Thursday, October 13, 2011

Avoiding Fraud and Scams

How to Avoid Fraud and Scams

Hard times seem to draw out even more scams and scam artists than normal. Scammers prey on people during hard times and when our hearts are open after disasters and calamities. There are steps you can take that will help protect you and your family.

The Attorneys General in most States have websites dedicated to helping you avoid fraud and scam artists. I will not repeat those steps here, but I do urge you to use the websites available to you in your State to get information, report fraud and learn tips that will protect yourself and family.

What I want to discuss in this article is a particularly insidious scam that is prevalent now and targeting people during these hard times. That is job scams. There are different versions of the job scam, but they are all pretty much alike. In a job scam, part time work is offered to make calls, write letters or do some kind of "research". There may be incentives offered based on calls made, or other results obtained.

The people who pursue these types of 'jobs" are looking to supplement their families' income and do nice things for their families or themselves. Here's the scam part: after work is done, the scam artist comes up with some excuse not to honor their promise to pay for the part time work. Often they will turn it back on the unsuspecting person by complaining that the results don't merit compensation, or some other nonsense.

Wrong? Yes. Illegal? Probably. A scam? Most certainly. Avoidable? Most times not because many of these scams appear in the form of "affinity fraud". Affinity fraud involves a scam perpetrated by someone you know and usually from a setting that you trust, such as church or an organization you may participate in.

To protect yourself from a job scam, consider these steps:

1. Check everything out in detail.
2. Get all arrangements for your compensation and payment of same in writing.
3. Contact your local DA's office and your State's Attorney General Office to determine if the situation is legitimate.
4. Consider part time work from a trusted company or employer. Working for friends can be risky.
5. Contact your local BBB office to check out the situation.

These steps are a good starting point to help protect yourself and your family. Let me know your thoughts on scams and financial fraud and please join our conversation. As always, thank you for your interest.

Bernie Greenberg

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