Phony checks top list of ten most common money scams

Nearly 45% of people reporting being scammed were ripped off using a phony check scheme -- by far the largest type of fraud reported in the first six months of this year, according to the National Consumers League. The average dollar loss in that type of scam: $3,178.

The group said top-reported scams are linked to the down economy. Bad check scams often are tied to work-from-home proposals or apparent schemes to make easy money. A survey by the league found that due to the state of the economy, people are more likely to consider the idea of working from home.

"The worsening economy has clearly had an impact on consumers' vulnerability to fraud." league Vice President John Breyault said in a prepared statement. "Consumers should be wary that scammers are eager to prey on those in greatest financial need."

The consumers league has two education sites dedicated to helping prevent these types of scams -- one of which is dedicated to check scams.

Perhaps the most stunning figure among the data collected by the NCL is how much the average reported loss was in the Nigerian letter scam: more than $13,000.

Here are the top 10 scams reported so far this year:

  1. Fake checks
  2. Internet: General merchandise
  3. Prize/sweepstakes/free gifts
  4. Phishing/spoofing
  5. Nigerian money offers
  6. Business opportunities
  7. Advance fee loans
  8. Friendship/sweetheart swindles
  9. Internet auctions
  10. Lotteries/ticket buying clubs
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