10 Common Spam Scams - Slide 10

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The Bait: Emails touting a way you can consolidate your bills into one monthly payment without borrowing; stop credit harassment, foreclosures, repossessions, tax levies and garnishments; or wipe out your debts.

The Catch: These offers often involve bankruptcy proceedings, but they rarely say so. While bankruptcy is one way to deal with serious financial problems, it's generally considered the option of last resort. The reason: it has a long-term negative impact on your creditworthiness. A bankruptcy stays on your credit report for 10 years, and can hurt your ability to get credit, a job, insurance, or even a place to live. To top it off, you will likely be responsible for attorneys' fees for bankruptcy proceedings.

Your Safety Net: Read between the lines when looking at these emails. Before resorting to bankruptcy, talk with your creditors about arranging a modified payment plan, contact a credit counseling service to help you develop a debt repayment plan, or carefully consider a second mortgage or home equity line of credit. One caution: While a home loan may allow you to consolidate your debt, it also requires your home as collateral. If you can't make the payments, you could lose your home.

Forward debt relief offers to spam@uce.gov.

While some consumers find unsolicited commercial email – also known as "spam" – informative, others find it annoying and time consuming. Still others find it expensive: They're among the people who have lost money to spam that contained bogus offers and fraudulent promotions.

Many Internet Service Providers and computer operating systems offer filtering software to limit the spam in their users' e-mail inboxes. In addition, some old-fashioned 'filter tips' can help you save time and money by avoiding frauds pitched in email. OnGuard Online suggests computer users screen spam for scams, send unwanted spam on to the appropriate enforcement authorities, and then hit delete.

This slideshow features 10 common spam scams end users need to know about.

Fighting Back

Con artists are clever and cunning, constantly hatching new variations on age-old scams. Still, skeptical consumers can spot questionable or unsavory promotions in email offers. Should you receive an email that you think may be fraudulent, forward it to the FTC at spam@uce.gov, hit delete, and smile. You'll be doing your part to help put a scam artist out of work.

How to Report Spam

If you receive an email that you think may be a scam:

  • Forward it to the FTC at spam@uce.gov
  • Forward it to the abuse desk of the sender's ISP.
  • Also, if the email appears to be impersonating a bank or other company or organization, forward the message to the actual organization.

If you think you may have responded to an email that may be a scam:

  • File a report with the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/complaint.
  • Report it to your state Attorney General, using contact information at naag.org.
  • Then visit the FTC's identity theft website at ftc.gov/idtheft. While you can't completely control whether you will become a victim of identity theft, you can take some steps to minimize your risk.

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Related Topics : Unisys, Stimulus Package, Security Breaches, Symantec, Electronic Surveillance

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