Mentioned in a post earlier this week on the Better Business Bureau blog, the BBB went over the most common scams that plagued U.S. and Canadian consumers over 2010. The top ranking scam is particularly predatory during the recession and takes advantage of a weak job market in the United States. Job hunter scams attempt to pitch the ability to match consumers with perfect jobs, but end up bank accounts and social security numbers for fees related to expenses. Another scam involved collecting upfront fees to help resolve debt and credit issues. The result is further damage to a consumer’s credit report as well as lost money.
Another scheme that’s popular and trends frequently on Twitter are the fake work-at-home scams. It targets employees tired of desk jobs and potentially leads to consumers unwittingly selling illegal, stolen goods as well as legal trouble. Other scams include time share resellers, trial offers that result in repeated monthly billings, home repair roofers that collect an upfront fee and vanish, lottery and sweepstakes “officials” that collect taxes upfront, advance-fee loans that collect a fee first, over-payment schemes that get the target to wire money and the standard identity theft scam.
The BBB also detailed the top categories for complaints and inquires as well as percentage of cases resolved. The top ranking category for complaints were television-related companies like cable or satellite providers. Complaints about Internet and television service amounted to nearly 31,000 in 2010. Roofing companies got the most inquires from consumers to the tune of nearly 2.5 million. The highest percentage of unresolved complaints were attributed to spiritualists and the business with fewest inquires over 2010 were planetariums.
Consumers can avoid online scams by researching the typical methods in helpful guides as well as watch the BBB news feed for weekly announcements on new scams.