Common consumer fraud scams

It is important to be careful and sure of the source before parting with your hard-earned money.

Knowledge is power when it comes to protecting yourself against consumer fraud. The following information may help you recognize some of the various types of scams that pop up all the time. It is important to be careful and sure of the source before parting with your hard-earned money. According to AARP, the seven most common consumer fraud scams are:

  • Internet auctions — Thousands of legitimate transactions take place online every day, but sometimes goods purchased online never arrive, or are less valuable than promised.
  • “Phishing” — Con artists gather personal information by asking consumers to “update” or “validate” their billing information, including credit card and Social Security numbers.
  • Foreign money offers — A “foreign government official” offers an opportunity to split a huge sum of money if he can transfer funds to your bank account — but he needs your account information.
  • Sweepstakes — This scam tells consumers they have won something, and they need to pay a fee for processing, taxes or delivery to claim their prize.
  • Charity fraud — This scam preys on the public’s generosity by soliciting funds for fraudulent charities.
  • Foreign lotteries — A call or letter tells consumers they have won a big prize in a foreign lottery, obtainable by providing bank account or credit card information.

• Work at home — This scam offers payouts for doing work at home by telling consumers they need to pay up-front for supply, training and materials to get started, but the money for these supplies is rarely recouped.

 

For a free AARP brochure, “The Top Frauds and Scams,” that helps explain these scams and offers tips on how to avoid being taken in by them, call 888-OUR-AARP or see www.aarp.org.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 25, Number 5, October/November 2006.

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