What scams are presented as a money-making investment or involves payment of up-front fees…

The 1-900 ploy: Usually through the regular mail, the victim is urged to phone a 1-900 number to discover how much money they’ve won. The offer often states the call costs around $4.99 a minute.

The prizes end up being minimal while $35 is lost with every call.

Vehicle warranty package: Mail or phone calls deliver an unsolicited buyer beware type-pitch. They offer vehicle warranty that might already be owned by the victim.

Emergency or grandparent scam: A grandparent is contacted by phone caller claiming to be a grandchild who says they’re in some sort of trouble requiring a financial bailout. The money is sent by a company like Western Union or Money Gram before the grandparent can verify the story.

Pyramid or Ponzi schemes: These depend on luring an ever-growing number of investors who pay off those who came before them. Finding newcomers is more vital than selling any product that might be at the core of the pitch.

Puppy scam: Classified ad racket promises a puppy after all fees are paid. Fees — which include shipping and customs charges — are sought in advance and paid through a money transfer company. Photos of the pets are used but the animals never actually exist.

Lottery fraud: Tricks victims into thinking they’ve won a jackpot. Fees are asked to be paid up-front before the prize can be claimed. The winning claims are made by free e-mail accounts like Yahoo and Hotmail, which legitimate lotteries don’t use.

Bogus charities: Caution should be taken when an unfamiliar charity comes calling.

Phishing: A ploy that elicits financial data and passwords from Internet users. This con uses replicas of real businesses to trick users into supplying credit card and social insurance numbers and bank account data. The information can be used to commit identity fraud.

Vacation schemes: Unsolicited vacation offers; sometimes, these come-ons involve a prize that has to be paid for.

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