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Scam Watch

January 03, 2011|By Stuart Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times

Here is a roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for.

Counterfeit drugs – Consumers should be cautious when purchasing prescription drugs on the Internet or from an unfamiliar pharmacy, according to a report by the National Consumer League's Fraud Center. The group offers suggestions to avoid counterfeit medication: Watch out for altered or unsealed containers; check out the pharmacies with the National Assn. of Boards of Pharmacy; contact a pharmacist or doctor if the medicine you receive appears or tastes different or has unexpected side effects.

Apple products targeted – Apple Inc.'s Mac OS platform has historically avoided malicious attacks, but Internet security firm McAfee Inc. warned that Mac-targeted malware will become more sophisticated this year, increasing the risk of data and identity exposure. McAfee also cautioned that the use of shortened URLs on social media sites such as Twitter makes it easier for cyber criminals to direct users to malicious websites.

Child-obesity scam alleged – An Irvine man has been charged with defrauding investors out of $2.4 million through a company that he said would develop a product to fight child obesity. Charles "Chuck" Davis, 53, was arrested Dec. 27 and accused of using investor money to make payments to himself, relatives and girlfriends and to buy clothing and jewelry instead of using it to develop and promote the child-obesity treatment, the U.S. attorney's office said. He ran the operation through a company called LifeRight Holdings Inc. and said he would use infomercials to promote the product, federal prosecutors said. Davis pleaded not guilty and was released on $160,000 bond while awaiting trial.

Union president convicted – The former president of a Northern California chapter of the American Federation of Government Employees has pleaded guilty to mail fraud related to embezzlement of membership dues, federal prosecutors said. Duane DeJoie, who was president of Local 1223 from 2001 to 2007, was accused of having dues checks sent to his personal mailbox even after his term ended and of converting such checks for his own use. He is scheduled to be sentenced April 26.

stuart.pfeifer@latimes.com

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