1. Work-at-Home and Fraudulent Employment Opportunities – These scams promise high income for minimal work and minimal effort. However, when an interested consumer “applies”, they almost always ask for money up-front to pay for materials, training kits, or investment money. After sending payment, most consumers either have their checks deposited and never hear anything again, or obtain something that is completely useless, essentially junk mail.

2. Credit Repair and Debt Negotiation/Settlement Services -Debt negotiation companies claim that they will negotiate with a consumer’s lenders to lower the total amount of debt owed for an upfront fee. Unfortunately, some consumers who paid for debt negotiation services in advance found out that the company never contacted their lenders, but instead, took their money and ran. Everything a credit repair clinic can do, an individual can do personally at little or no cost. It is illegal to charge an advance fee for credit repair.

3. Grant & Government Job Finding Entities – Now more than ever consumers are looking for financial assistance to help them finance projects and debt, as well as paying for school. Entities claiming to assist in grant research, grant applications, or conducting grant or government-oriented seminars with the aim of helping consumers find applicable grants or government employment, should all be regarded with caution. The majority of these entities charge for services, applications, or information that can be easily obtained for free by doing online searches or visiting school financial aid offices.

4. Mortgage Foreclosure Rescue/Loan Modification Scams – Due to foreclosure information being publicly available, many scammers contact desperate home owners and promise to save their home. Loan modification companies promise to negotiate with the mortgage lender to decrease the amount owned on a loan. Victims of foreclosure rescue scams are asked to pay upfront funds or provide sensitive personal information.

5. Check Scams – Consumers receive a check in the mail, allegedly for winning a sweepstakes, lottery, or promotion. The consumer is urged to deposit the check, and then write another check from their own bank account to cover alleged taxes or fees. The check that was deposited turns out to be worthless while the check sent by the consumer is good, and that money ends up being unrecoverable.

Tomorrow we will look at the last 5!