It sounds like something out of Hollywood, but it’s hitting homes across the country: “virtual kidnapping,” where fraudsters try to extort money by claiming that a family member has been taken hostage.
In the Phoenix area, the callers claim to be from the U.S. Marshals Service. In Huntsville, Ala., it’s a self-described “deputy marshal” with the sheriff’s office who has already scammed at least 53 people in recent weeks with this threat:
In 2012, Robert Allen Stanford was convicted of running a Ponzi scheme that bilked investors to the tune of $7 billion. While that might be only a fraction of the $65 billion that Bernard Madoff got away with, it's still about 10 percent of New York City's budget for 2013.
Desperate to lose weight? You're not alone. Nearly 70 percent of Americans are overweight or obese, according to recent statistics. Although some of us accept our expanding girth, others of us are so discouraged by the number on the scale that we'll try anything that promises quick results. Protect yourself by familiarizing yourself with popular schemes designed to lighten your wallet more so than your body:
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