Money sticking from walletBy: Jeffrey Lapin

Consumers beware: scammers are working overtime to separate you from your money and identity. Their techniques are becoming more sophisticated as many consumers have become more wary. Not only are scammers targeting your money they are also trying to steal your identity, which can be more profitable than just getting a single payment from you. These scams are taking place by telephone, online, email, text and regular mail.


The Better Business Bureau released a very good Infographic (Top 10 Scams of the Year: 2011) listing the top 10 consumer scams from 2011. These scams used a variety of tactics and were aimed at either obtaining money or personal information. The top scam areas were:

Financial Scams
Online Dating and Social Media
Job Seeker Scams
Check Cashing and Money Order Scams
Phishing (attempting to acquire information through electronic methods)
Sweepstakes and Lottery
Identity Theft
Home Renovation
Sales Scams

The top scam of 2011 was actually a false BBB phishing email with the subject line “Complaint Against Your Business.” This email contained a link or attachment that would infect your computer with malware that would locate your bank information and transfer your money. (Source: Better Business Bureau: Top 10 Scams of 2011)


Dr. Doug Shadel, the current State Director for AARP Washington, recently published a book, Outsmarting the Scam Artists: How to Protect Yourself From the Most Clever Cons, which offers practical advice for consumers who want to protect their money. The advice comes from a surprising source: convicted con artists who reveal how they have scammed consumers. In an interview with ABC News, Dr. Shadel stated that every con man uses the same basic technique, which is to get a person into a heightened emotional state that is referred to as “the ether.” He added, “If anyone spent five seconds thinking logically about any of these offers, they would never do it.” Dr. Shadel’s book offers concrete examples of the intricacies and complexities of some of the scams that yielded a lot of money for the scammers until they were eventually caught.  (Sources: ABC News: Outsmarting the Con Artists: Top 5 Ways to Avoid Scams and Outsmarting the Scam Artists: How to Protect Yourself From the Most Clever Cons.)


If you are victim of a scam in Nebraska there are various agencies you can contact who might be able to help:

National Better Business Bureau (BBB):
Nebraska Better Business Bureau:
Nebraska Attorney General’s Office:
Federal Trade Commission (FTC):
Federal Communication Commission (FCC):
United States Postal Service (USPS):


While scammers will do whatever they can do separate you from your money or identity, there are things that you can do to protect yourself. Our next blog article, Consumers: 11 Ways To Protect Yourself Against Scams, will offer practical advice on how to avoid being scammed. The best advice is to always be cautious and remember if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.



Lapin Law OfficesLapin Law Offices represents consumers scammed or abused by debt collectors or telemarketers. You can learn more about your rights by calling us at 402-421-8033 (Lincoln), 888-525-8819 (Toll Free) or through our websites: Lapin Law Offices or