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Here's another of the 6 most popular consumer scams. You get a call from a debt collector about an old debt you don't even remember. When this is the case the first thing you need to do is ask the collector to verify the debt and its validity. This means he must be able to tell you the amount of the debt and the name of the creditor. If you doubt the validity of the debt you have 30 days to dispute it. If you don’t, the collector will assume it’s valid.
Second, be sure to check that the statute of limitations has not run out on the debt. All of our states have statutes of limitations that spell out how many years there is before you no longer have any responsibility for repaying a debt. As an example of this, if your state has a five-year statute of limitations on debts and you haven't made a payment for at least five years, you can't be forced to repay it.
There is no law that debt collectors are required to provide you with this information. You will need to do some research to learn what the limit is in your state.
If you become sick or injured and fall behind on your mortgage payments and are threatened with foreclosure you will need to see if you would be eligible for a loan modification, which would mean a reduction in your monthly payments. You can get more information on this topic at www.makinghomeaffordable.gov.
The IRS telephone scam
No IRS agent will contact you by telephone. If you do receive a call from someone posing as an IRS agent, you can be certain it is a scam. Not only does the IRS not contact people by telephone it does not contact them by text messages, email or social media. And it never calls tax payers threatening a lawsuit or an arrest. In the event you do receive one of those telephone calls, it's a consumer scam. Hang up and make sure you report it to www.treasury.gov/tigta/contact_report_scam.shtml.
The automobile dealer scam
Given the fact that an automobile is probably the second-largest purchase you’ll make during your lifetime; it pays to do your homework before signing a sales contract to buy one. The red flags here are if the dealer salesperson tries to rush you into signing paperwork without giving you enough time to carefully review the terms of the contract or if the terms of the contract are substantially different from what was advertised or what the salesperson had promised you. Another sign of an automobile scam is if the salesperson suggests that you put false information on your finance application such as inflating your income. Putting false information on a contract to get financing is actually a crime, plus you could end up with a contract you can’t afford.
Before you buy a car from a dealer get information about it from the Better Business Bureau and research the car’s value in the Kelly Blue Book or at Edmunds. That way you’ll know if you're getting a fair deal.
The utility scam
According to the Consumer Federation of America, there has been a large number of complaints from people that have received phone calls from individuals posing as electric or gas company employees threatening to shut off service because of overdue bills. These callers demand immediate payment in the form of a money transfer or prepaid card. If you receive one of these calls, hang up and call your utility as this is definitely a scam.
The immigration scam
Again according to the Consumer Federation of America there have been numerous reports of people calling and offering prepaid immigration services. The only people who can represent immigration parties and provide legal advice are licensed attorneys or non-profits that have been authorized by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. For more information on immigration issues call 1-800-375-5283 or go to www.ucis.gov.
Internet scams to be focused on phishing (pronounced fishing") or getting your personal information.
Here's a short video from Google explaining how to avoid being phished.