Consumer Scams

Desperate people are vulnerable people.  When financial disaster looms, people look for a miracle.  For most, their home is the biggest investment of their lives, and they are desperate to save it from foreclosure.  That desperation allows the evil and unscrupulous to step in and con the vulnerable homeowner out of his home and what remains of his money. Whether it’s called mortgage relief or foreclosure relief, we are talking about the same thing – a program to help homeowners in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure.  While there are legitimate programs sponsored by the federal government and by lenders, the programs that sound too good to be true are usually scams.  Arm yourself with information about common scams and the federal laws that can help you.

If you don’t already have a virtual home assistant, you have undoubtedly seen the ads on TV and the internet.  There is currently a big push to promote Amazon Echo, Google Home, Google Home Mini, and other similar technologies.  While it may be convenient to have a virtual assistant to turn on the dishwasher, order groceries, and answer trivia questions, privacy concerns have arisen that are both complex and troubling.  Those privacy issues pose serious legal questions and impact our civil rights.

Tap and pay is arriving in the U.S.  A few retailers like Costco have already instituted “tap and pay” service. To make a purchase, you simply tap your credit card on the card reader, and, voila!  Your purchase is complete.  There is no wait for the card to go through and nothing to sign.  Canada, the United Kingdom, and parts of Europe have been using tap and pay systems for several years, but the U.S. has been slower to embrace the technology.  Yet, analysts expect contactless credit and debit cards to become commonplace in the U.S. over the next 3 years.

Solar power scams have become big business in Arizona. A few years ago, the problem was so pervasive it prompted legislation requiring solar companies to use at least 10-point type in their contracts and forcing them to disclose some of the onerous terms they routinely included.  Solar panels on homes have also become a point of controversy with Arizona utility companies.  The utilities complained that solar homeowners were not paying their fair share of the costs of building and repairing electrical grids.  All these issues lead to the big question: “Is it worth it to install solar panels on your roof?”

Tax scams can be lucrative for con artists.  They can run their operations from any country in the world and steal our money. IRS scams have become so prevalent that both the IRS and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have issued warnings on their websites to alert U.S. taxpayers of the risks.  Since October of 2013, over 12,716 people in the U.S. have been bilked out of more than $63 Million Dollars by scammers.  That represents a lot of innocent people losing a great deal of money.  Why are these scams so successful?  The crooks have done their homework.  They pull out all the stops to create the illusion of legitimacy. They use websites that look authentic, letterhead copied from the IRS, and fake badges and ID numbers.  All we can do as taxpayers is to be aware of the potential risks and always be vigilant.

Internet transactions have become more prevalent every year.  People use sites like Craigslist, Facebook, LetGo, OfferUp and many others to buy and sell everything from cars to iPhones and concert tickets.  The days of putting a classified ad in the newspaper to sell used items is gone.  Today, deals are made over the internet.    Yet, these internet deals can be risky.

Whether you have a land line or a cell phone, the problem is the same – the constant barrage of phone calls from those intent on selling you a product, stealing your money or soliciting contributions.  We get calls from actual people and even more robocalls with recorded messages.  We are all fed up with the situation and frustrated with feeble efforts to stop the onslaught of calls.  This article is intended to outline federal efforts to control unwanted calls and provide tips to help you manage the calls you receive.

The holidays are a busy season.  People are shopping, baking, decorating and socializing with friends.  Food banks and charities work to raise funds during the holidays because they know it is the time of year when people are the most generous.  Con-artists and scammers also love the holidays.  They know that busy people can be careless people. 

Watch Out for Air Purifier Scams and Frauds.

People naturally fear, germs and polluted air.  Arizona city air contains, dust, pollens, hydrocarbons, metals and other pollutants.  People want to breathe clean air in their homes, and some have come to believe that air purifiers are the answer. Do portable air purifiers sold for homes solve the problem?  This article is intended to explore that question.

There are risks as well as benefits to using a mobile device such as a smartphone or a tablet to access bank or credit card account information or to make purchases or payments. This article describes some of these pros and cons and concludes with a series of tips intended to help Arizona consumers practice safe and secure mobile banking.

This website has been prepared for general information purposes only. The information on this website is not legal advice. Legal advice is dependent upon the specific circumstances of each situation. Also, the law may vary from state-to-state or county-to-county, so that some information in this website may not be correct for your situation. Finally, the information contained on this website is not guaranteed to be up to date. Therefore, the information contained in this website cannot replace the advice of competent legal counsel licensed in your jurisdiction.

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