Here is a roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for.
A Seal Beach man has agreed to pay a $5-million penalty to resolve allegations that he operated a fraud that targeted homeowners, renters and banks. Terrill Meisinger agreed to pay the money to resolve a lawsuit filed against him by the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles. Federal attorneys had accused Meisinger of contacting people who were facing foreclosure and making small cash payments, typically $500 to $1,500, to them if they deeded their homes to him and moved out before banks completed foreclosure. Meisinger then transferred the titles to third parties, whose identities he had stolen, and filed bankruptcies that triggered automatic stays on foreclosures. While banks tried to assess what had happened, Meisinger rented the homes, raking in huge profits, the U.S. attorney's office alleged. From 2000 to 2004, Meisinger collected more than $1.5 million in rents without making mortgage payments on the properties, most of which were in Riverside and San Bernardino counties, the U.S. attorney's office said.
It's not uncommon for people to knock on your front door, offering to sell something. One recent scam involved people selling meat or produce door to door, promising higher quality and lower prices than grocery stores, the Better Business Bureau said in a news release. The agency said it has received complaints from consumers who said they purchased food from door-to-door salespeople, but the food was poor quality or did not arrive at all. Before buying anything from a door-to-door salesperson, the BBB said, consumers should research the companies online and through the BBB's website to see if they have been the subject of complaints. Do not fall for high-pressure sales tactics, the organization said. If the company is legitimate, it will give consumers plenty of time to make a decision.