21 Scams That Could Cost You Big Money
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Victory State Bank continuously seeks to educate consumers and business people about scams. Fraudsters never cease to attempt swindling unsuspecting people in new ways.
And nowadays, such thieves reach out to potential victims through various communication vehicles, including the Internet and online social media.
To help you guard against scams, we are sharing the following information from Consumer Reports:
The economy may be struggling but the fraud business is booming. Although comprehensive data aren’t kept, the fingerprints of a crime wave are all over. Fraud and identity-theft complaints tracked by the Federal Trade Commission topped 1.2 million last year, up 19 percent over 2010 and 800 percent since 2000.
Moreover, the FBI says fraud involving investments, mortgages, and the Internet is growing. Government takedowns of multimillion-dollar schemes are common.
“Fraud is as high as it’s ever been, because the scam artists are using brand-new channels and technology that didn’t exist 15 years ago,” says Martha Deevy, director of the Financial Fraud Research Center at Stanford University’s Center on Longevity. The center estimates the measurable direct cost of financial fraud to Americans to be $40 billion to $50 billion a year.
Experts also say the need for law enforcement to pursue terrorists has shifted FBI resources from fraud cases. “After 9/11 the scammers realized, ‘This is our time,’” says Doug Templeton, chief investigator for the Pinellas County (Fla.) Department of Justice and Consumer Services, who has tracked criminals in the state for 13 years.
David Vladeck, director of the bureau of consumer protection at the FTC, says, “What we’re seeing is ‘last dollar’ fraud aimed at taking the last dollar from the unemployed or underemployed.”
Like a good novel, a scam is all about the story. It must be convincing and, above all, new. Consequently, con artists change their techniques to respond to changing consumer awareness, says the latest threat assessment by the International Mass-Marketing Fraud Working Group.
We interviewed experts, scoured the complaint files of regulatory and consumer-protection agencies, and followed our readers’ tip-offs to present the latest frauds making the rounds—and some of the classics. Here’s what to watch out for. READ MORE …