'Free' and 'Low Cost' PC Offers The Catch

Written by Richard A. Chapo

You've probably seenrepparttar ads for "low cost" PC's - "PC's for $199" - or even "free" computers. If you're inrepparttar 146607 market for a personal computer, you should know "free" doesn't always mean free. Very often, certain conditions and restrictions found inrepparttar 146608 fine print of advertisements for "free" or "low cost" PC's can turn a so-called deal into an expensive purchase.

Bundled Services

"Free" or "low-cost" PC offers often require "bundled" Internet service contracts, which may last up to three years. In return for signing up for Internet service, you can get as much as a $400 rebate onrepparttar 146609 computer purchase. While some of these offers can be good deals, many are not as affordable as they may seem. Frequently, important details aboutrepparttar 146610 rebate and Internet service offer are difficult to ferret out because they're left out ofrepparttar 146611 advertising or buried inrepparttar 146612 fine print.

Up-Front Costs

To get a "low cost" PC, you may have to payrepparttar 146613 full cost ofrepparttar 146614 computer up front - that is,repparttar 146615 total price without any rebates. Ifrepparttar 146616 PC is advertised for $199 after rebates, you may have to pay $599, plus any sales tax and shipping charges, and then send forrepparttar 146617 $400 rebate.

Usually, you have to apply forrepparttar 146618 rebate in writing, mail in documentation ofrepparttar 146619 sale and then wait - sometimes months - until you receive your rebate check. Sometimes "instant" rebates are offered and you can get your deduction immediately. But some offers allow you to spendrepparttar 146620 rebate only on other merchandise fromrepparttar 146621 manufacturer or retailer, meaning you still have to payrepparttar 146622 full price forrepparttar 146623 computer.

Internet Access

When you buy a "free" or "low cost" computer, you often have to sign up for three years of Internet service at $20-$30 a month - a total cost of up to $1,000 for three years. Technology is changing at a dizzying pace. It's possible thatrepparttar 146624 three-year Internet service you lock in today could be out of date in six months or a year. And if you'd like to cancel your service, you'll likely have to pay a substantial penalty.

FTC Names Its Dirty Dozen: 12 Most Likely Email Scams

Written by Richard A. Chapo

The Federal Trade Commission is responsible for issuing and enforcing rules for consumer issues onrepparttar Internet. As part of this process,repparttar 146606 FTC has published a list ofrepparttar 146607 12 scams you are most likely to receive as email.

The Dirty Dozen Scams

The "dirty dozen" are:

1. Business opportunities

These business opportunities make it sound easy to start a business that will bring lots of income without much work or cash outlay. The solicitations trumpet unbelievable earnings claims $1,000 a day or more without doing any work. Many business opportunity solicitations claim to offer a way to make money in an Internet-related business. Short on details but long on promises, these messages usually offer a telephone number to call for more information. In many cases, you'll be told to leave your name and telephone number so that a salesperson can call you back withrepparttar 146608 sales pitch.

The scam: Many of these are illegal pyramid schemes masquerading as legitimate opportunities to earn money.

2. Bulk email

Bulk email solicitations offer to sell you lists of email addresses, byrepparttar 146609 millions, to which you can send your own bulk solicitations. Some offer software that automatesrepparttar 146610 sending of email messages to thousands or millions of recipients. Others offerrepparttar 146611 service of sending bulk email solicitations on your behalf. Some of these offers say, or imply, that you can make a lot of money using this marketing method.

The problem: Sending bulk email violatesrepparttar 146612 terms of service of most Internet service providers. If you use one ofrepparttar 146613 automated email programs, your ISP may shut you down. In addition, inserting a false return address into your solicitations, as some ofrepparttar 146614 automated programs allow you to do, may land you in legal hot water withrepparttar 146615 owner ofrepparttar 146616 address's domain name. There are also very strict rules, known asrepparttar 146617 CAN-SPAM Act, regulating bulk email marketing. 3. Chain letters

You're asked to send a small amount of money ($5 to $20) to each of four or five names on a list, replace one ofrepparttar 146618 names onrepparttar 146619 list with your own, and then forwardrepparttar 146620 revised message via bulk email. The letter may claim thatrepparttar 146621 scheme is legal, that it's been reviewed or approved byrepparttar 146622 government; or it may refer to sections of U.S. law that legitimizerepparttar 146623 scheme.

The scam: Chain letters are almost always illegal and nearly all ofrepparttar 146624 people who participate lose their money. The fact that a "product" such as a report on how to make money fast may be changing hands inrepparttar 146625 transaction does not changerepparttar 146626 legality of these schemes.

4. Work-at-home schemes

Envelope-stuffing solicitations promise steady income for minimal labor-for example, you'll earn $2 each time you fold a brochure and seal it in an envelope. Craft assembly work schemes often require an investment of hundreds of dollars in equipment or supplies, and many hours of your time producing goods for a company that has promised to buy them.

The scam: You'll pay a small fee to get started inrepparttar 146627 envelope-stuffing business. Then, you'll learn thatrepparttar 146628 email sender never had real employment to offer. Instead, you'll get instructions on how to sendrepparttar 146629 same envelope-stuffing ad on your own. If you earn any money, it will be from others who fall forrepparttar 146630 scheme you're perpetuating.

5. Health and diet scams

Pills that let you lose weight without exercising or changing your diet, herbal formulas that liquefy your fat cells so that they are absorbed by your body, and cures for impotence and hair loss are amongrepparttar 146631 scams flooding email boxes.

The scam: These gimmicks don't work. The fact is that successful weight loss requires a reduction in calories and an increase in physical activity. Beware of case histories from "cured" consumers claiming amazing results and testimonials from "famous" medical experts you've never heard of.

6. Effortless income

The trendiest get-rich-quick schemes offer unlimited profits exchanging money on world currency markets; newsletters describing a variety of easy-money opportunities;repparttar 146632 perfect sales letter; andrepparttar 146633 secret to making $4,000 in one day.

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