Examining the Top 10 scams affecting you

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Posted: Tuesday, February 4, 2013 --- 10:05pm

Just about every day viewers call or email NBC 15 wanting to know if a phone call they got or a letter they received is legit or if it's a scam.

To many of us, getting offers that are "too good to be true" have been common place. And the scams are only increasing.

NBC 15 worked with the Better Business Bureau and the state to come up with the Top 10 scams.

10. Foreign Lottery
"All you need to know about this is anything not originating in the US is illegal” says Kimberly Hazen, Regional Director for the Better Business Bureau in Southwest Wisconsin. Basically, if you get a sweepstakes from places like Canada, Caribbean, Nigeria, Ireland or Spain, they're illegal here in the United States.

9. Home Repair
Scammers go door to door, sealing driveways, fixing roofs, and trimming trees. They are usually not licensed and usually not from around here.

8. Grandparent's Scam
Scammers will call a grandparent and pretend to be that person's grandchild. The scammer will usually plead that the grandparent not tell his or her “parents.” They'll ask the grandparent to wire them money.

7. Check Washing
Scammers will steal checks and, using a common household item, wash the name and amount off of the checks. They'll then write in their name and whatever amount they'd like.

6. Phony Invoices
Scammers will send fake invoices to companies. The amount is usually not much. As a result, more often then not, businesses will just pay the amount instead of looking into the issue.

5. Corporate Record Services
Scammers will send a bill to a company saying it has to file corporate records. The bill usually looks very official and very governmental, but it isn't at all, since the service in question is completely optional.

4. Fake Awards
We all love getting awards, but you won't want to get your hands on one of these. Scammers will send companies a letter saying they've won a “Best Of” award, for example. But, in order to receive the award, the company must first pay up to $100.

3. Overpayment
When selling something on sites like Craigslist or Ebay, the buyer may send you a check for more than the amount of the item that you're selling. They'll then ask for the difference back. Except, when you go to cash the check, they gave you, it will bounce and now you've also lost the money you've sent them.

2. Phishing
This is one that many more of us have become aware of over the recent years. You receive an email with a link. After you click the link, malware could be downloaded onto your computer, grabbing passwords, even account numbers.

1. Phony Charities
This scam is surrounded by emotional pressure and urgency. A good-trusting charity wants you to take your time and make a good decision. So, next time someone calls you, texts you or shows up at your door asking for money, do your homework first!

For more information on these and other scams head to:

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