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Your weekly ScamWatch

November 21, 2010 |  6:12 am

Ab Force — The Federal Trade Commission will mail refunds to more than 34,000 consumers who bought Ab Force electronic stimulation devices, which had been advertised as being able to help people lose weight without exercising. Marketers including Telebrands Corp. and TV Savings violated federal law by making false claims about the product’s effectiveness, the FTC said in a news release.

Phishing — The FBI's New York office is warning the public to be careful about responding to e-mails purportedly from their banks. The e-mails include links that ask consumers to confirm their account numbers, passwords and other information that scammers can then use to drain their bank accounts, the FBI said. “This type of criminal activity is unfortunately very common and targets a wide variety of financial institutions,” said Mary Galligan, special agent in charge of the FBI’s New York office.

LifeLock — The FTC is mailing refunds to nearly 1 million people it calls "victims of allegedly false claims made by LifeLock Inc.," which told consumers it could provide absolute protection from identity theft if they paid for their services. In March, the FTC announced that LifeLock had agreed to pay $11 million to the FTC and $1 million to state attorneys general to settle allegations that it had made false claims to attract business.

Ponzi scheme — A Texas man accused of running an $80-million scheme has been convicted. Walter Netschi was accused of defrauding investors by falsely telling them he would invest their money in automated teller machines that he would install in shopping malls, hotels and other places. He is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 20 and could face more than 200 years in prison.

-- Stuart Pfeifer