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Top Five Scams

Identity thieves don't care if you're poor or rich.  They want to steal your money and, in many cases, will ruin your credit

Below are five common marketplace scams you should be aware of and ways to avoid becoming a victim.


Phishing is a scam in which Internet scammers send you e-mail or pop-up messages claiming to be an authorized agent to get personal information from you.

Example e-mail that may get you to send information:

During our system update of accounts, we couldn't verify your information. Please click on the link below to update and verify your information.

  • Legitimate companies don't ask for personal or financial information via e-mail, so don't click on any links.
  • Don't call phone numbers that you can't verify. If you receive an e-mail and are concerned about your account:
    • Go to the company's Web site to find a customer service phone number that you know to be real, OR
    • If the e-mail claims to be your credit card company, turn to the back of your credit card and call that number to verify information.
  • Be careful when downloading or opening any attachments as they can contain viruses or other programs to weaken your computer's security.
Foreign E-mail Scam Scam artists claim to be government agents, business officials or family members of rich big shots in a foreign country whose money is somehow tied up. They ask for your help to transfer a lot of money into your bank account. However, before they send any money, they ask you to pay for fees to help with the "transfer" and personal information about your bank account. In the end, you lose not only money but possibly even your identity.
  • If you receive an e-mail from someone claiming to need your help getting money out of a foreign country, DON'T respond.
  • Do not respond to bulk-e-mails. Many of these e-mail scams are sent to a long list of people in hopes of getting some to respond. Remember: If they don't know you, why should you trust them with your personal information?
  • Forward e-mail scams to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at
"Work-at-Home" Scam These scams feature flashy advertisements that offer you a large income for working in the comfort of your own home. However, many may ask you to pay a small "sign up" cost. Then, when the "work" comes, which usually involves envelope stuffing, you have to pay hidden costs to advertise, make photocopies, buy supplies or software to do the job. In the end, you're likely to find that you won't get paid because they'll say your work was not up to their "quality standards."
  • Legitimate work-at-home businesses should tell you in writing exactly what is involved and how you will be paid.
  • If all they say is "fast cash for minimal work," ignore the e-mail/advertisement. If you're looking for a job, try using NYC Small Business Services' Workforce1 Program, which helps individuals find and prepare for a job. From personalized career counseling to assistance in creating resumes, Workforce1 Career Centers can help you get the job you want. Learn more
Debt Rescue Scams Many companies send offers promising to help you solve all of your debt problems quickly for a low fee. Unfortunately, if an offer seems too good to be true, it usually is. The companies are typically scam artists.
Credit Repair Scams There are many companies that claim they can get you a high credit score or repair your credit report quickly for a fee. Unfortunately, many of these companies are scam artists trying to steal your money.

Additional scams to watch out for:

 Learn about the top five DCA consumer complaints

 Learn about "prize winning" scams