Scams to Watch for in 2010

By Better Business Bureau

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Each year the Better Business Bureau compiles a list of the scams that have most significantly impacted consumers across British Columbia. The following is a brief summary of the top scams from the past calendar year and simple tips to protect yourself from becoming a victim of fraud in 2010.

Credit Repair Schemes - Be wary of promises of fast, easy ways to fix or even erase damage to your credit history.

TIP: For credit help, contact the Credit Counselling Society at

Not So “Free” Trials - Many websites that offer a free trial for products do not disclose the billing terms and conditions or do not prominently display such details on their website.

Tip: Before giving the company any credit or debit card information, review the website fully and be aware that free trials typically result in repeated billing.

ID Theft - ID theft is when someone uses your personal information to obtain loans, goods, or services and does not pay the bills.

TIP: Never give out your personal information (especially your SIN, PIN, account numbers and passwords) to anyone, unless you have a personal reason to initiate a conversation in which such information is required.

Home Repair Rip-Offs - Beware of “contractors” who use scare tactics to encourage you to perform unnecessary or over-priced home renovations.

TIP: Do your research and comparison-shop before starting a renovation. Start with the BBB and search for a company reliability report at

Free Government Money Schemes - Consumers have reported a number of companies that promise “free” advice on how to get government grants when in reality they charge a fee for participation.

TIP: Federal grant-related information is readily available for free on the Service Canada website

Business Opportunities - Watch for investment opportunities that appear lucrative, but often are more hype than substance.

TIP: Go to the BC Securities Commission’s website for information on what to look out for when choosing to invest.

Cashback Fraud - Be aware of situations in which you are sent a cheque for a sum of money and asked to return a portion via money transfer.

TIP: Never wire money to a stranger. If you believe you are a victim of fraud contact

Mystery Jobs Scams - Be skeptical of mystery shopper ads in newspapers or on online job listings.

TIP: If you are looking for mystery shopping work, go to the Mystery Shopping

Providers Association (MSPA) website at

For a more detailed description of the top scams impacting consumers and tips to protect yourself, visit




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