The little guy

If you know me, you know I am all for the little guy being able to stand up and tell big corporations “That’s not right!”  I get very frustrated when I see companies doing things that are morally wrong, and only doing them because they know they have so many lawyers that the little guy will not be able to afford to fight them in court for with is right.

My good friend Denise Richardson recently wrote this article about the fact that the Supreme Court with be making a ruling in November that could change class-action lawsuits.  Here is a portion of her article . . .

Sometimes a class-action lawsuit is the only way to force a corporation to assume its corporate responsibility. Access to the justice system and a fair shake under the law are the little guys’ safety nets. Without the threat of a lawsuit, corporations can engage in negligence or recklessness, and the consumer will have little to say in his own defense. Which is why AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, the case coming up in the Supreme Court this November, has got my attention and should have yours.

In this case, the Court will decide whether the Federal Arbitration Act preempts state-law rulings that class-action bans are unconscionable. They will decide “whether corporations can ban class actions in the fine print of their contracts with consumers and employees.

There is a petition you can sign letting them know that you are against forced arbitration and feel the consumer should continue to have the right to class-action lawsuits at http://www.fairarbitrationnow.org/

Minnesota Victims

I am looking for victims of internet crimes in Minnesota who would be willing to share their story with City Pages.  If you do not want your name printed, they are willing to respect that.

If you are a victim of any type of internet crime, I encourage you to come forward and share your story.  I know it is not easy . . . I am a scam victim also . . . but I do know how rewarding it is to know that you have helped save others from being a scam victim because your story gave them the information to protect themselves.

If you are interested, you can contact me through http://www.retaggr.com/page/ShawnMosch

Emails from your email provider . . . or are they

Have you ever been without your email, and felt totally unconnected to the world.  You could be missing some important information, and it is all because you cannot get into your account.

A popular scam right now preys on that fear people have of not being able to get at their email accounts, and to make these scams work the scammers make it look like the emails are coming from your email provider.  The emails will tell you that you have exceeded your mailbox quota or that someone has attempted to access your email account.  Either way, the email then asks for you to update your information within a set amount of time or your email account with be closed permanently.

If there ever was a real problem with your email account, your provider would not send you an email about it, and they would not set a time limit on when you have to respond by.  Not everyone checks their email daily, or even weekly, so if they are telling you to complete the task by a set date they are doing it to scare you into moving fast, without looking into things first.

If you do get an email like this, and you are worried that there really COULD be a problem with your email account, call the customer service number for your email provider . . . but do not call any customer service numbers listed in the email  . . . those will be fake also.  Use a search engine to look up the customer service number so that you know for sure that you are contacting the right people to check on your account.

I need to vent

I just read the press release at http://www.fbi.gov/page2/september10/creativity_091010.html and while it is great that there is so much attention to crack down on hackers and people sending out viruses to computers, what about scam victims!

The last paragraph of the press release reads

As the Internet and advances in traditional distribution methods allow
American businesses, inventors, and artists to market their “products”
worldwide, the threat from criminals and criminal organizations who want to
profit illegally from their hard work grows. But so does the commitment of law
enforcement and governments around the world to find new and effective ways to
combat the threat…together.

So how about finding new and effective ways to combat counterfeit cashier’s check scams! We at Scam Victims United have been trying to bring attention to that battle since 2002 . . . actually, in a few weeks it will be the 8 year anniversary of the start of our battle to bring attention to this issue. I wish someone would pay attention to our battle.

FTC Halts Cross Border Domain Name Registration Scam

I was glad to see this press release from the FTC, because as the Co-Founder of a non-profit I have seen the letters that companies like this send out, and how real some of them look, so I can see how some people would believe that they must really pay the fees that these people are asking for.

Read the press release to understand what I am talking about . . .

Thousands of Small Businesses and Non-profits Billed for Bogus Renewal Fees

The Federal Trade Commission has permanently halted the operations of Canadian con artists who allegedly posed as domain name registrars and convinced thousands of U.S. consumers, small businesses and non-profit organizations to pay bogus bills by leading them to believe they would lose their Web site addresses unless they paid. Settlement and default judgment orders signed by the court will bar the deceptive practices in the future.

In June 2008, the FTC charged Toronto-based Internet Listing Service with sending fake invoices to small businesses and others, listing the existing domain name of the consumer’s Web site or a slight variation on the domain name, such as substituting “.org” for “.com.” The invoices appeared to come from the businesses’ existing domain name registrar and instructed them to pay for an annual “WEBSITE ADDRESS LISTING.” The invoices also claimed to include a search engine optimization service. Most consumers who received the “invoices” were led to believe that they had to pay them to maintain their registrations of domain names. Other consumers were induced to pay based on Internet Listing Service’s claims that its “Search Optimization” service would “direct mass traffic” to their sites and that their “proven search engine listing service” would result in “a substantial increase in traffic.”

The FTC’s complaint charged that most consumers who paid the defendants’ invoices did not receive any domain name registration services and that the “search optimization” service did not result in increased traffic to the consumers’ Web sites.

A federal district court judge in Chicago, Robert M. Dow, Jr., ordered a temporary halt to the deceptive claims and froze the defendants’ assets, pending trial. The settlement and default judgment orders announced today end that litigation.

The orders bar the defendants from misrepresenting: that they have a preexisting business relationship with consumers; that consumers owe them money; that they will provide domain name registration; and that they will provide “search optimization services” that will substantially increase traffic to consumers’ Web sites. The defendants are also required to disclose any material restrictions or aspects of any goods or services they provide.

The settlement order, entered against defendants Isaac Benlolo, Kirk Mulveney, Pearl Keslassy, and 1646153 Ontario Inc., includes a suspended judgment of $4,261,876, the total amount of consumer injury caused by the illegal activities. Based on the inability of the settling defendants to pay, they will turn over $10,000 to satisfy the judgment. The default judgment order was entered against defendant Steven E. Dale and includes a judgment in the amount of $4,261,876.

Charges against Ari Balabanian and Data Business Solutions were dismissed by the court at the FTC’s request.

NOTE: Stipulated orders are for settlement purposes only and do not necessarily constitute an admission by the defendants of a law violation. Stipulated orders have the full force of law when signed by the judge.
The Federal Trade Commission works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, click http://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov or call 1-877-382-4357. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,800 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. For free information on a variety of consumer topics, click http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/consumer.shtm.

Insurance Fraud

It is sad that stories like this one even exist. Recently, several people were conviced scam involving phony life insurance policy claims. Some of these people had experinece with funerals, death certificates and filing insurance claims. When they joined forces, they were able to use all of this knowledge to defraud companies out of $1.2 million.

To read the entire article, go to http://www.fbi.gov/page2/september10/fraud_090310.html

For more information on insurance fraud, visit http://www.insurancefraud.org/

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NOVA – National Organization for Victims Assistance

I wanted to thank NOVA for the wonderful conference that they put on in Salt Lake City, Utah August 22nd through August 25th, and for having me as a presentor for one of the workshops.  My co-presentor was Denise Richardson of GiveMeBackMyCredit.com

Not only did Denise and I get the chance to share our personal stories of how we went from victim to Victims Advocate, we attended several other presentations and were able to meet some amazing people, and I will be sharing that information with you in the upcoming days.