"Predatory" Scams-Frauds-Cons



Many legitimate companies use the telephone for marketing and it's sometimes hard to tell the difference between reputable telemarketers and illegal ones. If it sounds too good to be true its probably a Scam.

  • You can't afford to miss this 'high-profit, no-risk' offer.

  • You must act 'now' or the offer won't be good

  • You'll get a loan regardless of your credit history.

  • You've won a 'free' prize/vacation/magazine, just pay shipping and handling.

  • Pay upfront to get a loan

  • Search services guarantee you'll receive Scholarship/Grant

  • Stock going up tomorrow recommend you buy now

  • Telemarketer calls before 8 AM or after 7 PM

  • Credit card offers gold/silver cards from major card issuers

  • Home-based work with big earnings


  • Deposit a check from someone you don't know and then wire excess money back

  • Uses prizes as incentives to get you to continue to buy merchandise

  • You've won a foreign lottery you didn't enter

  • Encouraged to buy without giving you your total costs

  • Wiring money (Is like sending cash. You have no protections against loss)

  • Don't call phone numbers left on your answering machine if you don't know who it is

  • Don't buy from an unfamiliar company

  • You can make money with little or no effort

  • Your loan is guaranteed



Precautions You Should Take   TOP


  • Callers who say "Bad credit? No problem!" or "No hassle guaranteed!"

  • No one can erase negative information from your credit report if it's accurate. Beware of callers who say they can. 

  • Government agency, a private company, or a consumer organization that could recover money you lost or a product or prize that hasn't been delivered yet - for a fee.

  • Companies ask for money up front and then solicit more fees while making promises to help the businesses get through the federal funding process.

  • Companies names that sound like well-known or respected organizations and create websites that look slick.

  • Government grants never require fees of any kind, but do require application process, never given over the phone and are never guaranteed.

  • Don't be fooled by official or impressive-sounding names. 

  • Talent scouts/agents who use names which sound similar as well-known agencies, pressure you for money up front, promise fortune and fame.

  • Someone posing as a representative from phone company may ask about your satisfaction with your service. A yes answer to a question could be tape-recorded and used as proof that you agreed to buy a new service.

  • If you have been victimized once, be wary of persons who call offering to help you recover your losses for a fee paid in advance.


Its Free But There Are Usually Strings Attached   TOP


  • If you accept a free offer, you also may find yourself being billed for a product or service you never ordered. Sometimes, if you agree to a "free trial" offer it activates a bill for magazines, CDs, or some other product that is delivered regularly.

  • Often, trial offer will automatically charge you a membership when the free time ends unless you contact them to cancel.

  • Your local telephone company may provide bill blocking to prevent someone from putting charges for extra services on your phone bill.

  • Junk mail could have a negative option notice that you will be charged for a service unless you contact the company to cancel it (opt out).

  • You've won a "free" vacation and need your credit card number for "verification."

Credit Issues Can Burn You   TOP


  • Fraudulent credit card offers often target people who are having credit problems and havent been able to get cards elsewhere.  They may promise to get you a card, but legitimate credit card issuers generally don't do business with people who have bad credit histories.

  • Callers build trust, then send you a check for  your winnings, instructing you to deposit it and then wire payment to them for taxes, bonding, or some other phony purpose.

  • If your credit history is bad, your best bet is to get a secured credit card.

  • Don't return calls to numbers on your pager or voice mail that you don't recognize they may just be a con to have you pay telephone charges to them.

  • Steer clear of offshore investments.  These are often promoted as a way to avoid taxes.  Actually, you are still liable for taxes, and the investments themselves are usually very risky.

  • If you cant get a loan yourself, get a co-signer.  A friend or relative may be willing to apply with you for a loan.  You will both be equally responsible for the payments.

  • It's very difficult to get your money back if you've been cheated over the telephone. Before you buy anything by telephone, always ask for and wait until you receive written confirmation about any offer or charity. If you get brochures about costly investments, ask someone whose financial advice you trust to review them. But, unfortunately, beware, not everything written down is true.

  • Before you send money, ask yourself a simple question. "What guarantee do I really have that this solicitor will use my money in the manner we agreed upon?

  • Never send money or give out personal information such as credit card numbers and expiration dates, bank account numbers, dates of birth, or social security numbers. maiden name or mothers names to unfamiliar companies or unknown persons.

  • Have proof of what you were promised.  Get the agreement in writing or in an electronic form that you can use to document the deal. Use major credit cards not checks or cash!


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