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Common Internet Scams

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    Common Internet Scams

    Scams To Watch Out For

    Part of managing your money correctly is taking the time to research and investigate offers that are made so you don't lose your hard earned money to a scam artist. Although easy money offers abound, they are almost exclusively scams of some type. The Internet and emails are filled with easy, no effort, get rich "business offers" and other various opportunities. Although these opportunities claim they will bring you vast amounts of money, what is far more likely to happen is you will be seperated from yours. In 1998 The Federal Trade Commission listed their "Dirty Dozen: 12 Scams Most Likely to Arrive Via Bulk E-mail" and more recently have added other common Internet schemes to watch out for. If you have ever been tempted to try out any of those get rich quick come-ons you receive in your email box or see on the web, these warning from the FTC will hopefully dissuade you:

    Business Opportunities: They promise large amounts of money for little work and an initial cash outlay. Many of these are nothing more than pyramid schemes hiding behind a legitimate opportunity facade.

    Bulk Email: They offer money for simply emailing a lot of people. The problem is that bulk email violates email service rules for most Internet service providers. Very few legitimate businesses, if any, engage in bulk email marketing due to the high possibility of angering potential customers.

    Chain Letters: Chain letters claim you can make lots of money simply by sending a small amount of money to one or more names on a list, then forwarding the letter to others placing you're name at the bottom of the list. They will often claim that the scheme has been approved by the government or is legal. These schemes are almost always illegal even when a "product" such as reports, ebooks, recipes or mailing lists are part of the exchange.

    Work-At-Home Schemes: Two popular versions for making money from the comfort of home include envelope stuffing and craft assembly, although this list is continuously expanding. The problem is nobody will really pay you for stuffing envelopes, and craft assembly promoters usually find a reason to refuse to buy the crafts, making claims such as the work does not meet their quality standards. The companies sponsoring the ads may also require that you pay additional money for instructions or "how to" software.

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    Health and Cure Scams: All types of "breakthrough miracle" cures for impotence, hair loss, destroying fat cells, etc offered through email, guaranteed to cure with "famous" medical expert endorsement. The problem is that none of these work and the famous expert is always someone you have never heard of.

    Effortless Income: These deals offer the chance to make unlimited profits exchanging money on world currency markets, using the perfect sales letter, and offering secrets to making vast amounts of money each and every day. The problem is, if these systems really worked, everyone would be using them. Although getting easy money is appealing, it usually requires effort earning it on your part.

    Free Goods: Computer or phone card offers are common in this scam, although any valuable item will do. The consumer is urged to pay a membership fee, then recruit others in order to receive the product, but then receives nothing in return. In essence, you pay for the right to earn income by recruiting other participants, but the payoff is in goods, not money. These are usually nothing more than disguised pyramid schemes.

    Investment Opportunities: These invitations suggest the scheme promoters have inside financial information or they promote high rates of return with no risk. Many are Ponzi schemes, where investors are paid off with money contributed by other investors. This makes the early investors believe that the system actually works, and encourages them to invest even more which they will eventually lose. This scam often runs for a short time with the promoters of the scam disappearing with the money they take in before they can be detected. Often, they'll reopen under another name, selling another investment scam.

    Cable & Satellite Descrambler Kits: These schemes sell descrambler kits which supposedly allow you to receive cable or satellite TV signals without paying the subscription fees. The kits generally do not work, and even if they do, stealing satellite and cable signals is against the law.

    Guaranteed Loans Or Credit: Promoters offer credit cards or loans regardless of credit history for a fee, or offer home-equity loans even without any equity that turn out to be nothing more than lists of lending institutions. Often times these are combined with pyramid schemes offering you money to attract more participants.

    Credit Repair: For a fee, the sender offers to instantly clear up your bad credit record. Although this sounds great, there's no legal way to do that. Even worse, they may encourage you to violate federal law. If you lie on a loan or credit application, misrepresent your Social Security number, or apply for an Employer Identification Number from the IRS under false pretenses which they may advise, you will be committing fraud.

    Vacation Prize Promotions: They say you've "won" or have been "specially selected" for a deluxe vacations at a deep discount price. In reality, these "deluxe" vacations are anything but, and upgrading to better conditions will require additional money. Scheduling the vacation at the time you want may also require additional fees.

    Weight Loss Claims: They promote easy, effortless and "magical" long term weight loss without any work or exercise, often with numerous testimonials. Don't fall for it. The only thing that will disappear is your money.

    Adult Entertainment: An adult entertainment site will claim to offer free, no credit card needed, content . All they require is for you to download a "viewer" or "dialer" program. Once the program is downloaded, it disconnects your line and reconnects to an international long distance phone number at rates of several dollars a minute.

    Additionally, advises people to further take the following four precautions:

    Don't Pay To Get Money: If you are told you must pay a fee of some type to receive money, don't pay it up front. Ask that the fee be deducted from the amount you'll be receiving. If this is impossible, then the offer is probably not legitimate.

    Don't Use Credit Cards For ID: Credit cards were never meant to be used as ID or age verification, so avoid using them as such. If you use your card in such a way, chances are it will end up costing you a great deal of money.

    Don't Rely On Internet Guarantees: Claims of limited supplies or specials should not be relied upon. Guarantees and warranties on the Internet aren't worth much since it will almost always cost you far more to enforce the guarantee through civil litigation than what you paid.

    Don't Rely On Local Laws: Although Internet laws are being enacted in virtually every country, none are enforcable in an other city, state or country. Due to this fact, currently everything on the Internet is basically "at your own risk." believes it is in your best interest to always research any situation thoroughly which involves money before committing to it. Don't be pressured into last chance, now or never high pressure tactics. If something is legitimate, there will rarely be an urgent time pressure on it. The key to keeping your hard earned money is to be skeptical of anything that sounds too good to be true because chances are it is.