Beware of These Scams

Con artists rely on the hope “there’s a sucker born every minute,” as P.T. Barnum used to say. With today’s financial crisis, dozens of fraudulent schemes target Iowans who are drowning in credit card debt, have lost jobs, given up homes, and more. Make sure you or your business isn’t one of them.

Before you sign up for a credit monitoring service, work-at-home scheme, free trial, or government grant ploy, you should always research the service, business or salesman.

“While many of the scams on the list are perennial problems, some scams were distinct in 2009, because of the economic climate and scammers’ penchant for taking advantage of the top headlines,” said Steve Cox, president and CEO for the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

One good way is to check the “opportunity” with the state Attorney General’s office or the Better Business Bureau. A simple phone call to 888-777-4590 could save you thousands of dollars and much heartache.

Here’s a list of the top scams, courtesy of the Better Business Bureau.

  1. Acai supplements and other “free” trial offers for miracle supplements.
  2. Stimulus/government grant scams that say you can be awarded money.
  3. Robocalls (automated telemarketing calls) saying your auto warranty will expire.
  4. Lottery/sweepstakes scam claiming you’ve won millions.
  5. Job hunter scams, to gain access to personal information.
  6. Work from home offers.
  7. Mortgage foreclosure help and debt assistance scams.
  8. Mystery shopper jobs.
  9. Overpay scams, where you receive a check for more than requested, target small business owners or landlords.

10. Spam or phishing emails focusing on current issues, such as the H1N1 virus.

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