In reviewing the top ten scams of 2008, is there a common link?
Most of the deceptive practices do have one thing in common.
"The most common thing the Better Business Bureau sees is when someone is asked to not use conventional mail service but to use Money Gram or to use Western Union or to be sending money to a third party location — typically out of the country, whether they know it or not."
Wisconsin Better Business Bureau President and CEO Ran Hoth compares recent scam tactics to those of previous years. He says swindlers focus more on electronic delivery, using certain keywords in search engines, such as credit, debt, and consolidation. Hoth says he has seen a lot more rip-offs online in recent years.
"Our concern is the traditional scams may be just being transported into a more electronic version."
What about predictions for 2009? Hoth says experience, trust and quality will be very, very important. That means you have to do a little extra work to make sure the company or charity you do business with is reliable.
"Create an accredited, trustworthy experience before you spend your money.
Again, Hoth stresses, don't send money in advance of receiving a supposed check from someone.
"That's a big red flag, so just do not do it. We've seen too many Wisconsin folks desperate to make something out of nothing that have sent money in advance and we cannot get it back for them."