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Once in a Lifetime

Scam Stoppers

The FTC takes complaints about suspicious or fraudulent business-opportunity schemes. Although the Commission can't resolve individual problems for consumers, it can act against a company if it sees a pattern of possible law violations. File a complaint with the FTC by contacting the Consumer Response Center at (877) 382-4357; or by writing Consumer Response Center, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20580. Or simply visit their Web site at

The Web site of the National Consumers League's Internet Fraud Watch division ( offers tips on how to spot possible scams, links to other scam-related sites and online incident report forms that allow the League to transmit your complaint to the appropriate law enforcement agency.

Lesley Fountain's Scam 101 Web site ( discusses her experiences at the hands of Internet scammers, and gives updates on the latest scams to hit consumers. There's also a message board where you can complain or commiserate with other scam victims.

While it doesn't focus exclusively on Internet-based scams, the Web page of the Council of Better Business Bureaus (BBB),, has links to local chapters of the BBB, allowing you to check the names of companies you're considering doing business with against online databases of consumer complaints. Still, just because a company isn't on file with the BBB doesn't guarantee it's legitimate.

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