Consumer Fraud Scam Alert!
When a Kentucky woman received a letter last December congratulating her for winning a Canadian lottery, at first she thought Christmas had come early. Then she got suspicious. Included was a check for $4,200 -- and instructions to send $2,000. When she took the check to a bank, a teller told her it was counterfeit. A Nebraska man who received a similar letter wasn't so lucky. He wired $3,980 from his bank account -- the "taxes" he was told he needed to pay for the windfall. He never saw that money again.
Americans lost more than $1.2 billion to consumer fraud in 2007 -- and that's not counting the cost of shame and heartbreak. And if you think you have to be naive to get duped, remember all the supposedly sophisticated investors who lost millions in Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme. The only way to be safe from scams is to spot them coming. We've uncovered some of the more common and egregious ways crooks are trying to get your money right now.