Get-rich-quick schemes have always plagued our society. But now, with the Internet, it is all that much easier to be taken in — particularly in these economic times, when so many people are unemployed or underemployed, looking to make ends meet. This week, WVFC was contacted by Jennifer Leach at the Federal Trade Commission, who writes about scams that promise to help us fix our financial lives but instead can wreck them. Please do take a look at the FTC’s Web site for the latest updates. Their video about the new frauds, seen below, is worth watching AND passing on (link here).

The FTC is doing what they can:

Dubbed “Operation Short Change,” the law enforcement sweep announced today includes 15 FTC cases, 44 law enforcement actions by the Department of Justice, and actions by at least 13 states and the District of Columbia…. “Rising unemployment, shrinking credit, record-setting foreclosures and disappearing retirement accounts are causing consumers tremendous anxiety about making ends meet,” said David Vladeck, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “But to con artists, today’s challenging economy presents just another opportunity to play on consumers’ worry and bilk them out of money.

“Thousands of people have been swindled out of millions of dollars by scammers who are exploiting the economic downturn,” Vladeck added. “Their scams may promise job placement, access to free government grant money or the chance to work at home. In fact, the scams have one thing in common: They raise people’s hopes and then drive them deeper into a hole.”


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  • Pat Fortunato July 7, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    This is a great video! I was scammed once by a small-time hustler: a disheveled young man in preppy clothes near Gramercy Park who had had his wallet stolen and needed money ($16.52) for a bus ticket back to Connecticut. He gave me his mom’s phone number to let her know he was all right (this was before cell phones); I gave him the money ($20 so he could get a cup of coffee). Guess what? The number was bogus. And so was the young man. Okay, this was not a big deal but it taught me a lesson about how scams work. This kid was good! I later wondered what became of him. Maybe he’s one of the mini-Madoffs out there or the TV get-rich-quick guys preying on other women. Anyway, the experience made me a little wiser, but not bitter . . .