10 biggest frauds consumers fall for and your scam stories

What are the most common frauds U.S. consumers fall for? .

We asked you to write in and tell us stories about scams you've encountered and you flooded our inbox with some pretty horrific experiences.
John from Miami, Fla. emailed us with a particularly striking story. He lost $150,000 to a Ponzi scheme run by a lifelong friend and unwittingly got several members of his family caught up in the racket as well.

Hillary and Jim from Birmingham, Mich., wrote to us to tell us how they were scammed out of cash by an automated ordering scheme through their L.L.Bean credit card. 

Toni  wrote to us on Facebook about a time she and her fiance used Craigslist to hire movers and got taken for a ride along with their furniture.

And Marie from Winthrop, Mass., wrote to us via the Public Insight Network. Several years ago she purchased her first home in Southern Maine, a fixer-upper in a nice neighborhood. She now realizes the broker, the seller, the closing attorney, even the home inspector were in cahoots during her deal.

Click play on the audio player above to hear those stories and the lessons you can learn from these scams.

We want to hear from you, too. Submit your personal finance question by filling out this form and it will land in our email inboxes. Next week on the show we'll be talking about money and travel, so send your travel-related questions our way.


About the author

David Lazarus is an American business and consumer columnist for the Los Angeles Times.
Log in to post7 Comments

The Craigs list thing with movers sounded familiar. I've used random movers from same internet source a couple of times with varied results. The proposition seems to be like this: You could pay a licensed company $500 to move you, or your could pay some guys $250 to move you with the possibility of having to cough up an extra $150 if the job was bigger than they expected. Like many things on Craigs list you can save some money if you're willing to put up with some hassel or you can pay retail and get the retail experience, it should be your choice.

I do not know how to contact so I will leave my comment here. I sat in traffic going through Atlanta and heard this program but one thing that got my notice was some older couple called in about the LL Bean pop up ad for taking a survey these are not from the bank these are on numerous sites such as Kohls, Target, Walmart who pay the merchant I think for the advertisement. people click take the survey and think they are getting free stuff from the company not true if everyone would read the redirect site for terms and conditions and actually read before you put your debit/credit card into the computer trying to get something for free. People need to think there is nothing free in this world period and THESE PEOPLE ENROLLED BY PUTTING IN THERE DEBIT/CREDIT CARD IN FOR THE SHIPPING AND HANDLING THAT IS HOW THE WATCH/ITEM OF THE MONTH GOT YOUR CARD THE BANK DID NOT GIVE THEM THE INFORMATION OR SELL IT YOU WILLINGLY PUT IT IN FOR THE "FREE ITEM" EXCEPT FOR SHIPPING AND HANDLING. READ THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS BEFORE YOU PUT YOUR CARD INTO ANY SITE. I understand it's not exactly spelled out when it redirects you on the mains site but people need to take a little responsibility for what they do. I work in a"big bank" in the debit claims dept and all I get is people who call in say I don't know I did not know I can't keep all the stuff they sent me . Call the number next to the charge or do what I do google the company call and say I want to cancel and request a "RMA" return merchant authorization and a refund when you send the watches or jewelry or whatever you thought was "free" back and they refund. I speak to people constantly who sign up for this stuff. I don't get this program where I live the public radio here sucks but wanted to add my comments. Also do not order the e-cigarettes for shipping and handling where you think they are free 2 weeks later nice big charge for more of these things and then you call in. Anything that says it's shipping and handling only for the trial do not order or cancel within 3 days most of these websites the trial starts the minute you click. He should do a column or program about all the "free stuff" everyone signs up for and then calls and says fraud because they get charged and more product comes in. And then people want to keep the product but still get paid back.

Notice there are only 9 frauds listed on this list of 10 common frauds. What's the tenth? Is this a scam?

There are two items in the one you might perceive as the 3rd....see the "and" that separates the two.

Marie from Winthrop scammed you. While listening to her description of her "real estate " transaction, it became obvious toward the end that she was having way too much fun for someone who had been scammed. You fell for it. She was obviously a plant. Better luck screening calls next time. Your credibility took a hit. This woman was laughing at you.

It didn't even occur to me that she was scamming the host. I personally don't think she was scamming, but that it just wasn't so important to her since it wasn't pushing her finances and she wasn't living in there anymore. She's seemed to be doing fine, so she's not taking it too seriously. I'm just wondering if she's still paying 13%, if it's not a scam...

With Generous Support From...