recalls, scams, and helping consumers get out of jams. He is a nationally known consumer columnist and runs TheConsumerChronicle.com. He lives in Worcester. You can find him on Facebook or reach him at ConsumerNews@Aol.com