Friday, October 28, 2011

Top Scams of 2011

Where there is money to be had, there will always be con artists looking for new ways to scam you. Listed below are five top scam complaints to protect yourself against:

Skimming is on the increase this year. Banks have been reporting a huge increase in ATM rigging. Criminals attach a device to the ATM that collects the card information or traps the card so they can use it. When using an ATM, always check around the machine for anything unusual before placing your card into the slot.

• Along with other economy related scams, such as loan modification and foreclosure rip offs, work-from-home scam complaints are becoming more prevalent. Con artists will state that the job requires the purchase of materials to begin working and claim you'll be reimbursed on your first check. Legitimate employers do not charge you for information, start-up kits, software or anything else related to the position. A few popular types of work-from-home scams to avoid are assembly, marketing and stuffing envelopes.

Internet phishing is still a fast growing complaint with the advancement of more sophisticated malware and hacking of social networking accounts. These phishing scams steal your identity and financial information. Never open emails or links from unknown senders. It's also a good practice to change your passwords often.

• The simple, and less sophisticated, "doorstep" scams are easier to spot. Fake contractors, utility workers, charity collectors and others make the rounds from neighborhood to neighborhood. Simply ask the individual for ident ification, license number or a supervisors name and phone number to verify their identity.

Vacation and travel related scams mainly target those who journey abroad. Fraudulent companies will book the traveler in sub-standard accommodations or disappear with their money altogether. Be wary of unsolicited offers and promotions as well as unknown callers. Only use established, well-known company websites. If you are suspicious of a deal, research the company and offer before giving out your credit card information.

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