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Seven Summer Scams

If you’re adopting a pet this summer, stay alert for online scams by fraudulent sellers. Photo: American Ratings Corporation, 2017

Along with rising temperatures this summer, we’re going to see a rise in seasonal scams. I’ve been getting warnings from consumer protection agencies about what to watch out for, and I want to pass them on to you. You may have heard of some of these rip-offs before, but be aware that new variations always pop up and can catch even the savviest consumers off guard.

1. Magazine scams
This scam ramps up in the summer with young people going door-to-door selling magazine subscriptions. They claim they’re working their way through college and need to make a certain number of sales to earn points for scholarships. That’s not true. Most of the time, the orders are never placed with the publishers, and even if your order is fulfilled, you’ll pay too much for the subscription. Continue reading “Seven Summer Scams” »

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Hook, Line and Swindle

jay-unplugged-6-17-16My book club just finished reading and discussing a book called I Do Not Come to You by Chance, which is set in Nigeria and written by Nigerian author Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani. What’s fascinating about the story is that it takes the reader inside the world of Nigerian 419 scammers (419 refers to the Nigerian Criminal Code section that deals with fraud, charges and penalties for offenders). Such advance fee scams are simply a confidence trick: the victim is promised a share of a large sum of money in return for a small upfront payment, which the fraudulent operator says is needed to obtain the large sum. More fees may be requested after the first payment, or the fraudster will just disappear. Continue reading “Hook, Line and Swindle” »

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Savvy Consumer Tip: Avoiding Weight Loss Scams

Do you know how to spot a weight loss scam? Watch this video for some helpful tips.

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A Former Con Artist Gives Us the Inside Story

Take a look at this youtube.com video called Fraud: An Inside Look.

The Federal Trade Commission created this 10-minute video that shows you how easy it is to get conned. The deceptive practices range from making unsubstantiated earnings claims for business opportunities to giving phony references with people who are in cahoots with the fraudsters.

With the economic downturn, these types of scams are on the rise. If you’re approached with a questionable offer, the con man in the video suggests this one thing: “Fast no’s and slow yes’s. That’s all you have to remember.” Don’t get caught in their web and get pressured into anything on the spot.

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Magazine Subscription Scams

The Federal Trade Commission (http://www.ftc.gov), the nation's consumer protection agency, wants consumers to beware of telephone sales pitches for magazine subscriptions. While some offers may be legitimate, many are not. Agreeing to buy could result in years of monthly bills for magazines you don't want or could have gotten elsewhere for less. Or, you could end up paying for a magazine you never receive at all. How do you know if an offer is a scam? Words like "free" and "pre-paid" should alert you. And the caller may try to get your guard down by saying he or she is just calling to conduct a survey. To protect yourself: * Don't give your credit card or other personal information to any caller, ever. * Don't agree to anything you don't get in writing first. In some states, you're legally bound to pay for a subscription if you agree to it over the phone. * Before you accept an offer to renew a subscription, check the expiration date to determine if it really is coming up. (Check the mailing label. Or, better yet, call the publisher to verify and to confirm that the caller is actually authorized to renew your subscription.) * Tell the caller to put you on the company's "do not call list." If you get another call, hang up and report it to your state attorney general (www.naag.org) and the FTC. * Watch your credit card statements closely, and dispute unauthorized charges immediately. * Also beware of magazine subscriptions sold door-to-door.

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