Watch out for these "dot cons"
According to the Federal Trade Commission, here's what online consumers are complaining about most: the Internet has generated a whole new language and brought the world to your home or office, 24/7/365. And while the opportunities online for consumers are almost endless, there are some challenges, too. As in dot con. Yes, dot CON.
Con artists have gone high-tech, using the Internet to defraud consumers in a variety of clever ways. Whether they're using the excitement of an Internet auction to entice consumers into parting with their money, applying new technology to peddle traditional business opportunity scams, using email to reach vast numbers of people with false promises about earnings through day trading, or hijacking consumers' modems and cramming hefty long-distance charges onto their phone bills, scam artists are just a click away. Fortunately, law enforcement is on the cyber-case.
Travel and Vacation
The Bait: Get a luxurious trip with lots of "extras" at a bargain-basement price.
The Catch: Consumers say some companies deliver lower-quality accommodations and services than they've advertised - or no trip at all. Others have been hit with hidden charges or additional requirements after they've paid.
The Safety Net: Get references on any travel company you're planning to do business with. Then, get details of the trip in writing, including the cancellation policy, before signing on.
Multilevel Marketing Plans/ Pyramids
The Bait: Be your own boss and earn big bucks.
The Catch: Taken in by promises about potential earnings, many consumers have invested in a "biz op" that turned out to be a "biz flop." There was no evidence to back up the earnings claims.
The Safety Net: Talk to other people who started businesses through the same company, get all the promises in writing, and study the proposed contract carefully before signing. Get an attorney or an accountant to take a look at it, too.
Health Care Products/Services
The Bait: Items not sold through traditional suppliers are "proven" to cure serious and even fatal health problems.
The Catch: Claims for "miracle" products and treatments convince consumers that their health problems can be cured. But people with serious illnesses who put their hopes in these offers might delay getting the health care they need.
The Safety Net: Consult a health care professional before buying any "cure-all" that claims to treat a wide range of ailments or offers quick cures and easy solutions to serious illnesses.
Courtesy RB NEWSJournal
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