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Scams Continue to Flourish in Bad Economy

It’s obvious that scam artists are opportunists and I think it’s save to presume that they are a lot like sharks that smell blood in the water more so than usual in recent years due to the lousy state of the economy.

Scams come in many different flavors, and although we tend to focus a lot on internet-based scams, there are many other scams that are more “old school” in nature, including telephone calls and letters that arrive in the mail.

A recent scam warning out of Pennsylvania has police warning residents about a telephone scam that involved callers with foreign accents who are telling residents that they have won a lottery. Naturally, the callers are requesting that potential victims send money in order to receive their prize.

This is a classic “red flag.” When anyone is claiming that you have won some kind of prize or award and then advises you that you need to send money before you can receive your winnings, you are dealing with a scam artist. There should be no reason for anyone to pay to receive something they have won.

These lottery phone scams are quite widespread with reports coming in from Oklahoma and Vermont. These are essentially telephone versions of the well-known “419” internet scams where someone from overseas e-mails potential victims advising them that they are poised to receive a large amount of money. The goal is to ultimately get the victim to send them money by making them believe they have to pay some kind of fee before the money can be sent to them.

Anytime you receive a e-mail, phone call or letter asking you for money before you can receive a large amount of money, you’re dealing with a scam artists.

Another scam out of Massachusetts appears to be targeting businesses. This scam involves trying to convince businesses that they need to comply with a state law that requires corporations to submit corporate minutes.

Massachusetts law does require corporations to file annual reports, there is no requirement to submit corporate minutes. The scammers running this scam are using the name “Compliance Services.”

The Better Business Bureau is advising corporations to decline to fill out any forms from “Compliance Services” or send them any money.

Rounding out our collection of scams is another one that involves scammers that are claiming that they represent businesses in New England that offer advance-fee loans.

These are scammers that advertise these types of loans on the internet and with no shortage of consumers in financial trouble these days, there are plenty of potential victims out there who need money now.

A consumer from Virginia was led to believe she was set to receive a $5,000 personal loan from one of these scammers after she had sent them the first six payments on the loan before she had actually received it.

Unfortunately, she never received the loan she was promised. Since many of these scams involve wiring money to overseas accounts, it makes it all the more difficult for authorities to track down the scammers or recover victims’ money.

As the BBB points out, and as we have probably beat to death in this article, if someone wants money from you before giving you a loan or a prize, it’s extraordinarily likely that you are dealing with a scammer.

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