Economic stress brings out scammers

The Consumer Federation of America tracks how Americans fall prey to schemes. Thanks to our recent economic times of stress, more consumers got duped looking for easy ways to make or borrow money last year.
To protect yourself from scams, think before you buy and check out “opportunities” with your local Better Business Bureau–when in doubt, check it out.
These were the top 10 scams for 2009:
  1. Auto: Misrepresentations in advertising or sales of new and used cars; lemons; faulty repairs; leasing and towing disputes
  2. Credit/Debt: Billing and fee disputes; mortgage-related fraud; credit repair; debt relief services; predatory lending; illegal or abusive debt collection tactics
  3. Home Improvement/Construction: Shoddy work; failure to start or complete the job
  4. Utilities: Service problems or billing disputes with phone, cable, satellite, Internet, electric and gas services
  5. Retail Sales: False advertising and other deceptive practices; defective merchandise; problems with rebates, coupons, gift cards and gift certificates; failure to deliver
  6. Services: Misrepresentations; shoddy work; failure to have required licenses; failure to perform
  7. Internet Sales: Misrepresentations or other deceptive practice; failure to deliver online purchases
  8. Household Goods: misrepresentations; failure to deliver; faulty repairs in connection with furniture or appliances
  9. (tie) Landlord/Tenant: Unhealthy or unsafe conditions; failure to make repairs or provide promised amenities; deposit and rent disputes; illegal eviction tactics; Home Solicitations: Misrepresentations or failure to deliver in door-to-door, telemarketing or mail solicitations; do-not-call violations
  10. Health Products/Services: misleading claims; unlicensed practitioners; failure to deliver
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