November 15, 2012 |
It's a small matter, I know, compared with the historic issues now obsessing the commentariat, such as the fiscal cliff and how many mistresses and admirers David H. Petraeus could keep in the air simultaneously. But before we say goodbye to Campaign 2012, I would just like to point out that the entire drama of a close election, as played out in the media on election night, is basically fake. Like broadcasters presenting baseball games in the early days of radio, the television networks know who's going to win the game and more or less how it's going to play out, inning by inning.
November 4, 2012 |
Here is a roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for. Hurricane Sandy -- The Justice Department and FBI are warning consumers to be careful when making donations intended to help victims of Sandy. Here are some other tips: --Do not respond to spam emails or click on any links in the emails and instead seek out reputable organizations on their websites. Most reputable charities have websites that end with “.org” instead of “.com.” --Do not respond to high-pressure solicitations; reputable organizations do not use coercive tactics.
October 28, 2012 |
Here is a roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for. Grandparent scam -- This scheme has been highlighted before in this space, but it's so common it's worth sounding the alarm again. There have been numerous reports about bad people trying to trick older Americans into giving them money by calling and pretending to be relatives, often grandchildren, who are in desperate need of money because of a fabricated emergency. In some cases, it can be for bail or to repair a car. Consumer advocates caution that anyone who receives such a call should ask questions that an imposter would not be able to answer correctly -- the date of their mother's birthday or the city they were born in, for instance.
October 21, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - No one wants to take the blame for the housing bust in this political season, but scammers and rip-off artists in the hundreds are working overtime to siphon dollars out of the wreckage of the crash and its still-vulnerable victims. You've probably heard about the loan-modification predators who promise financially ailing homeowners that they'll prevent or forestall foreclosures - but are really after thousands of dollars in fees, for which they do nothing. Now the second-largest source of mortgage money in the country - Freddie Mac - is warning about a troubling wave of post-crash fraud: scammers who illegally rent out foreclosed and for-sale homes to unsuspecting consumers.
October 21, 2012 |
Here is a roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for. Fake news sites: A company accused of setting up fake news websites to deceptively market weight-loss products and other goods has agreed to pay more than $2 million to settle a lawsuit brought by the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC accused Circa Direct and its owner, Andrew Davidson, of running online advertisements that looked like news websites with titles such as “News 6.” The links led consumers to fake news reports about weight-loss beverages, penny-stock investments and work-at-home schemes, the FTC said.
October 10, 2012 |
WASHINGTON --Since early 2010, a leading civil rights group has helped compile a database of approximately 26,000 complaints about mortgage modification scams -- attempts by fraudsters to take advantage of those hardest hit by the housing market meltdown. The people making those complaints have reported losses of $63 million to the National Loan Modification Scam Database. And the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which manages the database, has filed 10 civil suits in conjunction with other organizations to try to halt mortgage assistance operations in California and New York.
October 8, 2012 |
On Facebook today, I find sheepish postings from two friends after they yelled at callers who mispronounced their names. That mispronunciation, along with the ubiquitous "How are you today?" is the almost sure sign of another unwanted telemarketer. "We're a carpet cleaning business located in your town... " Really? Never heard of you. What was your address? "Well, not exactly in your town but we're going to be there next week.... " They're contractors or credit scams ("The credit security office has been unable to reach you via our previous attempts ... ")
October 7, 2012 |
Here is a roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for. Online pharmacy - A Canadian man, accused of conspiring to send counterfeit prescription drugs to U.S. patients, has pleaded guilty to a criminal charge in the United States. Andrew Strempler operated RxNorth.com, which sold discount prescription drugs through the Internet to customers in the United States. Strempler's company purported to send the drugs from a pharmacy in Canada but actually filled the orders at a facility in the Bahamas, using drugs obtained from suppliers throughout the world and labeling them with a Canadian address, U.S. officials alleged.
October 3, 2012 |
The Federal Trade Commission is teaming up with tech companies and regulatory agencies around the world to crack down on tech-support scams that may have already cost U.S. consumers tens of millions of dollars. In a tech-support scam, typically originating out of India, callers claiming to be with a trusted security company tell consumers that their computers may have been infected with a virus or malware. The callers then trick people into purchasing anti-virus software they don't need, which can often range in price from $49 to $450.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 2, 2012 |
Of all the scam artists to set foot in Los Angeles, one of the most notorious was A. Victor Segno, who duped thousands of people around the world into sending him $1 a month to belong to his Segno Success Club. In return, he promised to send out brain waves twice a day to help members achieve success. Some ideas never die. In fact, a century after he carried out his scheme, the beguiling con man still can hook people. Stamp expert Ed Grabowski, a retired chemist from New Jersey, is proof.