Most stores are legitimate, but some just try to rip you off. The problem is how to pick the bad apples from the barrel. Walk-in stores, shopping malls, grocery stores and other shopping areas are also places where criminals operate their scams.

  • Any statements meant for you to do something right away

  • Bait and Switch/Low-Ball gets you into store and its sold out

  • Upfront money/down payment

  • Extended Warranty Scare Tactics

  • Membership fee to buy wholesale (e.g. furniture)

  • Asked to sign a form with blank fields or incorrect information

  • Going Out of Business all the time

  • Turn Over to someone of higher authority to get a better deal

  • Last One Available/Today Only

  • Companies with accounts in the name of an individual

  • Magnetic water treatment for hard water

  • Never give sensitive info or respond to a "meet me somewhere" message to a text message unless confirmed by voice.


  • Claim generation of vibrations and/or oscillations in the water prevents hard water

  • Wholesale prices seem too high

  • Made a Mistake adding this Up for a product having a number of options

  • Paperwork -  Euphemism "Just sign here"

  • Keep you waiting, Wear you Down Ploy common with car dealerships

  • New business just for a season (Winter, Summer..)

  • Scratch & Dent appliances

  • Great deal on new, state of the art equipment

  • Deals are for a limited time

  • Will beat any competitors prices

  • Equipment is lauded as a "breakthrough" answer to a common ailment

  • Claim to be a leading exporter or one of the largest companies

  • If something is lost or stolen, and if store calls to confirm they have it, "ALWAYS" confirm with store. The crook may have made the call to get you out of the house.




Precautions You Should Take   TOP


  • Some thieves will fill a shopping cart with similar items, then when you aren't looking they will switch carts.  Your purse in the cart can be gone in a minute.

  • If purchasing medical equipment , get advice from your doctor, hospital discharge planner or physical therapist, NOT from a salesperson.

  • No matter what body part you want to tone, there's always seems to be a  product that promises to deliver results. Usually not true?

  • An offer for a free wheelchairs, scooters, walkers, or other medical equipment, careful it could be a scam to defraud you or Medicare.

  • Take care about free - when a company advertises its free, and in the next sentence claims that it will cost you little or no money and it's paid for by Medicare.

  • Cons can occur where you least expect them: in church, at school, in a grocery store or gym.

  • Offers to sell you something at a cheap price saying you can turn around and resell it for a quick profit, via an advertisement on Craig's List, a newspaper or on eBay.

  • If a stranger approaches you on the street, needing to find "two honest Americans, to fulfill the conditions of a will", so he could inherit a huge sum of money, and offers you some for helping-KEEP WALKING.

  • Increase the price of an item at checkout.  

  • Brightly colored price tag on items that look exactly like sale price tags but are not the ones on sale.

  • Flyer or shelf item is sales discounted but at the checkout it is rung up at full price.

  • Mixed days sales Flyer - one page with several items on sale Friday and Saturday, and another page with a Monday and Tuesday sale date which you may fail to see.

  • Returned junk is substituted for the original product and is unknowingly put back on the shelf.

  • Watch out for those small  dollar amounts that may be processed because they are so small you might not notice the price has been increaded.

  • At checkout the advertised sale price does not show on the register with the explanation is the computer must not have been updated.


Electronics Stores, Especially those in Big Cities, Can Be A Big Problem   TOP

  • Camera and electronic stores advertise low prices, however, items may be without a warrantee or items removed/switched.

  • Stores that show: going out of business, lost lease or other such wording are probably trying to scam you.

  • Get you to "Say Yes Routine", asks a series of simple questions where you answer yes and then try to get you to do the same with an important sealing the deal question.

  • Are you sure it,s a discount? Some stores will raise prices and then lowered to the regular price for the so-called sale.

  • They offer 30 days money back guarantee. Of course, the buyer needs to cover the return shipping fee and possible a restocking fee.

  • Extended warranty is an insurance policy and big box stores make extra money selling them; most are rarely worth it.

Carpets & Mattresses   TOP


  • Mattress manufacturers and retailers appear to have collaborated in creating a unique industry in which advertisements give the false impression that consumers can effectively compare prices on mattresses.

  • Whole house carpet installation for one low price; in the fine print there are many extra charges.

  • Private labels prevent you from comparison shopping, since the same product may be under multiple different "names" depending on where you shop.

  • Steer clear of stores that always state they will beat anyone else's price by a certain percent.

  • Carpets come in different qualities. The one you bought may not be the one delivered. Keep the sample you bought and compare it before installation.  Do not believe the carpet is "crushed"  from being in the roll. If you're buying a particular type, for instance "Stainmaster",  make sure your invoice says that.

  • Do not pay the separately it must be included in the price of the carpet and installed by the store.

  • Be aware "Bait & Switch" from a low priced ad to a costlier one when you get to the store.

Product Reviews   TOP
  • For realistic product reviews look at  Consumer Reports, CNET, Amazon and  Buzzillions reviews. Other sites will also give you the pros and cons of a product and some will tell you about outright scams.


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