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Avoiding Cons, Frauds, & Scams

10 Things You Can Do To Avoid Fraud
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission provides consumers with 10 tips for avoiding mass marketing fraud.

BBB Alerts/Scams
Better Business Bureau blog archive helping consumers to be aware of various alerts and scams.

Consumer Advocate
E-newsletter from the Ohio Attorney General

Consumer Frauds and Scams
Tips to help you avoid scams and fraud from USA.gov.

FBI-Be Crime Smart
Information and links about scams & safety from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Home of the National Consumer League's Fraud Center

FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection
The Federal Trade Commission is the nation's consumer protection agency. The FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection works For The Consumer to prevent fraud, deception, and unfair business practices in the marketplace.

Ohio Attorney General: Consumer Tips
Consumer protection tips and scam alerts.

OnGuard Online
OnGuardOnline.gov provides practical tips from the federal government and the technology industry to help you be on guard against Internet fraud, secure your computer,  and protect your personal information.

Psychology of a Scam (FINRA INVESTOR PODCAST June 18, 2009)
FINRA Investor Education staff explain the psychological tactics fraudsters use and ways to guard against them.

Snopes.com: Urban Legends Reference Pages
This is one of the best sites to verify rumors, check for email scams, and correct the misinformation circulating around the web.

United States Postal Inspection Service

Check Scams

Federal Trade Commission: Check Scams
Have you ever won a foreign lottery? This site warns about counterfeit check schemes.

Credit Scams

Federal Trade Commission: Credit Repair Scams
Learn how to avoid credit repair scams.

Criminal Records Online 

County Jail Inmate Search by State
Catergorized by state and county, use the provided directory to search for county inmates.

Prison Inmate Search by State
Catergorized by state, use the provided directory to search for state inmates.

Federal Bureau of Prisons Inmate Locator
Locate individuals incarcerated in a federal prison since 1982

National Sex Offender Public Website
NSOPW is the only government system that exists to link public state, territory, and tribal sex offender registries from one national search site. Parents, employers, and other concerned residents can utilize the Website’s search tool as a safety resource to identify location information on sex offenders residing, working, and attending school not only in their own neighborhoods but in other nearby states and communities as well. In addition, the Website assists citizens with learning the facts about sexual abuse and how to protect themselves and loved ones from potential victimization.

VINELink is the online version of VINE (Victim Information and Notification Everyday), the National Victim Notification Network. This service allows crime victims to obtain timely and reliable information about criminal cases and the custody status of offenders 24 hours a day.

Foreclosure Scams

Foreclosure Rescue Scams – How To Avoid Them
If you are having difficulty meeting your mortgage payments, learn how to find legitimate help and how to avoid scams. Also available in Spanish.

Identity Theft

Banking: ATM/Debit Cards
What should you do if your debit card is stolen?

Federal Trade Commission: Fighting Back Against Identity Theft
Offers excellent information on protecting yourself from identity theft.

Resources from the federal government. 

Medical Identity Theft
A thief may use your name or health insurance numbers to see a doctor, get prescription drugs, file claims with your insurance provider, or get other care. If the thief’s health information is mixed with yours, your treatment, insurance and payment records, and credit report may be affected.  

National Consumers League: Identity Theft
Identity theft doesn’t just happen to old people. Find ways to protect yourself!

Ohio Attorney General: Protecting Your Personal Information
Get an Identity Theft Verification Passport to help you when your identity has been stolen. 

Identity theft occurs when someone obtains your personal information and uses it to take your money or to commit fraud or other crimes. It's much more than an inconvenience -- it can devastate your credit rating and derail your financial security. This FINRA Investor Alert explains how you can protect yourself.

Protect Your Privacy
Protect your personal information from being changed, stolen, or reported inaccurately.    

Internet Fraud

Internet Crime Complaint Center
The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National White Collar Crime Center, and the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The IC3 gives the victims of cyber crime a convenient and easy-to-use reporting mechanism that alerts authorities of suspected criminal or civil violations. 

Internet Fraud Information: USA.gov
Here you will find official government web resouces to help you report and learn about internet fraud.

Investment Scams

Avoiding Investment Scams (FINRA INVESTOR PODCAST August 26, 2009)
Investment fraud comes in five classic types. Learn how to spot a scam's red flags and hear about tools you can use to steer clear.

Green Investing Scams (FINRA INVESTOR PODCAST March 11, 2010)
Fraudsters are recycling their old tricks to con investors into green energy scams. Learn the warning signs and how to spot them.

Stock Spams and Scams (FINRA INVESTOR ALERT)
You may have received spam or junk email recommending you invest in a stock, perhaps even invest in that stock before it is first publicly offered for sale in an Initial Public Offering (IPO). In spite of laws and regulations, stock spams continue to pose a risk to investors. This FINRA Investor Alert explains how to spot and protect yourself from spam problems.

Job Scams

Jobs - Money Matters from the Federal Trade Commission
Learn about and protect yourself from job scams, work-at-home scams, business opportunity scams and wealth-building scams.

"Nigerian" Scam

The "Nigerian" Scam: Costly Comparison
The FTC explains the "Nigerian" scam and what to do about it.

Phishing Scams

Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG)
The Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) is the global pan-industrial and law enforcement association focused on eliminating the fraud and identity theft that result from phishing, pharming and email spoofing of all types.  You will find links here to advice and resources for avoiding this scam.

Phishing is a scam where internet fraudsters send spam or pop-up messages to lure personal and financial information from unsuspecting victims. Go here to find clear steps to avoid falling for this form of Identity Theft.

Retirement Scams

Look Before You Leave: Don't Be Misled By Early Retirement Investment Pitches That Promise Too Much (FINRA INVESTOR ALERT)
Early retirement is an alluring prospect. When faced with a pitch that promises that you can cash in your company retirement savings in your 50s, reinvest the money, and live comfortably off the proceeds for the rest of your life, many simply can't say no. But usually they should. FINRA is issuing this Investor Alert because we are aware of instances in which employees who had built up sizeable retirement savings have been misled, and financially harmed, by flawed, even fraudulent, early-retirement investment schemes. 

Protect Yourself from Early Retirement Scams (FINRA INVESTOR PROTECTION)
Resources for both employers and employees to avoid falling prey to early retirement scams.

Student Financial Aid Scams

Looking for Student Aid without getting scammed
Federal Student Aid, an office of the U.S. Department of Education, provides tips on avoiding these scams.

Scholarship Scams
The FTC provides tips to avoid falling for these scams.

Scholarship Scams
FinAid provides helpful information.  Note: If you have to pay money to get money, it's probably a scam.

Tax Frauds and Scams

IRS Wants You to Know About Schemes, Scams, and Cons

Suspicious E-mails and Identity Theft
Find here links to news releases, factsheets, videos, publications, and articles issued by the Internal Revenue Service warning consumers about the fraudulent use of the IRS name or logo by scamsters trying to gain access to consumers’ financial information in order to steal their identity and assets.

Tax Fraud Alerts

Tax Refund Email and Phishing Scams
Information from the IRS on email and Phishing scams about your refund.

Tax Scams/Consumer Alerts

Telemarketing Scams

FraudGuides.com: Telemarketing Scams

Fraud.org: Telemarketing Fraud

FTC: Telemarketing Scams