Consumer Reports Names The Top Consumer Scams

Consumer Reports scoured the “files of dozens of government agencies, industry associations, and consumer groups that track crooked schemes” to find the scammiest scams around.

The results? Hilarious and informative. Here’s a list of the scams:

‘This car’s a cream puff.’
“You just want a reliable car for a good price, but unscrupulous dealers and salespeople have a host of cheap tricks up their sleeves.”

‘You’ve just won ….’

“You get an unsolicited phone call saying that you’ve just won some valuable prize or foreign lottery.”

‘There’s a problem with your bank account.’

“You receive a message via telephone, VoIP, or e-mail referring to a “problem” with your account that can be rectified if you give your Social Security number, account number, or online password to a bogus e-mail address or Web site, enabling identity thieves to steal credit in your name.”

‘This stock is at 50 cents and it’s going to 5 or 6 bucks this week. Buy now!’
“You get a voice mail about a “hot” stock tip that appears to have been left by someone who intended to call a friend but mistakenly dialed your number.”

‘You don’t need a physical to qualify for this low-cost health insurance!’
“An agent offers you or your small business a “union” health plan when you aren’t a union member.”

‘I’ll be back sometime soon to finish your roof.’
“A fly-by-night operator gets you to make a big advance payment and might even begin work. But then he delays, abandons the job altogether, or does poor work.”

‘This investment provides the guaranteed high returns and low risk that seniors like you need.’
“An investment adviser or broker promises above-market returns from a safe, low-risk investment to give your retirement savings a kick.”

‘We move U 4 less.’

“A mover gives you a lowball estimate, takes your household belongings, then holds them hostage until you pay exorbitant and unexpected extra fees.”

‘I’m a political refugee. Help me move millions out of my former country into your bank account.’
“Unsolicited e-mails offer the “opportunity” to share in a percentage of millions of dollars that a self-proclaimed government official is trying to transfer illegally out of a foreign country in return for bank account numbers or other identifying information from the victim.”

‘I wouldn’t go on vacation without this car repair.’
“Dealer or independent repair shops advertise a service at an unbelievably low price, but in this cheap trick the shop finds that added costly parts and service are needed, when they are often unnecessary.”

There’s much more at Consumer Reports. A great article to pass along to your gullible “gas boycott email forwarding”-type friends.

How do bad guys try to defraud thee? [Consumer Reports]


Edit Your Comment

  1. axiomatic says:

    Biggest scam: “Head On! Apply directly to the forehead.”

    There are tons of studies that say “Sportscream” or “Icy Hot” is more effective than this Head On crap for a headache.

  2. ncboxer says:

    Head On! Apply directly to the forehead. Head On! Apply directly to the forehead. Head On! Apply directly to the forehead.

    Head on is great! I use it every 5 minutes. I’m not sure what it does…. but it works great! Now, where did I put my brain…..

  3. gibsonic says:

    what about the “eye drops” scam!?!

  4. humphrmi says:

    My favorite (not listed): you list your car for sale online and get an onslaught of offers to buy your car, sometimes sight unseen. Then the offers turn into money transfer schemes… “I’ll send you a check for $10K, you take your $8K out and send be back $2K, blah blah blah…”

  5. Nytmare says:

    The way I understand the Nigerian money transfer scam is that your bank numbers are only a diversion, and they steal your money by getting you to send it to them by check or wire. Because you’ve got millions coming so displacing a few thou here and there is nothing to worry about.

  6. CumaeanSibyl says:

    @humphrmi: Yeah, that one hits eBay all the time, too, in various forms. A lot of times it also involves a form of money transfer that lies outside the general auction rules — money orders from strange banks, escrow services, et cetera.

    My favorite example of a derailed scam: P-p-p-p-Powerbook!

  7. SecureLocation says:

    Pretty lame shit from Consumer Reports. All this stuff has been covered a million times elsewhere.

  8. RogueSophist says:

    @SecureLocation: True, this is old hat to the net-savvy, but Consumer Reports has a pretty large “old-fashioned” (and often plain old, e.g., my parents) readership that could benefit from this information, and this article is in the print magazine as well.

  9. zsouthboy says:

    The “HeadOn” stuff is simply wax.

    Seriously. That’s all there is in it.

    Any effects, negative or positive, are placebo.

  10. OnceWasCool says:

    Let’s not forget Dr. Franks Joint and Muscle Spray.
    I got hit by it.

    It taste like old shoe sweat with sugar added. Then, a month later you discover that you are being AUTOMATICALLY shipped each month.

    Ended up drinking 3 bottles of that stuff and nothing. Placebo for sure!

  11. pestie says:

    This car is a “cream puff?” What does that even mean? Is that really good, or really bad?

  12. andrewsmash says:

    @oncewascool: Dr. Franks Joint and Muscle “Spray”? You were drinking something labeled a spray and were shocked by the bad taste? Maybe it was user-error.

  13. TCameron says:

    The P-P-Powerbook is great. I appreciate the “gas boycott email forwarding” -friend types bit, Hilarious. But seriously, don’t buy Milk on Tuesdays or Thursdays. With prices at four dollars a gallon, this is rediculous. We’ll get back at those money hungry cows! We can do this! Forward this to everyone in outlook, they’ll care.

  14. jrdnjstn78 says:

    I get emails about Bank of America.
    It says something to the fact that “my Bank of America” account has something wrong with it. Anywas I just delete it, I have no Bank of America account, never had and never will.

  15. acambras says:


    I get those from Fifth Third Bank, where I’ve never had an account.

    Delete, delete, delete.

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