- Special Sections
- Public Notices
By David Uffington
King Features Syndicate
The Better Business Bureau has named the top 10 scams for 2010. Some are surprising, especially since they’ve been around for so long and people are still falling for them.
Here are a few highlights:
• Job-hunting scams. What the scammers really want is your Social Security number and personal information such as your bank account number.
• Debt-relief services. They want money up front, leaving you more broke than you already are. Complaints to the BBB are up 30 percent in the last year alone.
• Work-from-home schemes. If you flip to the back of magazines as far back as the 1970s, you’ll find ads for working at home. Nothing has changed. The scammers still promise to teach you the secrets to finding work you can do at home, or will send you craft kits to put together and then tell you the work isn’t up to their standards.
• Identity theft. While you’re not at fault if a company leaves its computers wide open to security breaches, millions of people make the mistake of being sloppy in e-mail, giving information over the phone, opening attached files and not shredding mail with your name on it.
Scambusters — www.scambusters.org — has made its annual prediction of which scams will be the top 10 for 2011. Many are the same as last year, and the year before: Nigerian scams, economy, identity theft, skimming and people at the door.
The only reason certain scams make the top 10 lists year after year is that they work. Scammers aren’t going to stay with something that doesn’t net them a lot of money.
Be more vigilant and suspicious this year. Scammers are out to relieve you of your dollars any way they can.
Dissect e-mails, be suspicious of downloads, don’t buy anything over the phone unless you initiate the call, beef up your computer security and get help with it if you don’t know how, pick your own charities to donate to, and say no to contractors who come to your door.
• • •
David Uffington regrets that he cannot personally answer reader questions, but he will incorporate them into his column whenever possible. Write to him in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2011 King Features Syndicate Inc.