You see them all over the place on Craigslist, email spam, and even text messages (most recently for me). Claiming you can get rich by staying at home and doing very little. It goes back to the old saying if it seems too good do be true, it probably is. The low down is that many of these companies want you to first invest in a start up kit or give a franchise fee before you can start making money on your own. This should be your first indication of a SCAM. Or if not a full scam then a very shady way of doing business. On of the worst things about these scams is that they are preying on people who are already down on there luck and are searching for legitimate jobs. Let us not give them are emails, flag them on Craigslist, and make sure we unsubscribe any chance we get.
The thought of owing more than your home is worth or being months behind on your mortgage can make you easy prey for Scams. Many companies who appear to be legitimate saviors may end up kicking you while your down. One of the problems seem to be that the vultures know that most of us don’t read all the fine print or are to trusting to get a second opinion on what kind of a deal they are really getting. There are a few ways they can get you, one way is by having you pay them up front cash and never producing on their promises, or by having you sign over your home with the promise of returning it after all their fees and interest are paid. Here are a few tips on what to look for and what actions you can take to prevent Mortgage scams:
- Always be weary of anyone who contacts you that has no affiliation with your mortgage lender. Always check the credentials of anyone you are in business with.
- Never sign your house over to anyone without first receiving legal advice (you maybe able to obtain free legal advice in your area).
- Do not do give out any moneys in advance. Any legitimate company or non-profit organization will not demand payment up front.
- Watch out for companies who want you to sell your house and then rent or lease it back from them.
- Always keep in contact with your lender (you may not like what they have to say but it might keep you out of further financial ruin).
- Anyone who seems to rush you into making decisions or sign documents is a huge red flag.
- Never pay your mortgage to anyone but your lender. Even if you are convinced you are working with a legitimate individual or company.
- If it seems to good to be true it probably is
There are several agencies who can help you during your troubling time. If you have questions on finding some help you can contact http://www.hud.gov for an approved counselor. You may also check out your states foreclosure laws at http://www.foreclosurelaw.org.
We have all seen the signs on the side of the road or received an annoying email telling you you can “be your own boss” or “earn six figures from home”. We would all love to make a lot of money fast and easily but it is just not reality. Many of these SCAMS are pyramid schemes where a percent of what you make goes to the person who signed you up and you get a percentage of any one you signed up. Although you can make money with these you have to be willing to be a little pushy and possibly buy products from a specific company at no real discount. Other programs offer to help you get started as a medical transcription or a bill collector(usually called by a different name), but you have to give them an up front fee. Especially watch out for any scheme that could get you in trouble with you state licensing agencies, you can get sued or fined heavily. Here are some examples to watch out for:
- Signs or emails claiming to give you a way to get rich quick and easy.
- Programs that ask for a fee up front.
- Any schooling that can be done in a few weeks or even months from schools you have never heard of.
- People posing as a common business or Internet company you have heard of(Google, Amazon, ebay), it is easy to make an email look like an official business email.
- Know that people wont go out of their way to show you the secrets of their success without there being something in it for them. These businesses need you much more than you might need them.
Finally do your research, the Internet is a great way to find out about possible scam business opportunities. Do a Google search of the companies name and a search on that particular business(i.e. medical transcription, medical coding). Also feel free to send us an email and we can do some research for you. If you are interested in finding some legitimate ways to work from home check out a list from about.com and some tips to starting a home based business from entrepreneur.com.
Scams targeting your account information are getting more frequent. The ones I have seen are in the forms of emails, phone calls, or text messages informing the recipient that their account has been suspended and they will need to call a customer service number. Once they have you on the line they will want you to verify all your account information so they know it is you. Unfortunately on the other end is a scam artist probably in some apartment half way across the country with all your private information. They will say they are from a local bank in your area, in my case Bank of the Cascades and will just start contacting anyone in the area. In my case I don’t even bank at the Bank of the Cascades but they figure if they send it to 10 people they will catch 2. Here is a recent text I received:
“Bank of the Cascades alert: your card has been DEACTIVATED. Please contact us at 541-647-1133 to REACTIVATE your card.”
The only thing we can do is to alert your local police department and the bank you have received the text about. Some people can lose a lot of money before they can be shut down so pass it on to everyone you know.
Extended Warranty programs have always been highly scrutinized programs and many consumer advocates believe they are rarely worth purchasing. Most of the time the companies who will be contacting you by phone, postal mail, or email will be pushy salesmen who will feed your fears to get you to purchase one of their overpriced restrictive warranty. These warranties can often be 80% more than your dealership warranties and will usually cover less. The letters and emails these companies send out look like important notices from your auto dealership, and may even suggest they are in partnership with legitimate companies. We suggest you take your time making your decision, most legitimate companies (usually from the dealership you purchased your vehicle) will give you six months to a year to purchase an extended warranty, with that time decide if your vehicle is at high risk (excessive problems within the first few months, or lots of electronic extras). Here are a few things that may help you spot these sketchy programs:
- Pushy phone calls at odd times of the day (usually at night).
- Companies who wont let you see your service agreement without a down payment.
- Warranty renewals well before your expiration dates.
- Does not offer a 30 or 60 day money back guarantee.
- Demands you make a decision that very moment.
Most the time your best bet on extended warranties will be directly from your dealership or from the Auto manufacturing companies. Also you can get quotes from this BBB approved site (doesn’t always mean its safe) AAAutoWarranty.com. If you have already been the victim of one of these companies you can report the company at the Fedaral Trade Commision. Here are a couple of other articles you may find helpful at checkgook.org and MSNBC.
We all dream of winning a lottery and and living in the lap of luxury, in swoops in the scam artists! Many of these scams play off our dreams, and promises us an insiders chance of winning these fictitious lotteries, for a price. First and foremost lets get this straight, there is no way of improving your chances of winning a lottery, you have the same odds of winning as anyone else and those odds are usually astronomical. We are emotional creatures and that’s what these scammers live off of. some of these scams will offer you a better chance of winning a lottery or say that you have already won in some magical way, then they will need money up front from you to process your payment or need your bank account number to set up an account with the lottery. Many of these scams contact you through your email account (which can easily be acquired no matter how careful you are), phone number, or postal mail. If you have already been scammed you should contact your local law enforcement, your financial institute, and the US Federal Trade commission (FTC). Here are some tips to help you recognize lottery scams and an example letter.
- You have been contacted even though you have never entered a lottery.
- NEVER GIVE MONEY UP FRONT OR ANY OF YOUR FINANCIAL INFORMATION.
- Research the lottery you have been contacted about and make sure they have a physical address and a land phone line(not a cell phone).
- Don’t let your emotions overrule your common sense.
- Never trust any email, phone call or postal mail from anyone you don’t know.
MEGA LOTTERY INTERNATIONAL website: http://www.megalottery.com
INTERNATIONAL PROMOTION/PRIZE AWARD DEPT.
REF Number : MLI/231-ILGI0431/04
BATCH Number : EAPA/15/096/PTNL
TICKET Number : 20511465897-6291
SERIAL Number : 472-971103
LUCKY Number : 8-66-97-22-71-64
RE : WINNING FINAL NOTIFICATION
We are pleased to inform you of the result of the Lottery Winners International programs held on the 29th of April 2004 Your E-mail address attached to Ticket number 20511465897-6291 with Serial number 472-971103 drew lucky numbers 8-66-97-22-71-64 which consequently won in the 2nd category, you have therefore been approved for a lump sum payout of US$ 1,500,000.00 (One Million ,Five hundred Thousand United States Dollars).This is from a total cash prize of USD$15,000,000.00 Million shared among Ten International Lucky Winners in the Category A ( Plus )+ . CONGRATULATIONS!!!
Be informed that your documents have to pass our authority to obtain a clearance, which shall be attached to your Document in readiness of the subsequent onward transfer into your nominated bank account with 24 hours of completion of the authentication. Due to mix up of some numbers and names, we ask that you keep your winning information very confidential until your claims have been processed as the Beneficiary Certificate Ownership Winning Notification, Stamp duties and re-activation of Account of your prize /money remitted in readiness of the subsequent onward transfer into your nominated Bank Account is completed
This is in conformity with the latest transfer regulations signed by the Organization / Netherlands Government since this is part of our Security protocol measures to avoid double claiming and unwarranted abuse of this program by some participants. All participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from over 100,000,000 Companies and 200,000,000 individual email addresses and names from all over the world, through the aid of our insurance Company http://www.ballonetsl.hq3.com
This promotional program takes place annually. We hope you will take part in our next year USD$45 Million International lottery. To file for your claim, please contact our /your fiducial agent MRS CATHERINE BLAKE the DOLLAR ACCREDITED PAYMENT AGENT
Email : email@example.com
NOTE: That all winnings must be claimed not later than 30th of MAY 2004. After this date all unclaimed funds will be included in the next stake. Anybody under the age of 18 is automatically disqualified.
Finally, we call on you to make sure that you note every letter clearly as stated for we will not be held responsible should there be any complications in this transaction due to laxity on your part. So you are to expedite action in claiming of your funds, for delays will compel us to disperse your funds, in other words, we shall divert your funds as stated above. In order to avoid unnecessary delays and mistakes, Kindly remember to quote your reference number and batch numbers in all correspondence.
Furthermore, should there be any change of address do inform our agent as soon as possible. Congratulations once more from our members of staff and thank you for being part of our promotional program.
Mr Harry Herman