Terms of Use 

Fraud artists often take advantage of world events, playing on the fears of many. Scams associated with war have been popping up over the Internet or promoted by telemarketers. These scams generally fall into the following categories:

  1. Charitable solicitations -- During wartime, telemarketers can make their phony pleas for charitable donations sound more plausible.

  2. Investments -- Changes in world oil prices may appear to be a chance to "get rich quick" in commodities. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission says prices already have been adjusted to reflect the impact of war and the potential for supply disruptions. If you're approached to invest in oil and gas as a way to profit from the run-up in oil prices, know that regulators say most of these "get rich quick" schemes involve bogus operations or dry wells.

  3. Homeland preparedness -- Swindlers may try to profit off fears of terrorist attacks against the U.S. to promote their products such as anthrax tests, vaccines or home decontamination kits.

  4. Military families -- When a family member is away on active duty, military families need to be especially wary of scammers who may try to profit from any change in a family's financial circumstances, promising them easy credit or special deals on major purchases.

So, how can you avoid being the next "victim" of these wartime scams?

  • Check out a charity before you donate and never give out your credit card, account number or Social Security number to an unknown telemarketer.

  • Make sure an offer is reputable before you invest.

  • Make sure the company and its products are legitimate before you buy. Consult the American Red Cross or the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for tips on how to protect your family in case of an emergency.

  • Never give money to anyone promising big rewards for little or no risk, or who might prey on your fears.

  • Securities regulators say not to invest in unregistered securities. If you have questions regarding an investment opportunity, check with your state securities regulator first. Contact information for your state securities regulator can be found at the North American Securities Administration Association.

It pays to be skeptical of a scheme that seems too good to be true!