People get taken advantage of in many ways when it comes to consumer fraud. One common scheme that is fairly easy to protect yourself against is the unlicensed contractor or repair person. Be careful when you respond to an ad for remodeling, home repair, tree trimming, or other services. Be leery of the person who is "just passing by" and stops, offering to perform body work on a car in your driveway. Not only does the City require a business license to perform most work in town, but the State requires many professions to maintain licenses as well. Check websites like the State Contractors Board and the LA County District Attorney for license information and other consumer fraud tips. Do homework before you enter into financial arrangements with these people. Don't be taken advantage of!