St. Petersburg Times Interview: Heartland's Chief Information Officer
What Are Your Personal Identity Information Values?

BBB: The Top 10 Scams of 2010

During 2010, fraudsters and identity thieves targeted consumers with a variety of scams, to trick you into revealing your sensitive personal and bank account information. The Better Business Bureau listed the top 10 scams with the most complaints from consumers:

  1. Job Hunt Scams – Scammers try to trick job hunters into revealing their bank account, social security number, and similar sensitive personal data; and demand a fee to be considered for a job.
  2. Debt Relief and Settlement Services – Many bogus companies promise to help you get out of debt and demand upfront fees. The BB said debt-relief complaints rose 30% during 2010.
  3. Work from Home Schemes – These schemes vary: upfront fees to learn the secrets to making money online, assembling products at home, or get paid to be a mystery shopper.
  4. Timeshare Resellers – The BBB reported a 40% increase in complaints about the timeshare industry and deceptive resellers. The scammers typically demand large upfront fees to help you sell timeshare property, and the help is never provided.
  5. Not So “Free” Trial Offers – These include a variety of deceptive offers, such as free trial offers online for diet supplements, penny auctions, and money making schemes. Victims reported they were billed monthly for items and found it extremely difficult to cancel.
  6. Itinerant Home Repair/Roofers – Typically, door-to-door sales people fail to fix roofs or complete other home repairs promised. The BB reported a 40% increase during 2010 of complaints, driven in part by 1,000 complaints nationwide about American Shingle, which has since gone bankrupt.
  7. Lottery and Sweepstakes Scams – These often target seniors and demand that you wire a large cash amount upfront to pay for taxes for your prize. The scammers pretend to be representatives from legitimate companies like Reader’s Digest, Publisher’s Clearing House or a fake foreign lottery. The victim wires the money, but never receives the prize.
  8. Identity Theft – These include phishing emails, vishing phone calls, smishing text messages, bank ATM machine and gas-station pump skimming devices, or theft of your sensitive personal and bank information through a data breach at an employer, former employer, bank, or retail store.
  9. Advance Fee Loan Scams – Fraudsters promise consumers and business owners, who are struggling financially, that they qualify for large loans, but must pay large upfront fees first. The victims wire the money and never receive their loans.
  10. Over-Payment Scams - Fraudsters target people selling items online or perpetuate rental scams by submitting checks that overpay the amount requested, and ask you to wire the difference. The check bounces and victims are out the money wired back to the scammers.

How to protect yourself: there are entries in this blog that cover most of the above scams. Follow the above links to learn more. Attend National Protect Your Identity Week events that are in your area. Visit the BBB website to research a company before doing business with it.

Comments

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Kimberly Stanford

Scams can be prevented simply by doing research and not biting immediately on an offer. If it sounds too good to be true, most probably it is a scam. Do some checkings first before putting your trust on anyone. If you think someone is targetting you for a scam, then do not hesitate to report it to the authorities.

Linda

On my website I have a Information center and in that we bust scams on the Internet. I have posted how all about debt Tax relief scam and how to do what they claim they do for free. I just recently helped take down the #1 top affiliate Marketing software scam TRAFFIC PHOENIX that sold for $997.00 and more than 50,000 newbie affiliate marketers were scammed. I showed how to contact FBI, FTC, and explained the Implied Warranty of Merchantability law and how it is fraud to not give a refund for at least 30 days if software does not work (which this one does not)and how you need to go to credit card company and bank immediately and how to get around vendor no return policy and more. Also this is going to soon be on NBC news. This is being distributed in webinars and many still are being scammed. But through our efforts and others REFUNDS HAVE BEEN RECIEVED NOW. We have scared the sellers pretty bad. They are now doing some refunding and hopefully stopped the webinars but who knows it is being done through emails invitations all we can do is hope. Visit my site as there are more scam alerts there if you are considering Internet Marketing or affiliate marketing and you can also find places that are 100% good and legit to use there too. What we actually are trying to do is help hungry people who are trying desperately to make some money on the Internet not fall for the many scams that are out there!

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