Scam Alert

Which Websites Can You Trust?

September 10th, 2018

Have you ever had good intentions for researching an important purchase, but you weren't sure where to begin the research process? Maybe you know there are better credit cards out there, but you don't know where to find them. Or perhaps you're buying a car and you want to educate yourself before you start negotiating with a salesman.

Sometimes when you begin researching these topics, you wonder if the sites you're checking are providing honest information. Sometimes you wonder how a website operates - if it's funding comes from the credit card companies it reviews, can you really trust the reviews to be true?

Lucky for you, Consumer Action (a non-profit consumer advocacy group) has just released a Pre-Purchase Resource Guide. This guide covers resources for everything from credit cards and banking options, to automobiles, to health insurance, to wireless service! The guide covers reviews for over 35 different websites, explaining the benefits to each site, where it receives its funding and information, how much it costs consumers, etc.

As you contemplate your next big purchase, check out this great resource to help you narrow your research to the most effective websites available! Click here to view the Pre-Purchase Resource Guide.

Don't Fall for the Latest Fake Check Scam!

This week one of our CCCS staff members received great news - She was notified that she had won $150,000 through the UK's Mega Lottery! Accompanying the letter she had received was a check for $3,990 (a portion of her winnings). All she needs to do is send $1,995 to the lottery claim agent to cover taxes on her winnings.

Fake Check

Was our staff member excited? Did she treat everyone to lunch because she's now $150,000 richer?

No, she didn't - she recognized that this is a scam.

Many, though, are duped by such ploys.  Con artists are adept at generating notifications that look official and quite legitimate.  The letter that our staff member received tells her that this information is highly confidential and that she shouldn't share the news with anyone.  It tells her that they've tried to reach her many times and that this is her final notification.  If she doesn't act now, she'll miss out.  Click here to see the actual letter that our staff member received.

Here's what the Federal Trade Commission says about Fake Check scams:  "The check is no good, even though it appears to be a legitimate cashier's check. The lottery angle is a trick to get you to wire money to someone you don't know. If you were to deposit the check and wire the money, your bank would soon learn that the check was a fake. And you're out the money because the money you wired can't be retrieved, and you're responsible for the checks you deposit — even though you don't know they're fake. This is just one example of a counterfeit check scam that could leave you scratching your head."

For more information on how con artists use this scam to take advantage of consumers, check out the FTC's full article on their Scam Alert blog.

Sarah Clark Oster joined CCCS as the director of Marketing and Education Outreach in 2011.  For more information on identifying and avoiding scams, contact Sarah by calling 423-490-5620 or email her at



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