This is a continuation of Internet Scams 1 where I talked about common e-mail scams, bank scams and auction site scams that have cost internet users millions of dollars. In Internet Scams 2, I discuss other common and some newer scams that are hitting the internet scam arsenal and a few simple ways to avoid them.
The company, Telemarketing, and Donation Scams
Some internet scams start online and become companies that are a scam, like Uniway and Direct Buy offering to save you thousands off retail by selling you a membership to a private club that cost $2500 or more and $100 annually to purchase from them. Often times the discounts are minimal and only on overpriced items that are limited to select companies they deal with.
In addition, it could take weeks to get the item you want and you have to pick it up yourself from the warehouse while still not being sure it’s what you ordered. Shopping for items consists of calling in item numbers and waiting for a callback to see if they carry it or if you could save any money at all. I have called Uniway concerning TV’s, mowers, tables, water softeners, refrigerators, and other home accessories that I ultimately found cheaper somewhere else without having picked it up. Uniway called us and offered us the chance to win a car, give us a diamond bracelet, and a $400 gift card to shop online at their site. We never used the gift card, because the shipping cost was more than the value of the items they were “giving” you. Pictured above is the contract we signed.
Telemarketing fraud is a widespread crime. Criminals use this type of phone crime to sell and trick people into purchasing vacations, magazine subscriptions and club memberships like above. Fraud is common among these types of phone scams including lottery and sweepstakes, and of course the credit card and payday loan offer scams as mentioned under the bank scams. Remember to use established and reputable companies only when applying for same day payday loans online, such as ElcLoans or CashNetUSA.
Recent phone and internet scams exploit disaster victims of China, Haiti, even Katrina, and other big disaster charities. Charitable donations shouldn’t be done out of reflex, nor should phone or internet offers. Real charities are carefully managed and watched by many watchdog groups including the American Institute of Philanthropy, Charity Navigator, GuideStar, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Companies that set you up with high-pressure sales and a “do it now” attitude should be avoided at all cost.
“Free” Stuff, Paid Testers, and Get Paid To Scams
Filling out short surveys offering free computers or gift cards also come up in e-mails and are secretly linked to thousands of websites. I have tried to finish these before and you will not get the prize. Instead, you will sign up for many offers that will have you looking through terms and conditions to figure out how to cancel while filling in the information of your friends.
Many sites contain links that automatically sign you up for discount clubs like AAA, 777Discount, and magazines. Mentioned in the terms and conditions, you don’t find out until you receive a charge in about a week or more. I also signed up to be a paid tester and did “get paid to” site reviews. I made about $50 but realized after Netflix and Blockbuster there were few options left to profit more than a couple of dollars. This internet scam is designed to have you stay signed up for services and required me to look for contact information to cancel. They buried this information in terms and conditions. Some did not link back to the original site and I needed to contact my bank to find their information.
Debt Relief and Timeshare Scams
Fake debt relief and even real debt relief companies promise to lower payments and interest rates or negotiate a settlement for all your debts to lower the total payment and help pay off debt faster. The problem is they usually can’t deliver the promises they make that cost you up to $500 dollars that they say you will make back in savings. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has sued many of these companies, but they continue to lie to customers who end up owing more money plus late fees. Internet scams offering to sell timeshares that people are desperate to get out of will have you pay an upfront fee of $500 or more for their services and vanish.
Common ways they achieve this is by “going out of business” after having the owner pay administration and other fees. The best way to avoid these scams is to never pay an upfront fee for this type of service. There are some real debt relief and timeshare services out there which make this hard to determine and why it’s critical that you research online companies.
This covers the major and some minor internet scams that you are bound to come across if you continue browsing the World Wide Web. Remember to avoid high-pressure sales, upfront fees, e-mails and offers that involve money being distributed in any form other than cash. When dealing with online companies, do research, check their contact information and at least Google their name a couple of times. For emergency cash, we recommend ElcLoans emergency loans service.
It doesn’t take long for people getting ripped off to tell someone and Ripoff Report and other sites list these complaints daily. Shady companies tend to change their name frequently, but typically maintain some adaptation of the original. Websites go up and come down in a day and professional scam artist-run multiple sites and internet scams at one time. Last, make sure kids know how important it is to keep family information off the web or you could be the next victim to an internet scam.