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The abridgement may be disturbing but the artifice business is booming. Although absolute abstracts aren’t kept, the fingerprints of a abomination beachcomber are all over. Artifice and identity-theft complaints tracked by the Federal Trade Commission topped 1.2 actor aftermost year, up 19 percent over 2010 and 800 percent aback 2000.

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Moreover, the FBI says artifice involving investments, mortgages, and the Internet is growing. Government takedowns of multimillion-dollar schemes are common.

“Fraud is as aerial as it’s anytime been, because the betray artists are appliance aboriginal channels and technology that didn’t abide 15 years ago,” says Martha Deevy, administrator of the Banking Artifice Research Centermost at Stanford University’s Centermost on Longevity. The centermost estimates the assessable absolute bulk of banking artifice to Americans to be $40 billion to $50 billion a year.

Experts additionally say the allegation for law administration to accompany terrorists has confused FBI assets from artifice cases. “After 9/11 the scammers realized, ‘This is our time,’” says Doug Templeton, arch investigator for the Pinellas County (Fla.) Department of Justice and Chump Services, who has tracked abyss in the accompaniment for 13 years.

David Vladeck, administrator of the bureau of chump aegis at the FTC, says, “What we’re seeing is ‘last dollar’ artifice aimed at demography the aftermost dollar from the unemployed or underemployed.”

Like a acceptable novel, a betray is all about the story. It allegation be acceptable and, aloft all, new. Consequently, con artists change their techniques to acknowledge to alteration chump awareness, says the latest blackmail appraisal by the International Mass-Marketing Artifice Alive Group.

We interviewed experts, scoured the complaint files of authoritative and consumer-protection agencies, and followed our readers’ tip-offs to present the latest frauds authoritative the rounds—and some of the classics. Here’s what to watch out for.

A new aberration on the home-improvement betray targets association who appetite to cut their activity bills with rooftop solar panels or windmills. Solar energy, of course, can abate your electric bill. But authoritative the big up-front beforehand is the agnate of advantageous for 30 to 40 years of electricity in advance. And lots of variables can abash payback, including active breadth blurred acclimate is commonplace or in the adumbration of aerial trees, terrain, or adjacent alpine buildings.

Solar-panel scams. Consumers alien with those caveats accord double-dealers an befalling to lowball costs and allocution up savings. The promised best-case book can allurement you into advantageous a big drop to a architect who skips boondocks or contrarily never delivers the arrangement or savings. Some victims acquire been austere for several thousand dollars. Home-improvement companies are the third best complained about businesses, according to the latest analysis of consumer-protection agencies by the Chump Federation of America and the North American Chump Aegis Investigators.

Protect yourself: California is the baton in residential solar, so go to its electric anniversary website to see whether solar makes faculty for you. If it does, assignment alone with accountant contractors specializing in solar installation. Conduct an activity analysis and get bids from at atomic three companies. Analysis their Bigger Business Bureau appraisement and references. Never pay the abounding bulk up advanced or a drop of added than $1,000 or 10 percent of the activity price, whichever is smaller.

2. We’ll aish the virus we begin for $100

Some scoundrels fly beneath the alarm via telephone. A tech-support person, purportedly from a trusted aggregation like Dell or Microsoft, calls to acquaint you that its aegis systems acquire accidentally detected a virus on your computer and offers to aish it—for a fee of $100 or more.

Bogus tech-support scams. Of course, there is no virus, so you pay for accidental service. The bluff may additionally booty the befalling to install apish antivirus software that afterwards starts “finding” absent malware. That can bulk you a array for removal. Worse, the tech may additionally install software that scans your computer to abduct your passwords and annex your computer to accomplish ads and beforehand spam.

Protect yourself: See our June 2012 abode on aegis software to acquisition accepted antivirus and antimalware software that we’ve rated, install it on your PC, and accrue it up to date. Hang up on anyone alfresco your home who claims to acquisition agitation on your PC.

3. Affirm the flight catch you didn’t make

You get an e-mail admonition you about airline anxiety you didn’t make, a amalgamation from UPS you weren’t expecting, or a botheration with your coffer account. Aloof bang on this articulation or attachment.

Phishing and malware scams. If you chase the instructions, you ability end up downloading malware advised to booty ascendancy of your computer and about-face it into a spamming robot, abuse it with a virus, or abundance your files for banking information. Following the articulation will booty you to a armpit that looks absolute but is fake. Aback you log in, it captures your user name and countersign so that the bad guys can get into your absolute accounts.

For years, those threats were bound to your PC, which should be adequate with aegis software. But the acceptance of acute phones has opened the aperture to “smishing.” (The chat combines “SMS,” or short-message service—aka argument messaging—and “phishing.”) Some smart-phone users don’t apprehend that their buzz is a computer and decumbent to the aforementioned aegis risks as a PC.

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Those deceptions work. Added than 9 actor households had at atomic one affiliate who gave up admonition to phishers, and 30 actor suffered a malware beforehand in the antecedent year, according to our latest analysis of online households. The Bigger Business Bureau declared phishing as its top betray of 2011. Moreover, today’s affected sites are added believable than ever.

Protect yourself: Never bang on a articulation to your online accounts through e-mail or alarm an account-related buzz cardinal in a argument bulletin addition sends you. Instead, accessible your PC or adaptable Web browser and blazon in the adapted abode on your own. And don’t bang on an e-mail adapter unless you’re assured it.

4. You’ve aloof won a $100 allowance card!

In this new bamboozle, burglars claiming to be from a bounded abundance alarm to acquaint you that you’ve aloof won the admired plastic, and you allegation arise in to aces it up.

Burglary. The d is to get you out of the abode so that robbers can backpack out an ancient break-in while you’re gone.

Protect yourself: This simple ambush works because it catches you by surprise. Consistently be apprehensive aback addition promises you commodity for nothing. The Bigger Business Bureau, which aboriginal warned about this scam, advises “winners” to ask questions: What challenge did I win? How was I chosen? Alarm the abundance to apart affirm the details. Afterwards you actuate that it’s a scam, acquaint the police. And booty added precautions to lock up your house, set your alarms, and assure backing aback you do leave, aback burglars acquire acutely targeted your home.

5. Now you absolutely can see who angle your Facebook profile!!!

Social-media networks are abundant arena for fakery. You ability acquire received, for example, news-feed belletrist from Facebook accompany agitated about an app that claims to let you see who’s blockage out your profile. Such belletrist can be spam in disguise, arch to “bait pages.” Added allurement involves purportedly camp or dejected videos. Consumers who booty the allurement never get the promised software or film.

Instead, the articulation drives the analytical to a affected Facebook website. You’re asked to “like” the app or added bait, which assiduously the spam to all of your friends. Again you acquire to complete a survey, which collects claimed admonition and opinions.

Survey scams. The ambition is to ambush you into bushing out surveys for online advertisers, with the being who set up the operation accession commissions for anniversary one completed by an ever-expanding amphitheater of friends, says Chet Wisniewski, arch aegis adviser at Sophos, an admonition aegis firm. One “clickjacker,” Adscend Media of Wilmington, Del., raked in a cogent bulk of money, according to a accusation filed by the Washington accompaniment advocate general. The case was acclimatized in May beneath a accord adjustment in which the aggregation agreed to stop assertive marketing.

There’s a aberration amid betray surveys and accepted surveys, like those Chump Belletrist e-mails to subscribers. Our surveys articulation you anon to the questionnaire; you don’t allegation to “like” us first. And your responses are confidential; they aren’t acclimated for business or fundraising.

Protect yourself: Don’t acknowledge claimed admonition online to anyone who accomplished acquaintance with you unless your assurance is certain. Attending for the analysis company’s name and go to its website apart by reopening your browser, or alarm it. Ignore artefact promos from Facebook friends. Use attention in acceding admission to your profile. And anticipate afore you “like.”

6. Cut your credit-card absorption bulk to 4.75%

Who doesn’t appetite to cut boundless credit-card absorption costs in today’s low-rate environment? An unsolicited addition falsely implying that he’s affiliated with your credit-card issuer offers to abate your absorption bulk and save you $2,500. The anniversary costs $695 up front, and you allegation ample out a “financial contour form” with capacity about your debts, including balances, acclaim limits, absorption rates, and customer-service numbers, additional your name, address, and Social Aegis number.

Credit-card absorption rate-cut scams. The abounding admeasurement of the “service” about involves a appointment alarm with the thief, victim, and creditors, during which the bluff asks for a bulk abridgement and the creditor usually refuses. Consumers, of course, can do this on their own—free. One such operation, Select Personnel Management, a Canadian company, and eight associated companies and defendants were ordered by a U.S. District Court in Illinois in 2009 to pay added than $7.8 actor and stop telemarketing afterwards the FTC said they hoodwinked added than 12,000 consumers.

Protect yourself: Don’t accord claimed admonition such as anniversary numbers to anyone who initiates acquaintance with you. Go to donotcall.gov or alarm 888-382-1222 to annals your buzz numbers on the Civic Do Not Alarm Registry. Hang up on unsolicited telemarketers.

7. Chargeless golf, dinner, and priceless beforehand admonition for adeptness retirees

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Investment advisers, broker-dealers, and bodies from added financial-services firms allure affluent seniors to adore fun, food, and admission to beforehand secrets that will add $100,000 to their net worth, get them 40 percent beforehand returns, or about-face $100,000 into $1 actor for their heirs. Attendees ability acquire a sleeve of golf assurance or alike win golf clubs.

[More from Chump Reports: Ratings and recommended TVs]

Investment-seminar scams. The capital ambition of this educational “opportunity” is to advertise beforehand articles that accomplish commissions for promoters, mostly annuities, real-estate beforehand trusts, alternate funds, and about-face mortgages. That’s all altogether legal.

But the ads, sales materials, and pitchmen can be ambiguous or advance strategies inappropriate for seniors. Reported problems acquire included promises of a 38 percent bulk of acknowledgment with no risk, the defalcation of investments afterwards the customer’s ability or consent, the confiscation of customers’ funds to buy unregistered oil and gas partnerships, and the arrangement of absent investments to pay a salesman’s claimed costs and trading losses.

Protect yourself: Accord alone with long-time, trusted banking advisers, never with new “friends” from a rubber-chicken sales seminar. Acquire the allure and fun, but accommodate aught banking admonition and don’t assurance bare allotment forms or annihilation else. And aloof say no to aftereffect one-on-one affairs that will apparently be appropriate on the pretense of advancing a banking plan.

8. A civic ancestors health-care plan for $3 a day

The Supreme Court’s June cardinal advancement best of the Affordable Adversity Act is accepted to animate this scam, which appeared afterwards the legislation was anesthetized in 2010. An “emergency broadcast” and video of President Obama discussing bloom adversity prompts admirers to alarm a toll-free cardinal to ability one of abounding telemarketers. They betoken that they’re affairs affordable, government-authorized bloom allowance that provides “significant” accumulation on decree drugs, doctor and hospital fees, and labs coast-to-coast.

Medical abatement plan scams. The artefact isn’t insurance; it’s a abatement agenda costing an acceptance fee of $29 to $500, additional anniversary fees of $90 to $1,300. That’s ambiguous enough, and the FTC has taken activity adjoin added than 50 such operators in contempo years. But aback ill barter assuredly allegation to use the card, abounding health-care providers don’t anniversary it. Refunds? Fuggedaboutit!

Protect yourself: Abatement affairs aren’t illegal, but we accede them to be clutter insurance. They’re generally awash deceptively as insurance, but clashing absolute bloom coverage, abatement affairs don’t pay any of your medical bills. Instead, they bulk to a anniversary of providers who may be accommodating to activity plan associates a discount. Anticipate coupons, not coverage, and this poor arrangement becomes obvious.

9. We can ‘clean-pipe’ your car to canyon billow inspection

When a car is absurd to canyon a accompaniment billow inspection, a artisan or added artisan artlessly tests a amateur car that does accommodated standards, and voilà! The acceptable numbers are acclimated to accredit the belcher.

Auto-repair scams. They abide to thrive; auto-repair rip-offs were No. 8 in the BBB’s complaint rankings in 2011. Amid the best accepted tricks: Mechanics accord a acceptable appraisal up advanced but pad the bill with added work. Some shops accomplish a business of this by announcement a arrangement oil-and-lube job to blot in customers, again “finding” abundant added big-ticket problems that allegation to be fixed.

Another betray involves counterfeit, used, or abominable genitalia acclimated in abode of the new genitalia you pay for. Sometimes the artisan doesn’t accommodate any backup genitalia and doesn’t do the work. Bogus announcement can add up. Afterwards a artisan in Palm Desert, Calif., claimed to acquire rung up added than $11,000 in genitalia and activity on one car, inspectors from the California Department of Chump Affairs Bureau of Automotive Adjustment said they begin commodity else: fraud.

Protect yourself: The Coalition Adjoin Allowance Artifice says you should consistently get a accounting appraisal afore assignment is done, ask to see the aliment and alone parts, use a boutique recommended by a friends, analysis the shop’s BBB appraisement and Yelp page, and be alert if the artisan says he’ll admonition “waive” the deductible on insurance-financed repairs.

10. You could win an iPad, so alpha bidding!

Hot electronics are frequently acclimated to attract victims into a shakedown. A pop-up ad on your computer invites you to bid on an iPad, laptop PC, or wide-screen TV, but you allegation accommodate your cell-phone cardinal to play. Submitting your bid sends a argument bulletin to your corpuscle buzz that, whether you acknowledge or not, may accredit an exceptionable $9.99 a ages cable to some abortive service. The allegation gets tacked assimilate your cell-phone bill, breadth you’re absurd to apprehension it.

Cramming. The arrangement is smoke and mirrors advised to abduction your cell-phone cardinal to abode crooked accuse on your bill, a convenance declared cramming. Clashing numbers for landlines, cell-phone numbers aren’t arise in directories, so scammers allegation be base to get it.

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Cell-phone companies, which can aggregate $1 to $2 commissions per charge, affirmation that wireless abstraction isn’t a problem. But we begin 480,000 declared cell-cramming victims in one case, and in 2011 a Senate lath analysis assured that landline and cell-phone crammers could be fleecing $2 billion a year from consumers.

“We acquire assorted wireless-cramming investigations beneath way,” says Vladeck at the FTC, “and we’re absolutely bound seeing the clearing of abstraction from landline to wireless phones.”

Protect yourself: Guard your cell-phone cardinal like a acclaim card; don’t accord it to strangers. Appeal refunds from your corpuscle provider if you’ve been crammed. Acquaint your wireless and landline carriers to block all third-party announcement to your account, and analysis antecedent bills for abstraction charges.11. Buy a gourmet dog-food advertisement anniversary $61—for aloof $16

You acquire an e-mail that alerts you to a website—not the manufacturer’s—where you can acquirement high-value coupons. They’re not your archetypal 25 cents off but appropriate coupons for $2 to $60 off or chargeless cher articles like atom razors, cher pet food, diapers, baby formula, coffee, and alike restaurant meals. Such giveaways are rarely circulated, but manufacturers do use them to acquaint new articles or as a amicableness activity to win aback a wronged customer.

Coupon scams. Botheration is, there’s no way anyone can accrue abundant of those attenuate coupons to accomplish a business of it, “so they acquire to be affected or stolen,” says Bud Miller, controlling administrator of the Advertisement Admonition Corporation, an industry accumulation that works to stop advertisement fraud. Added advertisement flimflams absorb advantageous ventures based on aggrandized balance promises, in which consumers advance several hundred to several thousand dollars for advertisement booklets that are difficult to sell, or they appliance at work-at-home advertisement clipping.

Protect yourself: Avoid such coupons.

12. I’ve been in an blow in Canada and allegation your help, Grandpa

It’s the buzz alarm every grandparent dreads: Bad anniversary about a grandchild advancing in the average of the night. Maybe the car has burst bottomward or been circuitous in a crash, maybe the kin has been unjustly arrested, or a ancestors affiliate in the aggressive has been mugged across while on leave. The addition may attack to impersonate the grandchild or a badge officer, lawyer, or doctor. Whatever the details, the ancestors ancient needs to wire money ASAP.

Grandparent scams. The caller, however, is not a about but a bluff who’ll aggregate the untraceable wire alteration you ability send, about to Canada, Mexico, or addition country. This bedraggled accord has been alive aback 2008 at least, but the Internet Abomination Complaint Centermost belletrist that scammers acquire afresh become added adult by mining social-networking sites for claimed capacity that accomplish their clothing added credible. One brace was bankrupt aboriginal for $3,000 aback their “grandson” was allegedly bent fishing in Canada afterwards a license, again for a whopping $30,000 added aback the ball escalated to Mounties award drugs and booze on the boat, the Michigan advocate accepted said.

Protect yourself: Ask for capacity about your aftermost appointment that your grandkid should anamnesis and a drifter couldn’t. Jot bottomward the caller’s breadth and number. Hang up, and instead of calling Western Union, alarm the grandchild’s parents or the cardinal you usually use to ability him to verify his whereabouts—even if the addition pleads, “Don’t alarm my parents!” Don’t accelerate a dime unless you affirm the story.

13. Candied deal: $15,000 for a car with a $28,000 book value

Hard times nudge abounding consumers into the used-car market, and some wind up with this arrangement hunter’s nightmare: Crooks abduct a car, again archetype the agent identification cardinal (VIN) from addition car—same make, model, year, color—in a capital parking lot. They use the accepted VIN to affected VIN dashboard plates and Mylar stickers, bang them on the baseborn vehicle, and advertise that car to you at an alluringly low price. The allotment abstracts are additionally forged.

VIN cloning scams. Sooner or later, because you allegation annals and assure your car, allowance carriers and accompaniment motor agent departments eventually amount out that two cartage are appliance the aforementioned VIN, which draws the badge to reclaim your candied deal. You’re now out the car and the money you paid to the long-gone criminals. This and abounding added schemes admonition put auto sales in additional abode amid the top 10 complaints listed by the Civic Association of Attorneys General.

Protect yourself: Watch for red flags: a far-below-market price, a clandestine agent accomplishing business in an odd location, a banknote deal. Aback you alarm a seller, ask for the VIN and analysis it, free, at vehiclehistory.gov or the website of the Civic Allowance Abomination Bureau. While allocation up the vehicle, analyze the VIN you were accustomed with those in several places on the car—dashboard, cuff box, ancillary door, in the trunk, beneath the awning a the radiator post. If there’s any mismatch, abide poker-faced, don’t accost the seller, airing abroad from the deal, and alarm the police.

[More from Chump Reports: Best and adversity vacuums]

14. Appetite a $17.50-an-hour job?

Last May, job hunters appliance computers at a accessible library in Columbus, Ohio, to chase the appetite ads were approached by a “recruiter” attractive to ample positions at a new abundance nearby. The acclimated the library to conduct job interviews, and candidates abounding out applications with their name, date of birth, Social Aegis number, and more.

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Identity-theft scams. Aback the applicants afterwards went to the abundance for training, they abstruse that the recruiter wasn’t associated with it at all. Rather, contiguous job interviews are a new and audacious way to abstract admonition for ID theft.

Job scams rank seventh on the BBB’s top 10 scams list, and such come-ons additionally absorb work-at-home schemes including capacity envelopes, accumulating merchandise, medical announcement and claims processing, and reshipping what the victim may not apperceive are baseborn goods.

ID annexation was the bigger class on the FTC’s 2011 complaint list. Thieves use a advanced array of approach to get you to accord up key admonition that lets them abduct from your absolute coffer and acclaim accounts or use your Social Aegis cardinal to accessible affected banking accounts and accomplish added crimes in your name. The best able deceptions arise to arise from your coffer or credit-card company, a government agency, or added commodity that you trust, and they apple-polish admonition out of you by adage they allegation it to actual an absurdity or anticipate a problem.

Protect yourself: Never accord your claimed admonition to anyone who telephones, e-mails, texts, or contrarily initiates acquaintance with you. Don’t participate in fun-looking online pop-up quizzes that ask for your mother’s beginning name, your aboriginal pet’s name, or added admonition frequently acclimated to verify your identity. Monitor your banking accounts anniversary or alike daily, abode a aegis benumb on your acclaim belletrist at all three acclaim bureaus, and book an ID-theft abode with the bounded badge if you get swindled.

If addition approaches you with a job, acquaintance the -to-be employer to verify that the recruiter and the job aperture are legitimate. There should be no allegation for checking-account and added banking admonition on your application.

15. Gold prices will aiguille in the aing 60 days. Advance now!

Telemarketers affiance arch citizens with assets that gold, silver, platinum, and aegis bars, bullion, and bill are a surefire, low-risk beforehand and use high-pressure sales approach to aing the deal. In fact, adored metals are a commodity accountable to aberrant concise appraisement with no agreement of any net return.

Gold beforehand scam. What consumers aren’t told is that their beforehand is absolutely a acclaim purchase. Their money is deposited in an account, and the scammers don’t absolutely buy any adored metals. Instead, the crooks rake off ailing arise fees and commissions.

Protect yourself: Hang up on telemarketers who alarm out of the blue. Accord alone with acclaimed precious-metals dealers. Acquisition one at the website of the American Numismatic Association. Booty commitment of your gold at your bank, breadth you can accrue it in a safe-deposit box.

16. I overpaid you, so drop my analysis and wire me the difference

You column an anniversary for arrangement on Craigslist or addition classified-ad website and you’re abundantly afraid aback an out-of-state client bound responds by commitment you payment. But yikes! The client has afield beatific you a analysis for abundant added than he owes. You acquaintance him about the mix-up. No problem: He trusts you to drop his analysis and wire the overage to him via Western Union, MoneyGram, or added service. To appearance how nice you are and to advocate the advantage of mankind, you go ahead.

Overpayment scams. But the analysis bounces, so you don’t get the snake’s money; he gets yours. Overpayment artifice was fifth-ranked amid complaints filed with the Internet Abomination Complaint Centermost aftermost year. You’re additionally ashore with any returned-deposit fees from your bank.

Protect yourself: Accord alone with bodies you can accommodated in person, Craigslist warns. (Its founder, Craig Newmark, is on the lath of Chump Reports.) Exchange appurtenances for cash, don’t accord with abroad buyers or wire them money, and don’t acquire checks, not alike cashier’s checks or money orders, which can be faked.

17. Civic Sweepstakes Bureau calling

In a new circuit on a age-old fraud, you acquire mail or a alarm from a acutely accurate government bureau that is “supervising” the safe alteration of—congratulations!—your sweepstakes winnings. Amid the agencies allegedly calling are the apocryphal Civic Chump Aegis Agency, the acted Civic Sweepstakes Bureau, and alike the misappropriated FTC.

Sweepstakes scams. Spoofing technology makes the callback cardinal attending like it’s absolutely in Washington, D.C., and the official-looking abstracts acquire lots of gravitas and assume authentic. But it all works to fool you into advantageous a alteration or processing fee, or taxes and allowance on “winnings” of $20 to $10,000. Of course, there are no prizes, but any absent fee acquittal is real. Sweepstakes scams are decidedly popular, baronial third on the FTC’s anniversary complaint list.

Protect yourself: Never pay lottery-win fees, which are a red banderole of fraud. Accepted sweepstakes don’t crave winners to pay insurance, taxes, aircraft and handling, or any added fees. Added tip-offs accommodate high-pressure efforts to get you to wire the fee anon to exhausted a deadline. And admitting governments absolutely tax award-winning winnings, they don’t “supervise” delivery.

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18. Pay me up advanced for this repair, or I’ll go elsewhere

In the deathwatch of tornadoes and added astringent weather, these hustlers booty advantage of the billow in appeal for repairs. The advance is for up-front money.

Storm-repair scams. Once they get your money, these skunks may do base work, adjournment the assignment endlessly, or booty the money and run. Tina Shelton of Manvel, Texas, a Houston suburb, absent $12,000 to a architect who bilked her and aged neighbors afterwards Hurricane Ike swept through their breadth in 2008. Roofers in accepted accomplish added than 8,000 complaints a year with the BBB and rank 15th amid all industries for cardinal of complaints.

Protect yourself: Ask your insurer about advantage and to get a actual estimate. Never pay the abounding bulk of a job afore it’s done; pay in increments as assignment is completed. A bottomward acquittal of beneath than a third of the estimated absolute bulk is OK. It allows the architect to buy materials, which you should see access at your home forth with invoices advertence what was bought and paid. Pay with a claimed analysis or acclaim card, which you can accrue bigger clue of than cash. Don’t do business with contractors who beating on your door; acquisition listed, licensed, and insured bounded architecture companies. Get at atomic three accounting estimates.

19. The government wants you to acquire a scooter

Someone at the aperture or at a abbey presentation tells a Medicare almsman that the federal bloom affairs will pay for alleged abiding medical equipment; all you acquire to do is ask. Motorized scooters and ability wheelchairs are the big prizes. The bluff collects advice about the person’s medical conditions, doctors, and—most important—Medicare anniversary number.

The almsman may never acquire the accessories or may acquire a $500 unpowered wheelchair while Medicare gets billed $11,000 for a feature-laden powered one. Gaming a government affairs is easy: A 2009 abode by the Department of Bloom and Human Casework Office of Inspector Accepted said that 60 percent of accepted and circuitous ability wheelchair claims lacked able documentation.

Medicare scams. Dishonest doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and accustomed cons use your balmy anatomy and Medicare anniversary cardinal to abduct money from the government. But you ability additionally get ashore with co-pays for things the bandit billed to Medicare afterwards cogent you. Your character may additionally be baseborn and awash off, your medical annal adapted to actualize a billable affected affliction, and your bloom may be jeopardized by a consistent apocryphal diagnosis.

“Patient brokers” may activity you chargeless groceries, rides, or alike banknote (which are actionable kickbacks, the FBI says) for your ID cardinal so that they can bill Medicare for medical treatments never performed.

Protect yourself: Never accord your Medicare cardinal to a drifter who claims to be a government employee. Analysis your Medicare Summary Apprehension for accessories or casework that you never received, were double-billed, or billed at a college bulk than you were told. Analysis your acclaim abode periodically for past-due or accumulating accounts for medical accessories or casework never received. Don’t assurance bare allotment forms. You can get medical equipment, accountable to the rules and co-pays of Medicare, but it allegation be medically all-important and accustomed by your doctor.

20. But we already beatific your tax refund

No one brand belletrist from the Internal Revenue Service, but this one is both abstract and awfully worrisome. Afterwards you book your assets tax return, the IRS notifies you that you’ve filed added than one acknowledgment and that addition abroad has already filed appliance your identity.

Fraudulent tax acknowledgment scams. This abomination is almost new but has jumped this year to 940,000 allotment filed by character thieves appliance added people’s names. How do they accomplish money advantageous your taxes? They use your character to affirmation a tax refund, and if you don’t acquire money advancing to you, they lie about deductions to concoct a refund—$5 billion in ripped-off refunds this year.

Protect yourself: Book an IRS Character Annexation affidavit, accessible on the agency’s website at irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f14039.pdf. If the botheration persists, you can additionally get admonition from the IRS Character Aegis Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490. Be able to wait. Howard Shoelson, of Davie, Fla., abstruse in March that a bandit filed a acknowledgment appliance his name and Social Aegis number, and he was still cat-and-mouse for IRS admonition aback we batten to him in August. Additionally abode the bearings to the Social Aegis Administration to assure your benefits, which could be at risk.

21. We’ll balance the banknote scammers stole

Adding insult to injury, “recovery room” operators buy “sucker lists” of bodies who’ve already been bamboozled to bleed again—this time on the affiance that for a fee they’ll balance your losses.

Recovery-room scams. Fees bulk hundreds of dollars, and you don’t balance the aboriginal losses.

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Protect yourself: Hang up on anyone who tries to sell, give, or admonition you with anything. Short-circuit the key footfall in every betray and never accord money or claimed admonition to acquaintances or strangers.

Editor’s Note: A adaptation of this commodity appeared in the October 2012 affair of Chump Belletrist anniversary with the banderole “Scamnation!”

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