Scam watch: Discount electronics, holiday cons, telemarketers


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Here is a roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for.

Discount electronics -– Consumers should be careful when shopping for electronics on the Internet during the holidays, the Better Business Bureau said. Some shady people have marketed deeply discounted electronics on the Internet, but have no intention of shipping the merchandise once they receive payment, the group said. Other scammers use ads for discount tablets, laptops and other items to get victims to click on links that infect their computers with viruses, the group said. Consumers should avoid sites that promote free or dramatically reduced prices or those that will only accept only electronic transfers or e-checks as payments, the group said.


Holiday season scams –- The holiday season is a time for celebrating with friends and family. But it’s also an opportunity for con artists to take advantage of people’s generosity, according to consumer protection advocates. The Better Business Bureau has issued a warning to consumers to take care when making contributions to charities during the holidays. The group recommends researching charities on websites such as to make sure the charity is properly licensed. On top of that, consumers should avoid charities that use high-pressure telephone pitches. Any donations should be made directly to the charity, not to a third party or an individual soliciting contributions, the Better Business Bureau said.

Do not call list –- The Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against a Southern California company it said has been violating telemarketing laws by using automated or “robo” callers to make sales pitches over the telephone and contacting people who have listed their numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry. The lawsuit alleges that Sonkei Communications Inc. and its principals, Peter Turpel and Joseph Turpel, violated the Federal Trade Commission’s Telemarketing Sales Rule. The company is based in Newbury Park. Individuals who believe they were improperly contacted by the company can call the FTC at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).


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-- Stuart Pfeifer