The LA Times says that recessions are boom times for scammers looking to take advantage of desperate people. They’ve listed 5 common scams that do well in a poor economy. They include bankrupcy scams, foreclosure scams, and fake home-based businesses.
- Credit Repair The Times says that the FTC has taken action on 70% (!) of companies that promise to repair your credit and have not yet found one that can actually “fix” truthful information on your credit report.
- Foreclosure Rescue This is a nasty scam. The scammers advertise with messages like “We can save your home. Guaranteed.” Then the scammer either tries to swindle you out of your mortgage payments in exchange for “negotiating with your lender” or they trick you into signing over the title to your home. Here’s some more information about this scam and how to avoid it.
- Hidden Bankruptcy Bankruptcy is one option that is open to you, but it has serious consequences to your credit that you should consider before going ahead with it. Watch out for ads that claim to “Consolidate your bills into one monthly payment without borrowing.” This is can be a secret code for bankruptcy.
- Free Lunch Anyone offering you a free lunch for attending an “information” session is probably full of crap. If their investments are so good… why are they selling them to you!? The Times says that an SEC report said that “about half the seminars it attended featured misleading claims, and 13% appeared to be engaging in outright fraud.”
- Home-based Businesses Run. Away. Never pay a fee to start a home-based business, however wonderful it may sound. Scammers will tell you that doctors need sub-contractors to stuff envelopes or help process their accounts. They might try to tell you that you can make money starting a website, or assembling crafts. They’ll charge a fee to set you up, and it’s usually pretty hefty. After you’ve paid your money, you’re on your own.
“Few consumers,” the FTC said in a warning statement, “are able to find clients, start a business and generate revenues.”
If you’re interested in starting your own business, go to your local library and ask what educational resources they have for people like you. Brooklyn, for example, has an entire library dedicated to the needs of small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Money scams don’t slow down in hard economic times [LA Times] (Thanks, Robert !)
(Photo: blue_j )