Top 10 Internet frauds
• Internet auction fraud
Consumers say they've received an item that is less valuable than promised, or don't receive the item at all. FTC advice: Insist on using a credit card or escrow service.
• Internet service provider scams
Reports of being trapped into long-term contracts of ISPs with big penalties for cancellation. FTC advice: Read bills carefully for unexpected charges.
• Web site design/promotions -- Web cramming
Getting a custom-designed Web site for a 30-trial period could be more than what was bargained for. FTC advice: Review telephone bills and unfamiliar charges.
• Internet information and adult services -- credit card cramming
Using a credit card to prove being older than 18 years could prove costly. FTC advice: Always dispute charges that were unauthorized.
• Multilevel marketing/pyramid scams
Some multilevel marketing programs are actually illegal pyramid schemes. FTC advice: When products or services are sold only to distributors, there's no way to make money. Avoid plans to recruit in such a scenario.
• Business opportunities and work-at-home scam
Promises of earning "big money" while sitting at home are often too good to be true. FTC advice: Talk to other people who have dealt with the company or an attorney.
• Investment schemes and get-rich-quick scams
Making an initial investment in a day trading operation claims to offer huge returns. FTC advice: Always check with federal securities and commodities regulators to discover the level of risk.
• Travel/vacation fraud
The lure of a cheap trip with "extras" at a bargain-basement price often doesn't reveal hidden charges and additional requirements. FTC advice: References are necessary, as well as a written cancellation policy.
• Telephone/pay-per-call solicitation fraud
"Free" access to adult material and pornography by downloading a "viewer" or "dialer" program is cause for concern. Through the program, consumers reported their modem being disconnected, then reconnected to the Internet through an international long-distance number. FTC advice: Read phone bills carefully and don't download any program to access a "free" service without reading all disclosures.
• Health care frauds
Items not sold through traditional suppliers are "proven" to cure serious and even fatal health problems, but in actuality people lose money to these sites. FTC advice: Always consult a health care professional.
Source: Federal Trade Commission