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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, January 14, 2010

Scammers tried to profit from U.S. economic crisis

Advertiser Staff

Hawai'i's Better Business Bureau yesterday sent out a list of the top 10 scams and rip-offs last year.

Most of the scams preyed on people dealing with tough economic times, such as the unemployed. Free-trial offers that locked consumers into recurring credit and debit card charges also were widespread online, according to Dwight Kealoha, chief executive officer of Hawai'i's bureau.

"While many of the scams on the list are perennial problems, some scams were distinct in 2009 because of the economic climate and scammers' penchant for taking advantage of the top headlines," Kealoha said.

In no particular order, the BBB's list of top scams and rip-offs across the U.S. in 2009: "free" trial offers for health products; offers to help secure federal stimulus money; robocalls; lottery and sweepstakes offers; scams targeting job hunters; Google work-from-home deals; mortgage foreclosure, rescue and debt assistance; mystery shopping; scams requiring victims to send checks for "overpayments"; and various phishing scams.