Thursday, October 1, 2009

Sneakiest Consumer Scams, Beware! - Part 3

Scam #4: "This stock is at 50 cents and it's going to be 5 or 6 bucks this week. Buy now!"

The trick: You get a voice mail about a "hot" stock tip that appears to have been left by someone who intended to call a friend but mistakenly dialed your number. If you act on it, promoters artificially push up the price of thinly traded microcap stocks, which they sell to you high before the bottom drops out, leaving you holding worthless stock.
They call this trick "pump and dump" scam. The FBI estimated that at least $6 billion a year from cheated investors are being stolen.
This spam has lately been showing up as a text messages on cell phones.

What to do: IGNORE unsolicited pitches and "wrong number" tips for any investment. Also, beware of any "friend" who volunteers to help you on the road to riches. If you plan to invest, make a research and purchases on your own initiative.

Scam #5: "Ill Be Back Sometime Soon To Finish Your Roof."

The trick: A fly-by-night operator convinces you to make a big advance payment and might even begin to work. But then, he delays, abandons the job or does poor work. Some contractors push new windows or roofing so that they can arrange a home-equity loan for you, then they abscond with the funds.

What to do: At least get estimates from 3 contractors. Never hire anyone who comes to your home unsolicited, uses high pressure sales tactics, or promises a price too good to be true. Use only licensed contractors and ask for references and proof of liability, workers compensation and property-damage insurance. Reflect the deal in writing and specify the work to be done by the contractor or sub-contractors.

Don't pay large amounts in advance and never make final payments before the work is completed to your satisfaction. Pay either by credit card or check if possible, not by cash.