Monday, April 18, 2011

Scams of the Week: April 18, 2011

Roofing Scams - Lots of them surface every time there's a major storm.  With hail damage in the area recently, roofers are coming from other states, knocking on doors and getting people to buy new roofs.  Most roofers are fine.  Even some from outside the area are very good. However, do your research on any company with which you consider doing business. Many that have come to the area are unlicensed and uninsured. Some are just scam artists who fly into town, demand money up front and then disappear with it. Check with your city to make sure they have the proper licensing. Check with the BBB and look at their complaint record.

Epsilon Security Breach Phishing Scam - A lot of Better Business Bureaus have noted scams in their areas that took advantage of the Epsilon breach. Epsilon is an email marketing company for heavyweight companies like Best Buy, JP Morgan/Chase and US Bank (and lots and LOTS of others).  Their database was hacked and personal information on countless people was compromised. Including mine. Three times. Scammers leapt onto the opportunity and compounded everyone's misery. They are sending around emails with cloned IP addresses or Citigroup or US Bank or one of the other companies who lost data. The emails frequently ask consumers to verify their personal information or to download software that will determine whether their personal information was compromised.  They are all attempts to acquire personal information, so if the consumer's data wasn't already stolen, it would be as soon as he or she responded to the email.  If you're worried about your personal information, contact the numbers on the back of your credit cards or call the customer service lines on the businesses' official websites. CBS has a list of the companies effected.

Instant Internet Lifestyle (Get More Momentum) - I'm so sick of these internet "wealth generators" (notice that it doesn't name a product, service or anything like one--you just miraculously make money).  I normally don't list these because most of these companies are ridiculously litigious. This one made the mistake of saying something was "free" when it actually requires customers to buy additional material--a big no-no. Like EVERY OTHER wealth generating business opportunity, this guy, Lee McIntyre claims that he's THE most successful internet entrepreneur ever. Like every other similar opportunity, he says he makes thousands or even hundreds of thousands per month with his system. And like the others, he also claims to be reluctant to hand over these super-secrets...but he will if you give him money to learn his program.  I would recommend that if you want to deal with any of these types of companies (which I am NOT recommending) that you have a clear understanding of exactly what you'll be doing when you give them your credit card info.  If the business doesn't clearly outline how its system works and claims that it is some sort of "secret," don't bother.

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