Scams

Scams and Schemes to Get Your Money

We have a limited resource – it is called money. There are a lot of places to spend it and we have to be aware that there are individuals and businesses that thrive on our consumer ignorance. Hopefully some of the following will assist you as a consumer in becoming more aware of possible schemes, scams and other ways people will try to get your hard-earned money.

Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

Helpful Hints

What you need to do:

• Deal with licensed businesses
• Deal locally when possible
• Get everything in writing
• Pay with a check, not cash
• Only pay half until job is complete

Guard your:

• Social Security Number
• Bank Account Information
• Credit Cards
• Phone Cards

Know Your Scams

Bargain Repairs Usually Aren’t Bargains
• Driveway Repairs/Roof Repairs & Inspections/Painting Jobs

▫ Get several estimates for any major work.
▫ Deal with local companies and get references.
▫ Don’t be pressured into accepting a one-day only offer.
▫ Withhold full payment until work is complete and pay by check.

Guard Against Identity Theft
• Sign new credit cards as soon as they arrive.
• Never lend your credit card to anyone.
• Report any questionable charges promptly.
• Call credit bureau to report identity theft
Credit Card Scams
• Theft of credit cards and credit card numbers
• Pre-approved credit card theft Telemarketing Fraud
• Non-profit organizations
• Police benevolent funds
• Circus/Movies for the disabled or kids
• Magazines or common items
• Children’s books
• “You have won” – please provide
• “Scam recovery” scams
• Lawn Care/Snow Shoveling
• Know what you are paying for and what you are getting.
Too Good to be True Investments
• No one can guarantee a return on your investment.
• Make sure you understand the risks before investing
• Buy property only after you have seen it.
• Never assume improvements and services are part of the purchase.
Legal Schemes
• Mail Order Products
• Home Shopping Club
• Rent-A-Center
• Payday Lenders
• 0% Interest Until __ No Money Down
• Checking Account Fees—Check Protection
• New Car Leases
• New Credit Card Fees▫ Late Fee – $35

▫ Over Limit Fee – $35
▫ Interest starts from date of purchase
▫ Interest starts from date of cash advance
▫ Annual fees even if you don’t use the card

Slamming
The illegal practice of changing a consumer’s telephone service, either local or long distance, to a different carrier. • Check your phone bill each month.
• Make sure your carrier has not changed without your consent.
• Make sure you are paying the rates you have agreed to.
Get Rich Quick Schemes
• If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If it were that easy everyone would be doing it. Don’t Trust Your Health to a Salesman
• Be wary of exaggerated claims and “miracle” cures.
• Be careful of secret ingredients.
• Check with your doctor before buying anything. Fraudulent Prize Scams
• Prize offers should not ask for any kind of payment
• If you don’t remember entering, you probably didn’t
• Do not give out bank account numbers to secure a prize.
Work at Home Schemes
• Be careful if you have to send money to learn more.
• They promise minimum investment and big paychecks.
• If it were that easy, why isn’t everyone doing it?
Credit Repair Scams
• Credit repair clinics say they can remove derogatory info from a credit bureau file for a fee as high as $2,000.
• These places use time limit provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act to challenge info in credit bureau files.
• They can’t do anything you can’t do yourself.
• Review your credit report annually to check for errors.
Classic Scams
• Bank Examiner
• Funeral Chaser

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