Especially in these tough economic times, the Better Business Bureau warns Americans to be wary of these top scams. We’ll hit the a few this week and finish off the list next week:
- Job hunt lures. These days all the talk is about JOBS, JOBS, JOBS! Unfortunately, further complicating the underemployment situation are scams targeting job hunters. These include attempts to gain access to personal information such as bank account or Social Security numbers and requirements to pay a fee to even be considered for a job.
- Debt relief and settlement services. Again, capitalizing on those in vulnerable loan positions find themselves fending off sharks. The council warned consumers in 2010 to scrutinize third-party assistance for getting out of debt. These companies often require upfront fees and potentially leave the consumer drowning in even more debt.
- Work-from-home secrets. Some promise to teach the secrets to making money online; others claim you can make money assembling items at home or get paid to be a mystery shopper. Some victims even found that their opportunity to work from home was a job to fence stolen goods. The end result is that instead of getting paid, you can end up losing hundreds — if not thousands — of dollars.
- Timeshare resellers. Complaints about the timeshare industry — including deceptive resellers — increased by more than 40 percent, according to 2010 estimates. Timeshare owners who are desperate to get rid of vacation property that requires monthly fees are being targeted by companies that claim they have an eager buyer. The company tells the seller they must pay up to several thousand dollars up front. After paying the fees, the seller never hears from the company again.
- Not-so-free trial offers. Misleading free trial offers online for diet supplements, penny auctions and money-making opportunities blanket the Internet. The free trials seem no risk but complainants state they were billed monthly and found it extremely difficult to cancel.
- Identity theft. A person can become a victim of identity theft in both low-tech and high-tech ways,
including theft and mail theft, e-mails, phone calls, text messages, or as the result of a corporate data breach.
The old cliché holds true—the best defense is a good offense. When it comes to identity theft, best practices suggest shredding is the highest level of defense for personal information. For more information about our on-site shredding service, check out www.hvshred.com