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Your Weekly ScamWatch

September 26, 2010 |  6:03 am

A weekly roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for:

Be careful with coins — The Federal Trade Commission is cautioning consumers to avoid companies that overcharge for or exaggerate the value of gold or rare coins. In addition, the FTC warns consumers to watch out for marketers selling highly leveraged precious metal investments. Some marketers have promoted the investments as low-risk when they can be extremely volatile, the FTC said.

Invest the NFL way — The National Football League Players Assn. is providing players a “guide to financial self defense” produced by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. The guide suggests that investors take steps to avoid being victimized by unscrupulous advisors. Among other things, it recommends that investors take their time before making decisions, research planners and refuse to be pressured.

Foster child project — A New York woman has pleaded guilty to stealing tens of thousands of dollars she solicited for a phony project to build a water park to be used by foster children. Liliana Trafficante pleaded guilty Sept. 21 in federal court in Manhattan to a charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Foreclosure rescue crackdown — Ohio Atty. Gen. Richard Condray has filed three lawsuits against foreclosure rescue companies he said charged inflated fees and failed to help consumers. One of the companies, Lifeline Financial Legal Home Solutions, suggested that it could “reduce your payments up to 10% to 50%." After charging thousands of dollars, the company failed to deliver the service, Condray said in a news release. Condray said he will seek to force the companies out of business.

-- Stuart Pfeifer