"Predatory" Scams-Frauds-Cons





The objective of advertising is to sell you something, not tell you the downside of the product or service. A lot of commercial high end advertising is more of a GOTCHA than a SCAM. But beware, besides the crooks, even Fortune 500 companies will attempt to SCAM you.

  • Small type below main advertisement

  • TV Information disappears before you can read it

  • Get rich fast or secret to success

  • Credit approval guaranteed regardless of your financial background

  • Pay off your car trade no matter how much you owe

  • Zero percent loan

  • Asks for credit card, bank account, social security information

  • Going out of business or liquidation that goes on for months.

  • Free, pay only Shipping/Handling/Processing

  • Work at Home program



Precautions You Should Take   TOP


  • TV/Radio/Print Media usually only gives you half of the story, the better half

  • Small or light type below the main advertisement usually excludes things that are implied in the large print above.

  • Review terms and conditions. Buried somewhere might be conditions that entice you to buy something you don't want.

  • Shouting at you on TV, may mean lower quality or there are strings attached.

  • Paid high profile spokespeople such as actors, sports personalities and politicians that make specific claims. Since you're familiar with them they might be more believable, but but what makes them an expert?


Investment Opportunities You Should Avoid   TOP

  • Online money-making scams are really survey panel advertisements. Companies want to pay you money to test products, provide opinions and provide information used for marketing.

  • If a web page promises thousands of dollars/month without any effort from you, turn away immediately.

  • Success quotes and posts from other people "just like you"

  • Get rich offers, drop-ship games, run surveys and work at home offers usually require you to put money up front-DON'T BE LURED IN!

  • Get rich quick schemes require you buy books, tapes or other material. Makes you wonder if someone can get you rich why don't they just use the technique themselves.

  • Watch out for exotic investments as a way to make money, such as investing in satellites, gold mines or ostrich farms, are typically fake.

  • Don't buy products or services that tout what they're selling as "hot" or as an incredible investment opportunity.

What a Deal You Won't Get   TOP


  • Manufacturers' claims may be overstated just to draw you in.

  • Testimonials, except from true review sites, may not provide a realistic evaluation of the product/service

  • Watch out for anyone who wants to act as your agent to promote your business or service or sell any rights you own and charge an upfront fee even if they guaranteeing results (which they cant).

  • Considering signing with someone to manage your advertising, verify references and investigate.

  • Little effort involved! Companies will not pay thousands of dollars per month to multiple users for little to no effort. This also applies for testimonial sections. Frequently, the (falsified) testimonials will be labeled with a first name, last initial and vague location, coupled with nothing but glowing praise.

  • You should never have to pay up-front to receive services.

  • Watch out for advertising guarantees. No legitimate advertiser can guarantee results.

  • Don't be moved from a low-priced "bait" to an expensive "switch"

Get It Free-Yeh Sure   TOP


  • Search the Web page thoroughly for a paywall; an area beyond which you can't go past without paying a fee.

  • Charging for information that you can get elsewhere for free.

Plain Out Scams   TOP

  • Telefraud, is where one receives a call from a company claiming payment for an advertisement placed in a magazine, journal or register which never really occurred or you didn't make.

  • In most states, if you received something you didn't order, you are under no obligation to pay for it or send it back. Think of it as a gift. However, be careful, that if you asked for a sample, you also didn't agree at that time to receive and pay for the item.

  • Beware of "offer" pages. If you see a page that reads "you must complete X amount of offers to qualify," it is a disguised advertisement and signup page for various offers such as magazines, online subscriptions or items.

  • Look at the website design. If you spot copy editing errors or if the design includes lots of bright colors, highlighted words or exclamation points, you've likely stumbled onto a sales letter disguised as an employment opportunity.

  • Avoid sites that require valuable personal information such as credit card, bank account, or even social security info during registration. They are NEVER to be trusted


Examples Of Scams Or Gotchas   TOP


Even prestigious organizations will try to SCAM you. A letter was received from one of them with the bold words on the envelope, WELCOME BACK. The person never subscribed to the magazine identified. The inside continued to make you think you requested the magazine

A major company tries to make you think that they, company #1, is recommending the Health Care program of #2.  The explanation at the bottom of the advertisement uses difficult to read small white letters on a red background. If you didnt read it you might be left with the impression that # 1 is the sponsor of # 2 who they state is the insurer. The small print states that #1 allows #2 to use its name and pays a fee to #1. The small print caveat explanation by #1 states that it is not the insurer, does not recommend health related products, insurance or programs, they are not an insurance agencies or carrier and do not endorse insurance agents, brokers, representative or advisors and that #2 is not connected or endorsed by the Federal Government or the Federal Medicare program.

The advertisement which has been run many times in USA Today with the Headlines State Residents set to get new portable heaters being released by Zip Code Except for three State which they probably can not sell in, pretty much all the Zip codes in the USA are covered. The advertisement states that this offer is only available for 48 hours to the first 6,049 callers. Other papers carry the same type advertisement. In one case it was only for residents over 50 years of age, other would have to pay more This advertisement has been run many times before so the 48 hours is really a hurry-up or you will miss out message. The Better Business Bureau stated, They had 258 complaints closed in three years and 98 in th last 12 months. Complaints for this company generally concern slow delivery or non-receipt of product, difficulty reaching customer service representatives, delays in obtaining refunds after returning merchandise, product quality issues,  inability to get repairs or obtain replacement parts and advertising claims.

Example #4 A Consumers Story-Bait & Switch on A Cruise Line
I booked a four-day Bahamas cruise for two with a Cruise Line. The rate posted on the web-site was $132 per person plus taxes and fees for a total of $385. Before booking, I called Carnival to ask about required travel documentation and confirm the accommodation at the offered rate. The day after booking we got a call from the Cruise Line informing us that our rate was booked in error and to keep the booking we needed to pay an additional $224. Their representative did not offer any help in keeping the rate we booked, or offer to negotiate the additional amount. I asked her to send me documentation showing that the price we paid was an error and she said she had no such document.  I left a message with a supervisor, but have never heard back. The Cruise Line confirmed that the posted price paid was wrong and would not be honored, adding, "There is verbiage on our confirmations and on our site stating that pricing errors will not be protected (Interesting that a Cruise Line can make changes to a contract any time they want.)


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