The Top 10 Scams of 2006

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Via the exciting new field of stuffing envelopes, you can now be wicked rich while working at home
Although 2006 wasn't the best of times for Cleveland (poorest city in America, snubbed by the Republican National Convention, Sam Fulwood still has a job), local thieves and low-rent con-artists had one of their best fiscal years in history — poor people with a glimmer of hope left make especially good targets. And that's why the Cleveland Better Business Bureau has compiled its list of Top Ten Scams of 2006: 1). Counterfeit Check Scam: Phony company mails you phony check saying you've won a phony lottery. You, being an idiot, deposit phony check in bank account, wire real money to Canada, and wait for winnings to arrive (Insert cymbal crash here). 2). Advance Fee Loans: Phony company promises to get you a loan even though your credit is about as good as Osama Bin Laden. But first you must pay hundreds of dollars in credit insurance up front. 3). Foreclosure Rescue: Losing a home can be the lowest point in someone's life. It's also a great opportunity to screw them. Offer to bail them out for a nominal fee, then abscond with the money, park behind a Get-Go, and drink the last pennies of their life-savings in Mad Dog 20/20. 4). Bogus Employment Offers: Phony company places classified ad for a "dream job." You call all your friends and tell them you're going to be a flight attendant and still be able to make it home every night in time for dinner. All you have to do is send $300 to your future boss to pay for your plane ticket to the job interview. The money disappears, and you find work bagging groceries at Marc's. "Paper or plastic?" 5). Phishing: Your bank sends you an e-mail requesting your account information. You send it to them. Then you realize that it wasn't your bank, but some 14-year-old hacker from Pepper Pike, who just bought himself a collector's set of Pokemon cards. 6). Door-to-door contractors: There's an easy way to tell a good contractor from a bad one: good contractors don't need to go door-to-door. 7). Identity Theft: If you don't know what this is, your identity is probably safer with someone else anyway. 8). Fake Stock Tips: In between e-mails advertising penis enlargement and mail-order xanax is one tipping you off about a hot new stock. It sounds credible so you invest. Sure enough the stock price skyrockets. Unfortunately that's only because a bunch of jackmos like you bought it. The scammers promoting the stock then dump it, causing the price to plummet. 9). Phony Government Grants: Congratulations! You've been awarded a government grant worth thousands. AIDS research? Education? Helping the needy? That can wait. Helping out 35-year-old guys working at Blockbuster and raiding their parents' fridge on the weekends is the government's new priority. Just send in a few hundred dollars processing fee and the money is yours. 10). Work-at-home Scams: Ahh, the convenience of working from home. You can walk around in your slippers, make your own schedule, take a nap. Gee, it's like getting paid for being unemployed. As soon as those $50 instructions on how to stuff envelopes get here, you've pretty much got it made. Maybe they just got lost in the mail . . . -- Jared Klaus

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