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Connecticut Better Business Bureau Releases Top 10 Scams of 2009

By Faye Mergel
Published: Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

The Connecticut Better Business Bureau recently released a top 10 list enumerating the different methods scammers rob consumers of their money. Analysts noted that the scams are aimed at the most desperate consumers—those who are struggling to find jobs, facing foreclosures, and fighting to keep debts off their credit report.

Connecticut Better Business Bureau Releases Top 10 Scams of 2009Howard Schwartz said scammers hit hardest when the economy was at its toughest, with many of the scams intended to deceive consumers who need help with their debts and credit report. When asked why scams proliferate, he explained that they do simply because they work.

Schwartz, the director for BBB’s Connecticut chapter, also noted that many scams this year were committed through the internet. For instance, he cited a scam where crooks send e-mails to Facebook users saying, “I saw a really good video of you,” and then they would entice users to click on the video’s “link” that only makes them end up installing malicious software on their computer. Advocates warn that is just one of the methods scammers employ as BBB recently compiled some of the most prevalent scams in 2009, enumerated below in no particular order:

  1. Lotteries and sweepstakes: consumers would receive a mail pretending to come from a reputable organization, such as the Reader’s Digest, and tells them that they must wire hundreds of dollars in order to claim the $1 million jackpot.
  2. Government grants: websites pretend to provide free cd’s to help consumers avail of government grant, but they only end up paying about $70.
  3. Robocalls: bombarding consumers with calls to get them into paying debts, which violates federal telemarketing laws.
  4. Job opportunity: work seekers are promised guaranteed work after paying hundreds of dollars. This scam may also require them to purchase a credit report and to sign up for an expensive monitoring service.
  5. Debt and Foreclosure Help: homeowners are enticed to avail free debt counseling services so they can avoid a foreclosure from ruining their credit report. However, they end up being forced to pay service fees.
  6. 6. Business scams: scammers pretend to send out more than the amount required in a transaction then ask the business owner to send the excess money back. The check will then turn out to be fake.
  7. Phishing: scammers fish out information by sending unsolicited e-mails.
  8. Work from home: schemes promising lucrative income, but victims end up seeing huge charges on their credit card.
  9. Free trial offers: links that force consumers to pay for unsolicited products.
  10. Secret shopper: consumers are deceived that they will be working to provide secret evaluation on stores.

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