Job hunters and those struggling to escape debt were the targets of several scams last year - a sign of today's economic times, says the Better Business Bureau.
"If it's too good to be true, it is," cautions Dubuque Police Lt. Scott Baxter, a crime prevention officer. "Never pay money up front."
The BBB has compiled a list of the top 10 scams of 2010. Here are five of them:
Job hunter scams: These include attempts to gain access to personal information such as bank account or social security numbers and requirements to pay a fee to be considered for the job.
Debt relief and settlement services: These companies often require upfront fees and potentially leave the consumer drowning in even more debt. Complaints to the BBB about these services increased by about 30 percent in 2010.
Work from home schemes: Some victims found that their opportunity to work from home was a job to fence stolen goods.
Timeshare resellers: Timeshare owners desperate to get rid of their costly property are targeted by companies that claim they have an eager buyer. The company tells the seller they just have to pay up to several thousand dollars to cover fees. The seller never hears from the company again.
Not so "free" trial offers: Misleading free trial offers for diet supplements, penny auctions and money making schemes blanket the Internet. Complainants state they were repeatedly billed every month and found it extremely difficult to cancel.
By Emily Kittle