Written By: Hope Jennings
The National Fraud Information Center in Washington, D.C., receives nearly 400 calls a day from people who fear they've been tricked by a scam. What's their best advice? Don't believe anything that sounds too good to be true. And steer clear of the latest cons.
- Rent To Own ~ Complaints about rent to own deals come in regularly. Dealers in the business frequently lure consumers with promises of owning big ticket items without a credit check or a down payment. But good fortune doesn't last. Some consumers have had appliances forcibly repossessed. Others say their front doors were kicked in after one late payment. In some states, consumers are protected by laws that require rent to own companies to disclose information about their deals. Before you sign, do the math. Consider other payment options, such as layaway or an installment plan. Investigate a short term loan from a bank or credit union. Check yard sales, secondhand stores and eBay for comparable items in your price range.
- Phony Trade Schools ~ While many trade schools or vocational schools teach students valuable, enduring skills, other seduce with empty promises of exciting careers and hefty paychecks. Before you enroll in a trade school, do your homework! Ask the school for a placement record. Get names of companies where students are now working and call them to verify the school's claims. Talk to people already employed in the field you are considering and find out what kind of education they completed. It may turn out that you don't need additional training. Contact the accreditation counsel for independent colleges and schools. They can tell you whether the school you want to attend is accredited. And get the school refund policy in writing.
- Fake Magazine Renewals ~ A high volume of reports on fake magazine subscriptions offers is being received by the National Fraud Information Center. If you are ever unsure, call the magazine and subscribe for a subscription yourself.