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Common Financial Scams (continued)

Alarm Company Scams  --  Home alarms are great at discouraging burglars, but before you sign up with a home alarm company, make sure that there aren't hidden costs and fees in the contract.  For example, many home alarm companies will charge you an early termination fee if you move or cancel their service for any reason.  They also limit their liability to less than $1,000 if your home is burglarized or their equipment fails for any reason.  In addition, many contracts contain clauses where you agree not to sue them for any reason.

Collectible Money Scam  --  The TV commercials makes it sound like a good investment to own uncirculated, sheets of uncut money or specialty coins and often place restrictions on how many each customer can order or claim that there is a limited quantity available.  This implies that the coins will go up in value as the years pass; however, it is very likely that they will not increase in value at all.  For example, one company regularly advertises sheets of uncut, uncirculated $2 bills for $150.00, but you can buy the same money from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing for just $63.  Recently, a specialty Obama coin was minted and the commercials imply that it will be of great value in the future, but it will not. Replicas of silver dollars and other coins from the past are also advertised as being a great investment, but these coins are only replicas and not worth much.

Smartphone Sniffer Apps

Hackers create free game apps containing spyware or malware and make them available for free download.  The thieves are after your passwords and personal information so that they can gain access to your credit cards and banking accounts.  Unfortunately, it is hard to tell whether an app is legitimate or not.  The best way to avoid "sniffer apps" as they are called is to only download from companies with whom you are familiar, such as Apple and Google or that have been reviewed by a respected publication or investigated by a website specializing in warning the public about sniffer apps.  You can also safely download apps from and and  You should never click on a link in an email allowing you to download a free app.  If you've noticed that your phone seems to operate more slowly than usual and your battery life is shorter than normal, you might have downloaded a sniffer app.

Ductwork Scam

Many ductwork companies are successfully convincing homeowners that their ducts are full of all sorts of unhealthy dirt, dust mites and mold that is making them sick, and homeowners are paying as much as $1000 to have them cleaned.  Unfortunately, many of the companies in this industry are in it for the money and send unqualified workers to homes to do a very bad job or no job at all cleaning the duct work.  If the job isn't done correctly, the homeowner could have the heating and ductwork system damaged, or toxic chemicals could be used.  A common gimmick they use to get their feet in your door is the free mold test or a low cost initial inspection of your duct work.  Once they're in your door, they will almost certainly tell you that your ducts are full of mold and charge you a big fee to do the work. 

Online Pharmacy Scam

Thousands of people are ordering their prescription drugs online to save money, but many of these pharmacy websites are bogus and operated by criminals overseas who are out of the reach of American authorities.  People who order from these pharmacies are receiving drugs that are contaminated with dangerous substances or they are receiving the wrong medications.  If you order drugs online, do it with a reputable pharmacy that is based in the USA or Canada.  Check out the validity of an online pharmacy at or at

Recover Money Scam

Some scammers are so evil that they will go after people they have already scammed by pretending to be a government official or a company that specializes in helping people recover money they've lost in a scam.  The thief will try to milk even more money out of the requesting a fee for the service and promising that 100 percent of their money will be recovered.

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