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Fraud And Scam Warnings To Consumers From the Better Business Bureau

A couple warnings to consumers so you don't get "mugged," become a fraud victim, or pay more than you have to. First, the BBB advises consumers to read the fine print at online social media sites, especially Facebook, since:

"... the large print doesn’t always tell the whole story... in January, BBB issued a warning to consumers about online ads and Web sites that use Oprah’s name to sell acai berry supplements as weight-loss miracles... these ads are still common on Facebook and MySpace and link to fake blogs such as www.jennylosesweight.com that are designed to look like testimonials of women who lost weight on the acai supplements... The phony blogs link to Web sites that offer a free trial of an acai supplement, and while the customer may think they only have to pay shipping, they could get billed as much as $87.13 every month if they don’t cancel before the trial period ends."

Another scam consumers should be aware of:

"There are many ads on Facebook that advertise ways to make easy money from home... the ads link to blogs that were supposedly created by people who made money through a work-at-home program. One such blog written by a “Sarah Roberts” claims that she added “$67,000 a year to my family’s income working 10 hours a week... The blogs direct readers to Web sites for programs such as Internet Money Machine and Easy Google Cash where they can sign up for a seven-day trial access to information on how to make money from home. While the free trial supposedly only costs $1.95-$2.95, the individual will be charged $69.90 every month..."

Be sure to follow the above link to learn about more scams. Second, the BBB warns consumers about automated phone calls offering lower credit card interest rates:

"Consumers across the U.S. and Canada are sounding off to Better Business Bureaus about incessant automated telemarketing calls promising to lower interest rates on their credit cards. Not only are the calls a nuisance and violate U.S. and Canadian Do-Not-Call laws, but some companies behind the calls are ripping off consumers by charging large up-front fees to negotiate lower interest rates with credit card companies — something consumers can do on their own for free... After the initial recorded message, consumers must dial another number to be connected to a live person. The live “operator” usually starts the sales pitch by asking for the consumer’s credit card number and whether the consumer is interested in lowering their interest rates. From there, callers begin closing the sale, asking if the consumer is willing to pay – usually from $700 to $1,000 - to have their firm contact the credit card company and negotiate lower rates."

About telephone offers, the BBB advises consumers to:

"Never give personal information, including Social Security, bank or credit card numbers, over the phone to an unknown telemarketer. Always research the company first by reviewing its Reliability Report at www.bbb.org.; When considering any company offering any type of financial assistance, insist on getting a contract in which all terms and conditions are clearly explained before signing up or providing credit card or other payment information; U.S. consumers can place their home phone number on the federal Do Not Call list by visiting www.donotcall.gov. If the consumer’s number is already on the list but continues to receive telemarketing calls—or is receiving robocalls on a cell phone—he or she can use the same Web site to report the incident to the FTC. Canadian consumers can learn more at www.lnnte-dncl.gc.ca.

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