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BBB Lists Top 10 Scams

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As with most of bogus deals, thieves play on headline stories to paint believable pictures of their offers. As a result, many scams that made the list are just old rip-offs in modern dress.

The Better Business Bureau recently published its annual list of the top 10 scams of the year. As with most of the bogus deals that scammers create, the thieves played on headline stories to paint believable pictures of their offers. As a result, many scams that made the list are just old rip-offs in modern dress.

Mortgage foreclosure advice that the victim pays for but never gets is a popular con, for example, along with non-existent guidance on how to apply for government stimulus money. Phishing, which involves authentic-looking but bogus e-mails seeking personal information, also made the list, with several using the spread of the H1N1 virus as a lead-in to the fake pitch.

Another perennial favorite is the lottery scam, which alerts the mark to a big but fictional lottery win. To collect the prize the victim must first wire funds to the scammers to cover “taxes and other fees.” In a variation, the victim gets a check, which he/she is told to deposit and then wire funds to the crooks. The check eventually is proven to be a fake and the victim is out hundreds of dollars.

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On a positive note, robocalls that touted extended auto warranties or ways to lower credit card interest rates have all but disappeared. The callers ignored do-not-call lists and angered thousands of consumers who got several calls every week. At the urging of Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who got one of these robocalls while in a Senate committee hearing, the Federal Trade Commission finally got into action, issuing rules that required callers to get written permission from the customer before calling. The new rules, along with the possibility of a $16,000 per-call fine, virtually ended the calls.


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