Continued from page 1
The scam: If these systems worked, wouldn't everyone be using them? The thought of easy money may be appealing, but success generally requires hard work.
7. Free goods
Some email messages offer valuable goods-for example, computers, other electronic items, and long-distance phone cards-for free. You're asked to pay a fee to join a club, then told that to earn offered goods, you have to bring in a certain number of participants. You're paying for right to earn income by recruiting other participants, but your payoff is in goods, not money.
The scam: Most of these messages are covering up pyramid schemes, operations that inevitably collapse. The payoff goes to promoters and little or none to you.
8. Investment opportunities
Investment schemes promise outrageously high rates of return with no risk. Many are Ponzi schemes, in which early investors are paid off with money contributed by later investors. This makes early investors believe that system actually works, and encourages them to invest even more.
The scam: Ponzi schemes eventually collapse because there isn't enough money coming in to continue simulating earnings. Other schemes are a good investment for promoters, but no for participants.
9. Cable descrambler kits
For a small sum of money, you can buy a kit to assemble a cable descrambler that supposedly allows you to receive cable television transmissions without paying any subscription fee.
The scam: The device that you build probably won't work. Most of cable TV systems in U.S. use technology that these devices can't crack. What's more, even if it worked, stealing service from a cable television company is illegal.
10. Guaranteed loans or credit, on easy terms
Some email messages offer home-equity loans that don't require equity in your home. Usually, these are said to be offered by offshore banks. Sometimes they are combined with pyramid schemes, which offer you an opportunity to make money by attracting new participants to scheme.
The scams: The home equity loans turn out to be useless lists of lenders who will turn you down. The promised credit cards never come through, and pyramid schemes always collapse.
11. Credit repair
Credit repair scams offer to erase accurate negative information from your credit file so you can qualify for a credit card, auto loan, home mortgage, or a job.
The scam: The scam artists who promote these services can't deliver. Only time, a deliberate effort, and a personal debt repayment plan will improve your credit. The companies that advertise credit repair services appeal to consumers with poor credit histories. Not only can't they provide you with a clean credit record, but they also may be encouraging you to violate federal law. If you follow their advice by lying on a loan or credit application, misrepresenting your Social Security number, or getting an Employer Identification Number under false pretenses, you will be committing fraud.
12. Vacation prize promotions
Electronic certificates congratulating you on "winning" a fabulous vacation for a very attractive price are among scams arriving in your email. Some say you have been "specially selected" for this opportunity.
The scam: Most unsolicited commercial email goes to thousands or millions of recipients at a time. Often, cruise ship you're booked on may look more like a tug boat. The hotel accommodations likely are shabby, and you may be required to pay more for an upgrade. Scheduling vacation at time you want it also may require an additional fee.
Don’t check your common sense at door simply because you are surfing web. If it seems to good to be true, it is. Don’t fall victim to these scams.
Richard A. Chapo is a business lawyer with SanDiegoBusinessLawFirm.com - This article is for information purposes only. Read more business law articles to help your business.