Here is a roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for.
Online auction escrows – Winners of online auctions have been scammed by people who propose using an escrow service to handle sales from auction websites, according to the Internet Crime Complaint Center. Perpetrators in this scheme assemble phony escrow sites that appear legitimate. The victims then send money to the escrow site, but the merchandise never arrives, according to the agency, which is a partnership of the FBI and National White Collar Crime Center.
Counterfeit credit cards – An Indiana man was sentenced to four years in federal prison after pleading guilty to a conspiracy to sell counterfeit credit cards using stolen account information, the Justice Department announced. Peter Borgia Jr., 22, also was ordered to pay more than $3 million in restitution. He acknowledged that he was part of a team that used Internet discussion forums to trade stolen credit card numbers and sell phony credit cards. In June 2010, Secret Service agents served a search warrant at the apartment of one of Borgia’s partners and found nearly 21,000 stolen credit card numbers and related information, the Justice Department said.
Infomercials – A federal judge has ordered the marketers of three get-rich-quick systems, including John Beck’s Free and Clear Real Estate System, to pay $478 million for deceiving nearly 1 million consumers with phony claims that they could make easy money using the programs, the Federal Trade Commission said in a news release. The court found that despite the marketers’ claims, most consumers lost money by following the advertised systems. In addition to the financial penalty, the three firms were permanently banned from participating in infomercials and telemarketing, the FTC said. The other systems implicated in the scheme were Real Estate Riches in 14 Days and Jeff Paul’s Shortcuts to Internet Millions.