Top 10 Scams for 2010

July 19, 2011

BBB reports the top 10 scams that are affecting U.S. consumers. This listing is based on the number of times people requested information and inquiries through personal phone calls or the BBB website, as well as complaints. These instances of service include inquiries and complaints about specific businesses. "We feel it's important that we caution the consumer to be very careful about certain scams", reports Andy Fisher, president of the BBB. "We've got a great number of scams in Shreveport/Bossier, more lottery and sweepstakes than the rest of them, and we just want people to be aware."

The following list of top 10 scams is compiled by 119 BBB offices across the country.

#1. Job Hunter Scams

Pitch: We will match you up with a perfect job that’s ready and waiting for you.

Target: Bank account and/or Social Security numbers.

Result: Victims must pay a fee to be considered for a job. Out of money they don’t have, still no job.

#2. Debt Relief and Settlement Services

Pitch: We will help you eliminate most or all of your debt (for a fraction of the amount you owe).

Target: Collection of upfront fee(s) in order to “settle your debts.”

Result: Potentially leave the consumer drowning in even more debt than they started with and completely ruin their credit.

#3. Work from Home Schemes

Pitch: Fire your boss! We can teach you the secrets to making money online, assembling items at home or being a mystery shopper.

Target: Employees tired of the same 9-5 routine. In some cases, they unknowingly work to fence stolen goods.

Result: Instead of getting paid, you can end up losing hundreds—if not thousands—of dollars or in legal trouble.

#4. Timeshare Resellers

Pitch: We will help you get out from under your costly vacation property and do it fast.

Target: Collect several thousand dollars to cover fees.

Result: After paying the fees, the seller never hears from the company again.

#5. Not So “Free” Trial Offers

Pitch: Try a free offer and never be charged - unless you want to continue the offer.

Target: Repeated monthly billings.

Result: The free trial offers seem easy, the consumer is repeatedly billed every month and is difficult to cancel.

#6. Rogue Home Repair/Roofers

Pitch: We can get that tree out with half down, and fix your roof for a fraction of what that guy is going to charge you.

Target: Initial upfront fee(s) to get the job started.

Result: Homeowners are often stuck with either an unfinished or never started project and are out the initial money as well.

#7. Lottery and Sweepstakes Scams

Pitch: You have won a large lottery or sweepstakes and just have to cover taxes before receiving your money.

Target: Payment under the guise of “covering taxes” or other bogus “fees.”

Result: The victim wires the money, but the prize or money never arrives.

#8. Advance-Fee Loan Scams

Pitch: You or your business qualifies for a large loan but you must pay some upfront fees.

Target: Initial upfront fee(s) - often more than a thousand dollars.

Result: The victim wires ‘the fee’ to the scammers but never receives the loan.

#9. Over-Payment Scams

Pitch: Oops, I accidentally sent you too much money, would you please wire some back?

Target: Any amount of money that is wired back.

Result: Transaction is reversed, and the victim is out the money wired back to the scammers.

#10. Identity Theft

Pitch: Hi, this is a very legitimate business, we need to confirm some information today, is that ok?

Target: Gathering personal sensitive information to open lines of credit or just straight stealing money from the victim’s account.

Result: Victim is left spending countless hours trying to repair all of the damage