It seems the news travels fast, and in New York, the police are definitely paying attention: After a report that a hot dog vendor near Ground Zero had been caught charging customers $30 for a hot dog and overcharging on other items like pretzels, water and soda, the NYPD announced they’ve served the wiener peddler with three fines for not posting prices on his cart.
You’ve probably never heard of Cody Foster & Company, even if you own items that came from them. They’re a wholesaler with no public-facing catalog. You have to be a small gift shop or large-ish chain like Anthropologie to even see their site. You can buy directly from the independent crafters and designers who claim that the company took their designs, mass-produced them in China, and sold them to retailers with no compensation to the original artists. [More]
Reader SkokieGuy’s manufacturing company keeps getting these emails asking to buy parts and equipment they don’t even make. The diction is weird and they seem to be using a template. “I know this is a scam,” writes SkokieGuy.”But I can’t figure out why.”
It was a horrible story. A man approached Liza on the street and said that he needed $6 because his mother had just had a stroke behind the wheel of a car and he was short on cash to pay for the tow truck while she was taken to the hospital. It was also a lie.
You can now add “pushups” to the conman’s arsenal you need to watch out for. A Raleigh woman says that’s what convinced her to sign up for $110 worth of magazine subscriptions from a desperate young door-to-door salesman. That and the fact that he said she could cancel the sale later, he just needed the credit on his record to earn a free trip to Europe and a grant to start his own company.
A woman from Berlin Googled for US citizenship application info and thought the site she landed on was an all-in-one place for taking care of all her forms. She forked over $680, and what she got back were forms she could have gotten from the government for free.
The fall harvest season is here. For some reason, that makes people want to pay large sums of money to go out and pick their own fruit. Delicious. Reader Jennifer wrote in to share her apple-picking experience this past weekend at two different orchards in the Midwest as a cautionary tale. Sometimes the businesses out to mislead you and rip you off aren’t monolithic global corporations. They’re a farm in the next town over.
Hear about some of my “favorite,” and the most recent, scams and swindles in this interview I did with Gerri Detweiler over on Talk Credit Radio. From the Black Money Scam to the wooden iPad, ripoffs are all around us. You rage at the conman, but also have to laugh at how audacious his gambits are, and marvel that they get pulled off again and gain. Plus, listen to the two things that, if we all did them, we could stop about 90% of scams from ever happening in the first place.
Reader Brian got a surprise $1,530 check in the mail and an invitation to become a secret shopper. The letter told him that he had been selected to become a “mystery shopper” and report on how local stores were doing. He would buy selected items from them and report on the process, and get to keep what he bought. Sounds great, who couldn’t use some extra cash, right? It all sounds so enticing because, as Brian was able to detect, it was the bait to lure him into an advance fee fraud scam.
Two women bought what they thought was a laptop for $250. Upon opening, it it turned out to be a packet of paper wrapped in black tape.
Contractors are banging on homeowners doors, promising huge savings for installing solar panels on their roofs. But after they’re installed and the customer has paid out big money, the panels have failed to produce a single kilowatt of energy and the salesmen have evaporated.
AJ’s office has been targeted by scammers who claim his company owes them for an “Online Yellow Pages” listing. They even have a recording they say is proof of an employee agreeing to the service. The clip is clearly a cut up and re-edited version of an employee saying “yes” and “no” to completely different questions.
It’s called the “black money scam.” The scammer shows the victim a briefcase full of black bills. The victim is told the money has been dyed black so that it could escape the notice of customs. But to turn the money back into usable cash, you need to use an extremely expensive solution, which the scammer is happy to sell for $100,000.
They stood on the corner of busy intersections holding a hand-scrawled black marker on yellow paper sign that said “Funeral Donations.” In the center of the poster was a picture of baby boy with a name underneath and his supposed days of birth of death. They said they were collecting money for his funeral arrangements. But after police responded to calls that the women were blocking intersections, it turned out to all be a sham.
A pregnant mother of two in Colorado and her husband are stuck making $1,114 a month payments on a house they can’t live in. Shortly after they bought their dream home, they discovered needles in the window well. It turned out their dream house used to be owned by meth heads, and the house was contaminated with meth residue.
John is interested in signing up for a currency trading system that says it will turn $10,000 into $100,000 in a year. The service says you have to try it out for 90 days before canceling and he’s worried that that’s just to avoid chargebacks. John should probably be worried about some bigger stuff than just a chargeback.