Crackdowns on "government grants" and other scams

by googler@evpl on Friday, July 3 2009, 10:11am. Viewed 1,060 times.

snake oil salesman imageI was very happy to see this release from the FTC, about crackdowns on a large number of scammers who have been taking advantage of the economic turndown. And not just the fake government grant schemes -- the list includes an amazing array of scams, including an admittedly imaginative ruse involving non-existant jobs as "certified rebate processors."

The scammers used websites, robocalls, telemarketing, infomercials, classified ads, and internet ads to push their schemes. They promised earnings, money-back guarantees, refunds; they claimed to be associated with government agencies, with Google, with shopper's clubs. To a con artist, tough times just present new opportunities to bilk people.

The FTC has produced a new consumer education video featuring a former scammer who hawked phony business opportunities and ultimately served prison time for deceiving investors. In the 10-minute video, the former scammer gives an insider account of how these operations use high-pressure tactics and celebrity endorsers to trick cash-strapped consumers, and how consumers can protect themselves by demanding written disclosures on earnings and other sales data. (More FTC videos can be found here.)

If you find yourself with unexpected charges or unable to secure promised refunds, you can file a complaint at the the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,500 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.

Comments (1)

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gawell@evpl wrote
on Friday, July 3 2009, 12:38pm

It seems the two most wished for is money and love.

Health and Happiness are popular too. Dating sites are fertile territory for scams that want to reach into your pockets and heart. All scammers, whatever the ploy, share the basics.

The vast majority of scammers work in small gangs. It's a rather tedious, lonely occupation when done alone, of course there also is instant messaging and the phone to stay in touch with their fellow buddy scammers.

Most scammers are VERY lazy and looking for quick cash. They use email extractor programs to get your mail addresses (if you don't have a profile on a public site, that is)...

and copied form mails and spam programs on automatic reply, very often the BAT!, which can personalize small parts of each letter.

They mostly won't read your letters until after the money letter because they don't have time, ie because they're scamming, or trying to scam, as many as they can (economies of scale)..... IN OTHER WORDS, you can write any crap in your replies and they won't react, they're only interested when they're curious to know if you've taken the bait after the money letter. A person is only involved either occasionally to phone someone up, especially if they’re suspicious, or to pick up the loot at Western Union, with a false ID of course.

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