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.
Have you ever received an email boasting of great prices from an online pharmacy? Buyer beware! Many times these pharmacies operate outside of the U.S. and can take advantage of the lack of consumer protection laws. Many times these pharmacies will offer prescription drugs without a prescription, or offer to get you a prescription from one of there own doctors. The problem occurs when the drug you have received will be diluted, poor quality, medications that have been tainted, or are different drug all together. Some of these websites will start ripping you off by asking for a small membership fee, and some very personal secure information. With the prices for prescription drugs skyrocketing it is not a surprise that we would all look for better prices, but lets not forget that some deals are to good to be true! Here is a list of things to look for when using an online Pharmacy:
Make sure there is a physical address and phone number for the Pharmacy.
They boast of “No doctors prescription needed”,” or we will obtain one for you”.
Prices are unbelievable low.
Uses spam emailing.
Always check the credit card processing page has a https in front of the page address (the S stands for Secure and it must contain the S).
If you ever received a letter from the FBI on official looking letter head with the director of the FBI on it wouldn’t you think it was real. Maybe not but scam artists rely on the odds. If they mail out a thousand letters they may get back two responses and thats all they need. On the FBI’s scams and warnings page they give examples of how they are being used to target victims. Some of them involve claims of lottery winnings or of large inheritance (they will ask you pay the taxes and fees upfront). They also use letters and emails to extort money from the recipient claiming to be official FBI business. Feel free to contact the FBI by submitting an online inquiry, or at their contact page. The site also has scam alerts and a list of things to watch out for.
Ponzi Scheme is false returns on an investment in order to get the confidence of an investor. A scam artist may pay money out of their own pockets in order to convince an investor to give them more access to their portfolio. This particular scam relies on your natural desire to make easy money. This particular scam is named after Charles Ponzi who all though was not the first, was possibly the worst. At the beginning of the century he swindled around $500,000 from investors, and was eventually caught and spent three and a half years in prison. The scam has many variations and may look very different, here is some things to look for:
Any promise of a return higher than 0.1% return per day.
A request for a much higher investment after an initial successful campaign.
You have never heard of the investment company
The bottom line with investing and letting anyone have access to your portfolio is do your research. Scam artists are very clever and charming and can fool even savvy investors.
The way these get rich quick scams work is by getting you to give them your money. Basically you buy their program and they will teach you how to rip other people off. Its kind of like the add in the paper that says send me 5 dollars and I will send you the secret to making a million dollars. The secret is to put a add in the paper saying send me 5 dollars and I will send you the secret to making a million dollars. Sadly the target market for get rich schemes and pyramid schemes are the poor, the elderly, or people who are already in debt. And if you want to make money on a pyramid scheme you should start one yourself, otherwise you are just making money for other people. These are examples of common schemes:
Buy real estate for pennies on the dollar.
Wealth building seminars.
Risk free stock market schemes.
Muli-level marketing (pyramid scheme).
Secret ways to make money that no one knows about.
Psychic tips or betting tips.
Here are examples of phrases to run from:
Get in at the top.
Send us money and we will help you make money.
Business opportunities “they” don’t want you to know about.
I made $10,000 dollars in 30 days, you can to.
Make money from home.
Want to make millions working part time?
If I can do it so can you.
You don’t need any education.
Remember the scam protectors golden rule; if it sounds to good to be true then it probably is.