Make us your home page

Top BBB scams prey on those with money troubles

Word to the wary: There's a scammer who might be out to get you. That's the message from the Better Business Bureau, which recently released its 2010 list of the top 10 most-reported consumer scams. The annual list is based on complaints filed at 132 BBB offices. Here's the list:

Job hunting: Scams targeting job hunters include online attempts to steal personal information, such as bank account or Social Security numbers, as well as phony job offers requiring an up-front fee.

Debt-relief services: The 30 percent jump in complaints last year were primarily due to high up-front fees or no results that left consumers deeper in debt.

Work-from-home: Some claim they'll teach the "secrets" of making money online, others promise paid work assembling items at home or being a mystery shopper.

Reselling time shares: Time-share owners claiming they have an eager buyer. Sellers pay several thousand dollars to "cover fees," then never hear from the company again.

'Free' trial offers: In these offers for diet supplements, penny auctions and moneymaking schemes, consumers complain of getting billed every month and/or difficulty canceling their "free trial offer" contract.

Home/roof repair: Beware of door-to-door salesmen who fail to deliver on promises to fix the roof, patch the driveway or do other home repairs.

Lottery/sweepstakes: Victims receive a "congratulatory" letter or phone call claiming to be from Reader's Digest, Publishers Clearing House or a foreign lottery and are conned into wiring hundreds of dollars to cover bogus fees or taxes on their nonexistent "winnings."

Identity theft: It can happen several ways: mail theft, phishing e-mails, phony text messages, computer hacking, a corporate data breach.

Advance-fee loans: Victims are told they qualify for large loans but must first pay up-front fees, often more than $1,000. The victim wires the money but never receives a loan.

Overpayment schemes: These typically target landlords, small-business owners or individuals with rooms to rent or items to sell in newspaper classified ads or on Craigslist. The scammers overpay by check, then ask to have the extra wired back to them. Often, the check is forged and the victim is out the money.

Top BBB scams prey on those with money troubles 02/21/11 [Last modified: Monday, February 21, 2011 8:18pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Sacramento (Calif.) Bee.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Last orca calf born in captivity at a SeaWorld park dies


    ORLANDO — The last killer whale born in captivity under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program died Monday at the company's San Antonio, Texas, park, SeaWorld said.

    Thet orca Takara helps guide her newborn, Kyara, to the water's surface at SeaWorld San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas, in April. Kyara was the final killer whale born under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program. The Orlando-based company says 3-month-old Kyara died Monday. [Chris Gotshall/SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment via AP]
  2. Miami woman, 74, admits to voter fraud. Does jail await, or will she go free?

    State Roundup

    MIAMI — An 74-year-old woman pleaded guilty Monday to filling out other people's mail-in ballots while working at Miami-Dade's elections department.

    Gladys Coego
  3. Bigger ships carry Georgia ports to record cargo volumes

    Economic Development

    SAVANNAH, Ga. — Bigger ships arriving through an expanded Panama Canal pushed cargo volumes at Georgia's seaports to record levels in fiscal 2017, the Georgia Ports Authority announced Monday.

    The Port of Savannah moved a record 3.85 million container units in fiscal 2017, the state said, benefiting from the larger ships that can now pass through an expanded Panama Canal.
  4. Dragon ride in Harry Potter section of Universal closing for new themed ride


    Universal Orlando announced Monday that it will close Dragon Challenge for a new "highly themed" Harry Potter ride to open in 2019 — sending wizard fans into a guessing game with hopes for a Floo Powder Network or the maze from the Triwizard Tournament.

    Universal Orlando announced Monday that it will close Dragon Challenge on Sept. 5 for a new "highly themed" Harry Potter ride to open in 2019. The ride, originally the Dueling Dragons roller coaster, was renamed and incorporated into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter when the hugely popular area opened in 2010.
  5. Would you let your company implant a chip in you?

    Working Life

    Would you ask an employee to get a chip implanted in her hand? Sounds invasive and intrusive. But come Aug. 1, one company in Wisconsin will be giving it a try.

    Three Square Market - a developer of software used in vending machines - is offering all of its employees the option to get a microchip implanted between the thumb and forefinger. [Photo from video]