In a tough economy, it’s a sad but true fact that scams and financial fraud of all kinds seem to flourish like weeds. According to the Better Business Bureau, complaints to the agency rose 10% in 2010, with consumers filing 1.1 million complaints against North American businesses. Among the top scams reported: job hunter hoaxes, timeshare fraud and debt relief shams.
But despite the growth of scammers, you don’t have to become a victim of some swindler’s financial misdeeds.
Here are six dos and don’ts to follow that will help you avoid falling prey to scams:
1. Do perform basic due diligence.
Before signing any paperwork or handing over any money, it pays to do some basic background checking on the company you’re considering doing business with, especially if you have even the slightest reservations about the company’s professional reputation, experience, or the product or service they’re offering.
Look up a company’s Better Business Bureau rating, or at the very least, do a quick online search to see if the company’s name turns up favorably or negatively on Internet chat rooms or consumer review sites. Places like the RipOffReport.com can also tip you off to individuals and companies with particularly negative reputations. Read the rest of Lynnette’s article on WalletPop.