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Top 10 Scams and Rip-Offs of 2010

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Top 10 Scams and Rip-Offs of 2010

A few new scams and rip-offs were added to the annual list of the top 10 scams and rip-offs in 2010, primarily due to high unemployment and tough economic times, according to Stephen A. Cox, President and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. “With the economy still on the mend, scammers had a field day targeting struggling families who were looking for work and trying to make ends meet,” he said.The annual report, based on inquiries and complaints filed at Better Business Bureau locat
Photo: James Lauritz | Digital Vision | Getty Images

A few new scams and rip-offs were added to the Better Business Bureau's annual list of the top 10 scams and rip-offs in 2010, primarily due to high unemployment and tough economic times, according to Stephen A. Cox, President and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

“With the economy still on the mend, scammers had a field day targeting struggling families who were looking for work and trying to make ends meet,” he said.

The annual report, based on inquiries and complaints filed at Better Business Bureau locations around the country found that job hunters and those struggling to make money and get out of debt were common targets of fraudsters, hackers and deceptive businesses in 2010.

Following, in no particular order, is BBB’s list of schemes that took advantage of consumers and small business owners across the country. Click ahead to see the top 10 scams and rip-offs for 2010.

By Constance Parten, Senior Producer
Posted 24 Jan 2011

Job Hunter Scams

Scams targeting job hunters vary and include attempts to gain access to personal information such as bank account or social security numbers and requirements to pay a fee in order to even be considered for the job.

Scams targeting job hunters vary and include attempts to gain access to personal information such as bank account or social security numbers and requirements to pay a fee in order to even be considered for the job.

Source: Better Business Bureau

Debt Relief and Settlement Services

Better Business Bureau warned consumers in 2010 to seriously consider third-party assistance for getting out of debt. These companies often require upfront fees and potentially leave the consumer drowning in even more debt. Complaints to BBB about debt relief and settlement services increased by approximately 30 percent in 2010, according to tentative year-end estimates, making it one of this year's new scams to make the top 10 list.
Photo: Christine Balderas | Photodisc | Getty Images

Better Business Bureau warned consumers in 2010 to seriously consider third-party assistance for getting out of debt. These companies often require upfront fees and potentially leave the consumer drowning in even more debt. Complaints to BBB about debt relief and settlement services increased by approximately 30 percent in 2010, according to tentative year-end estimates, making it one of this year's new scams to make the top 10 list.

Source: Better Business Bureau

Work from Home Schemes

Some work-from-home schemes promise to teach the secrets to making money online, others claim you can make money assembling items at home or get paid to be a mystery shopper. Some victims even found that their opportunity to work from home was a job to fence stolen goods. The end result is that instead of getting paid, you can end up losing hundreds—if not thousands—of dollars.
Photo: Paul Taylor | Riser | Getty Images

Some work-from-home schemes promise to teach the secrets to making money online, others claim you can make money assembling items at home or get paid to be a mystery shopper. Some victims even found that their opportunity to work from home was a job to fence stolen goods. The end result is that instead of getting paid, you can end up losing hundreds—if not thousands—of dollars.

Source: Better Business Bureau

Timeshare Resellers

Complaints to the BBB about the timeshare industry—including deceptive resellers—increased by over 40 percent according to 2010 estimates, leading to this scam's entry to the top 10 list.Timeshare owners who are desperate to get rid of their costly vacation property are being targeted by companies that claim they have an eager buyer. The company tells the seller they just have to pay up to several thousand dollars to cover fees. After paying the fees, the seller never hears from the company agai
Photo: Panoramic Images | Getty Images

Complaints to the BBB about the timeshare industry—including deceptive resellers—increased by over 40 percent according to 2010 estimates, leading to this scam's entry to the top 10 list.

Timeshare owners who are desperate to get rid of their costly vacation property are being targeted by companies that claim they have an eager buyer. The company tells the seller they just have to pay up to several thousand dollars to cover fees. After paying the fees, the seller never hears from the company again.

Source: Better Business Bureau

Not-So-Free Trial Offers

Misleading free trial offers online for diet supplements, penny auctions and money making schemes blanket the internet resulting in thousands of complaints ever year. The free trial offers seem no-risk but complainants state they were repeatedly billed every month and found it extremely difficult to cancel.
Photo: Goon Squad Sarah

Misleading free trial offers online for diet supplements, penny auctions and money making schemes blanket the internet resulting in thousands of complaints ever year. The free trial offers seem no-risk but complainants state they were repeatedly billed every month and found it extremely difficult to cancel.

Source: Better Business Bureau

Itinerant Home Repair/Roofers

BBBs across the country received complaints from consumers who answered a knock from a door-to-door salesman or itinerant worker who eventually failed to deliver on promises to fix their roof or conduct other work to the home. Complaints to BBB about roofing companies increased by roughly 40 percent in 2010, according to tentative estimates, due in part to one company, American Shingle, that solicited door to door and received nearly 1,000 complaints nationwide after going bankrupt and not provi
Photo: Philip and Karen Smith | Iconica | Getty Images

BBBs across the country received complaints from consumers who answered a knock from a door-to-door salesman or itinerant worker who eventually failed to deliver on promises to fix their roof or conduct other work to the home.

Complaints to BBB about roofing companies increased by roughly 40 percent in 2010, according to tentative estimates, due in part to one company, American Shingle, that solicited door to door and received nearly 1,000 complaints nationwide after going bankrupt and not providing new roofs to angry customers. It was enough to move this category of scams into the top 10 for the first time.

Source: Better Business Bureau

Lottery and Sweepstakes Scams

The victim—often a senior citizen—receives a letter in the mail or phone call from someone pretending to be with Reader’s Digest, Publisher’s Clearing House or a phony foreign lottery. The scammer claims that the victim has won millions but must first wire hundreds or even thousands of dollars back to the scammers to cover taxes or some other bogus fee. The victim wires the money, but the prize never arrives.
Photo: Stephen Stickler | Taxi | Getty Images

The victim—often a senior citizen—receives a letter in the mail or phone call from someone pretending to be with Reader’s Digest, Publisher’s Clearing House or a phony foreign lottery. The scammer claims that the victim has won millions but must first wire hundreds or even thousands of dollars back to the scammers to cover taxes or some other bogus fee. The victim wires the money, but the prize never arrives.

Source: Better Business Bureau

Identity Theft

With as much press as identity theft has had in recent years, you'd think it would be on the BBB's top 10 list every year. Not so. Identity theft wasn't in the top 10 last year.There are any number of ways a person can become a victim of identity theft. Through low-tech theft, phishing emails, vishing phone calls, smishing text messages, or even through no fault of your own as the result of a corporate data breach, millions fall victim to identity theft every year.
Photo: Tom Grill | Photographer’s Choice RF | Getty Images

With as much press as identity theft has had in recent years, you'd think it would be on the BBB's top 10 list every year. Not so. Identity theft wasn't in the top 10 last year.

There are any number of ways a person can become a victim of identity theft. Through low-tech theft, phishing emails, vishing phone calls, smishing text messages, or even through no fault of your own as the result of a corporate data breach, millions fall victim to identity theft every year.

Source: Better Business Bureau

Advance Fee Loan Scams

A perennial problem, advance fee loan scams prey on consumers and business owners who are struggling financially. Victims are told they qualify for large loans but must pay upfront fees—often more than a thousand dollars. The victim wires money to the scammers, but never receives the loan.
Photo: Andrea Bricco | Brand X Pictures | Getty Images

A perennial problem, advance fee loan scams prey on consumers and business owners who are struggling financially. Victims are told they qualify for large loans but must pay upfront fees—often more than a thousand dollars. The victim wires money to the scammers, but never receives the loan.

Source: Better Busines Bureau

Over-Payment Scams

Over-payment scams typically target small business owners, landlords or individuals with rooms to rent and sellers on classifieds or sites like Craigslist. The scammers overpay the amount for the services or products and then ask the victim to wire the extra amount back to them or to another fraudulent entity. Ultimately though, the check is forged and the victim is out the money wired back to the scammers.
Photo: Pete Gardner | Digital Vision | Getty Images

Over-payment scams typically target small business owners, landlords or individuals with rooms to rent and sellers on classifieds or sites like Craigslist. The scammers overpay the amount for the services or products and then ask the victim to wire the extra amount back to them or to another fraudulent entity. Ultimately though, the check is forged and the victim is out the money wired back to the scammers.

Source: Better Business Bureau

Top 10 Scams and Rip-Offs of 2010

Top 10 Scams and Rip-Offs of 2010

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