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Scam Watch: Discount travel, online car sales, fake foot doctor

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

Discount travel – Summer travel season brings with it a variety of scams, the Better Business Bureau said. Travelers should take caution with deals that sound too good to be true, ask detailed questions about travel arrangements and get all details in writing before agreeing to buy, the BBB said. Travelers who have questions about a travel company can check with the BBB to see whether the company has a history of complaints. “There are many reliable travel agencies and bureaus that offer good deals on vacations,” said Steve J. Bernas, president of the Better Business Bureau in Chicago. “Consumers need to research all companies before doing business with them to help ensure safe transactions.”

Online car sales – Car buyers should be careful when searching online listings for bargains, the Better Business Bureau said in a recent alert. The FBI reported receiving nearly 14,000 complaints in 2008 through 2011 from consumers who said they were victimized by online car-buying scams. One of the most common scams involves sellers who require payment up front, then do not deliver cars as promised, the BBB said. Warning signs of potential scams include prices that seem too good to be true, sellers who won’t allow a buyer to view a car before the sale and sellers who ask the buyer to send payment by bank wire, the BBB said. One of the best ways to avoid a scam, it said, is to buy cars only through established businesses with good reputations.

Fake foot doctor – A San Jose man who owned and operated a chain of laser-treatment centers for toenail fungus has been convicted of 19 felony counts of practicing medicine without a license, the San Jose Mercury News reported. Cary Silberman was arrested after an investigation by the Medical Board of California, which found that he and his employees were performing laser treatments without having proper medical licenses. Silberman could face a sentence of up to 15 years in prison. The state medical board maintains a list of all physicians licensed in California on its website.

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