Watch out for the top 10 scams of 2010 - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Watch out for the top 10 scams of 2010

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SAN DIEGO, Calif. (CBS 8) - Many Americans are struggling, and tough economic times have created new schemes for scammers to try to get into your wallet. With the help of walletpop.com, we have 2010's top 10 scams to be on the lookout for.

The Identity Theft Resource Center says don't get scammed by someone promising you a job.

"Right now a lot of the scams are targeted at desperate people," Linda Foley of the Identity Theft Resource Center said.

With so many Americans unemployed, beware of work-from-home scams that want you to set up a bank account and then let strangers make deposits and withdrawals, giving you a 10 percent commission.

"What this is, is money laundering," Foley said.

Scammers used to either knock on your door or call you on the phone, but these days if you're going to carry a Blackberry or iPhone, you need to be cautious. Making a mistake with the wrong text message could cost you thousands.

"They make this sound fantastic, irresistible," Foley said.

With many San Diegans trying to fend off foreclosure, loan modification scams and mortgage audit scams also made the top 10 list.

"How do you know that's legitimate? The first step is check out the company with the Better Business Bureau," Foley said.

Although the idea of cutting out the middle man at the car dealership may be tempting, you should be on the lookout for some new and convincing online car buying scams

"Why would you want to buy a car you've never seen?" Foley said.

Vacation and travel scams, scholarship scams and financial scams all made the top 10 list. The recession has created quite the shakeup in the financial industry, and if your bank recently merged with another bank, beware of online phishing scams.

During our visit to the ITRC, one of the callers got talked into giving away her precious account numbers.

"They can clean you out in a matter of hours," Foley said.

Instead of trying to memorize every scam out there, it's much easier to focus on the two simple items you must protect.

"All of these scams are after your Social Security number or your financial account information," Foley said.

Another scam that didn't make the list that's hot: door-to-door con men pretending to work for the U.S. Census. Remember, nowhere on the census form do they ask for your Social Security number, so don't give it up.

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