(Drumroll) Your Top 10 Scams of 2008

This is a top 10 list you do NOT want to be on.

The Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois released their list of 2008’s biggest scams as a warning for consumers in the new year.

“If consumers would consistently do this simple first step, there would be many fewer upset and dissatisfied shoppers,” says Steve J. Bernas, President and CEO of the Better Business of Chicago and Northern Illinois.  "Make that resolution now for the new year to contact the BBB first and if you suspect a scam report it on our web page at www.bbb.org.”

Here are the 10 top scams of 2008.

1. Check scams – Consumers report receiving checks in the mail, allegedly for winning a sweepstakes, lottery, or promotion.  

2. Advance fee lenders - These scam artists frequently contact consumers by phone after consumers fill out online loan applications or respond to illegitimate newspaper ads. 

3. Mortgage foreclosure rescue scams – Due to foreclosure information being publicly available, many scammers contact desperate homeowners and promise to save their home.   

4. Illegitimate credit repair & debt negotiation services - Due to the troubling economic situation, many consumers seek out credit repair or debt settlement companies.  

5. Work-at-home and fraudulent employment opportunities - Work-at-home and business opportunity scams are frequently found online as well as in the classified sections. They promise high income for minimal work and minimal effort. 

6. Phishing and fake e-cards - Phishing is a crime and a high-tech scam that uses spam to deceive consumers into disclosing their personal information. Scammers create a legitimate looking email from a bank or financial institution, which is then sent en masse to consumers.

7. Mystery/secret shopping scams - Fraudulent mystery shopping promoters frequently use newspaper ads and Internet solicitations to create an impression that they are affiliated with or work for respectable and reputable companies.

8. Phony directories and yellow pages - Phony directories or yellow page scams usually target small to medium sized businesses.

9. Grant & government job finding entities - Entities claiming to assist in grant research, grant applications, or conducting grant or government-oriented seminars with the aim of helping consumers find applicable grants or government employment, should all be regarded with caution.

10. Deceptive weight loss products advertising - With the Brazilian acai berry being the new Hoodia to allegedly promote weigh loss, many weight loss pill distributors have been advertising the effectiveness of their weight loss products wildly via the Internet and through conventional ads. 

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