Consumer Scams Article


Older Consumers Targeted By Fraudsters Not Once, But Twice!

After reviewing complaints submitted by consumers, we have discovered a financial scam targeting older consumers who had previously been victims of fraudulent money-making schemes, such as bogus timeshare investments and in-home business opportunities. So-called asset recovery companies are contacting these past victims, promising to get refunds for a substantial fee, failing to deliver promised services, and leaving consumers financially worse off than before. What does this scam look like? The asset recovery company contacts the defrauded older consumer claiming that they can get their money back for an upfront fee of several hundred to thousands of dollars. The company often claims it has unique expertise to help victims of fraud recover their funds. Once the older consumer pays the upfront fee, the company fails to perform any service that the consumer could not have done themselves. For example, if the consumer used a credit card to pay the original scammer, the asset recovery company usually will do nothing beyond disputing the charge with the credit card company, which the consumer can do themselves, for free. They often submit a complaint to an agency that does not charge anything to process a complaint – like us, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Moreover, they often do not even adequately follow through with the worthless services they offer; filing claims that are too old to be legally valid or without proper documentation to support the consumer’s claims. Don’t Be Scammed Twice! Ways to Protect Yourself. Here are some warning signs that can help you avoid becoming a victim of an asset recovery scam: •Upfront fees to recover money — Don’t pay for any part of a service that has not been performed. You have the right to refuse service and verify the legitimacy of any organization. •Claims of insider information and connections –— Submitting complaints to federal agencies, such as the CFPB or the Federal Trade Commission, or state attorneys general offices are free to the public and easy to use. Private companies do not have special access to these free consumer complaint resources. •Requests for secrecy — Never allow anyone to discourage you from seeking information, support, and advice from family members, friends, or trusted advisors before making a financial transaction. How do I get help? Alert your bank or credit card company immediately if you believe you have been a victim of fraud. Be sure to ask the bank to prohibit future withdrawals, debits or credit card payments made by or to the scammer. If your bank account information, debit card or credit card number was used without your permission, ask the bank to restore the funds taken from your account. If asset recovery services you paid for with your credit card aren’t provided as promised, you might be able to dispute the charges. If scammed, report it promptly to your local law enforcement office, and submit a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission at ftccomplaintassistant.gov. If you have an issue with a financial product or service, you can submit a complaint to us at consumerfinance.gov/complaint.

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QUESTIONS

  • I think I am being scammed. I received a letter from a previous business firm with a demand to pay. There is no account number, no return address and no signature on the abnormal letter head. How can I tell?
  • I signed up for online Lpn to Rn program online for 13,000 dollars with Achieve Test Prep and took one class that cost 300 dollars. After 1 month Achieve Test Prep said there program no longer supports AZ so i asked for my money back since i didn't cancel the contract. They said they can only send back 10,000 and charged me 3,000 in administrative fees. This is fraud how can i sue and get this in front of a jury and what are my options?
  • My father who is 70 years old was approached by a Phoenix company. How do I find out if this company is legitimate? I think it's a scam and want to convince my Dad - as he is already filling out the paperwork. Thank you for your help in this matter.
  • What is the definition of habitable under AZ law. If move into apt. that has new carpet that makes one sick would that be uninhabitable? Thanks
  • This scam is of a different nature. A seemingly nice looking man contacted me on Myspace with all the sweet words, found I was living on SSI and offered me a job. The job was what caught my attention, and this job is posted elsewhere, to buy certain "materials list" of a particular printer, ink, software to print so called payroll checks. He also offered me a chance to buy stock into Midwesttextiles.com. I have all his info where he wanted me to send the money by Money Gram. He also wanted my acct number to pay me for my work. They would send the "materials list" to me if I would like to invest. Since this is of a different nature, do I report it to AZ Attorney General or US?
  • How many days can a contract be cancelled?
  • My Divorce Attorney has lost over 500 pages of my families financial records.I have been closing accounts, fear of foul play. Should he be held accountable - what can I do, as he chose to ignore it.
  • What about lemon laws in AZ for used cars? My rights.
  • a man is demanding I pay him for assisting me in selling a house I sold "by owner" I he is not licensed. He claims we had an oral agreement that I would pay him rather then hiring a realtor He is suing me for $5000
  • My wife and I are retired seniors. She brought home a flyer from the mailbox advertising a Handyman. Our evaporative cooler stopped working. This man came over and said he could fix it for $210.59. The next day he came back and after looking around for a while he said they don't make these kind of control boxes anymore. He came over that night with a friend of his, John, and they both decided they would have to look for the parts. The next day they both came back with a computer. Jim sat at the computer and started rattling off numbers to John who was using a calculator. After much running in and out to the cooler it was decided that the job would cost $1055.29. My wife and I looked at each other and decided we couldn't live without a cooler in Arizona. I asked Jim how much of a down payment he would need and he said all except $100.00 to buy the parts. I wrote out the check to Jim's Handyman Service. The next morning he called and said three of them had to go to Phoenix to get the parts but he would have to stop by my house first because they would not take a check made out to his business. I thought it strange that someone would run a business using personal checks but wrote out one to Jim Petty which my wife brought out to the gate and exchanged it for the business check. Therefore I never received a receipt for the $745.29 check. That afternoon they called me on the way back from Phoenix and told me that they would be at my house at 8:30 that night to install the parts. I reluctantly agreed and thought it very strange that they wanted to install the parts in the dark. At 9:45 pm the phone rang and they were at our front gate. I told them we were going to bed to come back in the morning. At 7:30 the next morning they were installing the parts into the cooler which included a new thermostat that was previously mentioned to cost between $300 and $400 alone. They finished the job by 9:30, I paid Jim the last $100 and they left. We had no instructions for the thermostat and only two scribbled over work orders mentioning $210.00,$118.00 and 109.00 in various spots on the work orders. We never received a contract, warranty, nothing! After the cooler started to cool the house down we found out it would not shut off or on automatically once it reached the ambient temperature. I called Lowe's and a man tried to help us because they sold that kind of thermostat but eventually said he couldn't help us because he would have to see how the control box was wired and that it was probably wired wrong. I called Jim and asked for an itemized invoice. He agreed but I never heard from him again. He also has not responded to my e mail messages. On one of the scribbled work orders was written a 10 year warranty on parts and labor and 5 years on the computer (if you can read it.) I only signed one of the work orders. This person has "Jesus is Lord" printed under his name on his business card. If you ask me that's all part of the scam. He and his friend John have no intention, that I can, see of ever contacting me. If I could, I would attach a picture of the 'kit' he installed. It all comes in one box and all the 'so called' parts including the thermostat cost $149.99!

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