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August 25, 2011 1:25 PM   Subscribe

The Better Business Bureau (and some familiar faces) present the Top Online Scams of 2010.
posted by Potomac Avenue (38 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Rage faces. Really, BBB?
posted by tommasz at 1:35 PM on August 25, 2011 [11 favorites]


This is pretty thin for the BBB. "There are people who will promise to do things for money and then not do them." Yes, there are. So...
posted by Legomancer at 1:38 PM on August 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Except for troll-face, the rage faces don't really match the various scams. I did lol at the first use of the troll-face in the "anatomy of a scam", though...
posted by charred husk at 1:40 PM on August 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I want to know what that inquiry about the Planetarium was. Specifically, I want to know if it was about Laser Floyd.
posted by griphus at 1:44 PM on August 25, 2011 [10 favorites]


lol @ 8 complaints against spiritualists. "I gave him the $29.99 and yet my life has not been transformed into an earthly paradise"
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:45 PM on August 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Where on this list are the printer toner cartridge people who pretend they know me and then call me a retarded whore when I tell them that I'm not falling for their stupid shit?

Under my totalitarian dictatorship they will be processed into a nutritious protein slurry and fed to prisoners of lesser crimes like waving a lit cigarette wildly while walking down the street yapping into the phone.
posted by elizardbits at 1:49 PM on August 25, 2011 [24 favorites]


I think we've fallen victim to the "link to my infographic" scam.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 1:54 PM on August 25, 2011 [19 favorites]


Oh this reminds me - what is up with those Wifi networks showing up all over NYC with names like GROUPON and HOTELS.COM and GOOGLE and AMAZON with full bars? Totally some kind of tracking-monitoring scam, right?
posted by The Whelk at 1:55 PM on August 25, 2011


They missed the scam where you write a check for four-figures and the BBB gives you an A+ rating.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:55 PM on August 25, 2011 [12 favorites]


They missed the scam where you write a check for four-figures and the BBB gives you an A+ rating.

Yeah I first read this as:

The Better Business Bureau (and some familiar faces) present IN the Top Online Scams of 2010.
posted by Hicksu at 1:59 PM on August 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


I totally fell for that printer toner cartridge scam. Totally, totally. I was so embarrassed, and felt really awful for months afterwards. To be fair, it was my second day at the job, and it a the satellite office for a larger organization, so people had been calling me all day to ask me questions, get information, make sure I knew something, and so on. I ended up really hating the job, too, and kinda sucking at it; that phone call should have been a warning.
posted by Ideal Impulse at 2:00 PM on August 25, 2011


Wait, what's the toner cartridge scam?
posted by griphus at 2:01 PM on August 25, 2011


Toner cartridge scam.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 2:05 PM on August 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


What they did, griphus, is call my office and ask what kind of printer we had. I had been dealing with calls like this all day, so I didn't think much of it, and answered. The next day, a different person called back and said, "Hey, I can see you're running low on toner for your model whatever printer. How about we just go ahead and order some for you--in fact there's a discount on cartons." I said, "Yes," and we ended up getting our toner in the mail, followed by a crazy-ass bill a few weeks later.

The one good thing is, I worked at a law office, and they did their magic on this company and we ended up not paying.
posted by Ideal Impulse at 2:07 PM on August 25, 2011


Heh...I work at home, and got a toner scam phone call.
I also get a lot of those robo-calls from "Janet, from customer services about your credit card account".
posted by Thorzdad at 2:20 PM on August 25, 2011


Rupert Murdoch didn't make the list? What a total scam.
posted by cjorgensen at 2:29 PM on August 25, 2011


Bitcoin anyone?
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 2:32 PM on August 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


What about that scam website that lets you post comments - but only after you pay a $5 "signup fee". I got totally pulled into that one.
posted by panboi at 2:35 PM on August 25, 2011 [16 favorites]


The more you comment, the more you save!
posted by longsleeves at 2:39 PM on August 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fewest inquiries (2010): planetariums

Top scams (2011): The planetarium scam
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:47 PM on August 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


One inquiry about planetariums. Forever alone...
posted by dirigibleman at 2:51 PM on August 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Be very wary of phone solicitations from "police charities." These are almost always scams
even if the guy calling really sounds like a retired cop. Ask them to send a cop to your door in uniform if you want to give.
posted by longsleeves at 2:53 PM on August 25, 2011


The BBB is itself one of the top scams of all times. Here is just one part of the reason why.
posted by 2manyusernames at 2:55 PM on August 25, 2011


What about that scam website that lets you post comments - but only after you pay a $5 "signup fee". I got totally pulled into that one.

Don't even get me started! This is the crap spam i get:
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posted by Foci for Analysis at 3:52 PM on August 25, 2011 [8 favorites]


OK, I don't usually listen to the podcast, but I would so totally love to hear someone on the next one speed-read Foci for Analysis' comment in a manic radio-sales voice (think "Wacky waving inflatable arm-flailing tube man!").
posted by limeonaire at 4:19 PM on August 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Be very wary of phone solicitations from "police charities."

Oh yeah, they are the worst. Always check out a charity before donating. The mark of a bad charity is that more money goes to "overhead" than to actual charitable works. Most states require charities to file financial reports with the State Attorney General before they can operate in your state. Some states, like California, put those reports on the web. Even if you're not in CA, most national charities operate there, so you can look there first for reports.

Somehow I got on the mailing list for the American Federation of Police and Concerned Citizens. I checked em out, I found their records through the CA Atty General, they gave less than 9% to actual charitable works, which was mostly their "police museum" at their main office. That is a particularly disgusting scam.
posted by charlie don't surf at 4:52 PM on August 25, 2011


That list is weak. It's vague and collects up the usual suspects - "identity theft"? Really? Thanks BBB for getting me to read your house ad.
posted by IvoShandor at 6:03 PM on August 25, 2011


Similar to toner cartridges, I've seen government employment posters, long distance ("We're partnered with AT&T!" The fuck you are!), yellow page listings (the fuck? Yellow pages?), a private organization wants to buy your company, and fire extinguisher refills.
posted by Brocktoon at 6:07 PM on August 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have to admit I am baffled by how these scams can exist for any length of time. Why aren't SWAT teams knocking down their doors and adjusting their knee alignment with a baseball bat? It would be a way better use of resources than serving no knock warrants on people who might smoke pot.
But yeah I assume anyone calling me for anything is a scam, if I don't already have a relationship with you and you are not a potential client why are you calling me?
posted by MrBobaFett at 6:47 PM on August 25, 2011


Pot and Kettle are apparently having a smoke together behind the blacksmith's.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:21 PM on August 25, 2011


Thorzdad: "Heh...I work at home, and got a toner scam phone call.
I also get a lot of those robo-calls from "Janet, from customer services about your credit card account".
"

It is always Rachel from Cardholder Services who calls me. Once I pushed all the buttons to get a live person, and then screamed into the phone NEVER CALL HERE AGAIN. They hung up, of course, and still call, but that felt good.
posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 7:21 PM on August 25, 2011


Top scams (2011): The planetarium scam

I can see it now:
Hello sir, this is Prince Wakajawaka from Nigeria, you have inherited a planetarium. All we need is your ss# and bank account # to make the transaction complete........
posted by Liquidwolf at 7:26 PM on August 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Except for troll-face, the rage faces don't really match the various scams.

Whoever wrote that page was being verbally clever. The image for "Rogue Home Repair / Roofers" uses the rageface associated with creepy sexual situations, potential rapists, etc. What's the connection? Roofies.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 7:39 PM on August 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Crap, they're on to me! Now what am I going to do with all these Planetariums that claim Pluto is a planet?
posted by KingEdRa at 2:27 AM on August 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


The image for "Rogue Home Repair / Roofers" uses the rageface associated with creepy sexual situations, potential rapists, etc.

"Me Gusta" is much more innocent than that - it is usually used to indicate a feeling of pleasure due to something unusual or slightly disturbing (i.e. enjoying a rancid fart or peeling off a large skin flake).
posted by davey_darling at 5:36 AM on August 26, 2011


What's the mystery shopper scam? In the UK, 'work from home filling envelopes' is common - it's a pyramid scheme, requiring you to get others to sign up and then fill up your envelope with details of people who do the same.
posted by mippy at 5:39 AM on August 26, 2011


The BBB has its own reputation linked to scammy practices (hat tip to 2manyusernames' comment above). Anyone have info on other "consumer protection" services, like Consumer Reports or Angie's List in regard to reports of seedy internal business practices?
posted by schleppo at 6:20 AM on August 26, 2011


It is always Rachel from Cardholder Services who calls me. Once I pushed all the buttons to get a live person, and then screamed into the phone NEVER CALL HERE AGAIN. They hung up, of course, and still call, but that felt good.

I stayed on the phone once, and just played dumb. Listened to their exciting offer. Then he asked, "So I'll set that right up for you, ma'am, if you could just give me your account number."

"Don't you know that?"

"Uh..."

"I thought you said you were from the credit card company. What company did you say you were from again?"

"Card member services, ma'am."

"Card member services of what? Bank of America? Citibank? Discover?"

"We work with Visa, Mastercard, or Discover."

"What?"

"Is your card Visa, Mastercard, or Discover, ma'am?"

"Wait, don't you know that? You supposedly work for the credit card company."

"Uh..."

"I'm hanging up now."

I'm surprised he didn't use the "I just need you to confirm your card number," gambit. Perhaps it was his first day? But I figure I used up 5 minutes of his time that he couldn't spend scamming someone else.
posted by BrashTech at 3:39 PM on August 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


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