Let your voice be heard

Are you one of those people who will stand up and say something about an issue that you think is wrong?  How do you go about finding others who also feel the same way that you do?  Blogs and social networking sites can be a great way for you connect with like minded people so that you can join together to try and make an impact to change the issues that are important to you.

Since I have a Twitter account I get a notification when I get a new follower, and I always check out that new follower’s page to see if they are connected to any resources that might be a good fit to team up with.  Here are a few recent ones that I wanted to share with you.

LoanFraudVictim – This Twitter user has a website at http://wellsfargomortgagefraud.com/ detailing the story of her battle to hold Wells Fargo accountable for the damage they did.

NetWatchDog – This Twitter user is from the website http://theinternetwatchdog.com/ which is filled with information on internet scams and fraud.

WFmortmodscam – Working to keep Wells Fargo Home Mortgage or another lender from stealing your home? It’s time to fight back! Blogging at wellsfargomortgagemodscam.com/blog/

BanksGoneBad – Florida mortgage pro who has seen banks fraudulently foreclose on homeowners as well as perpetrate fraud on investors and bond holders. I’m helping 2 fight back  http://banksgonebad.com/

What Would You Do?

Every day we make choices . . . grab some fast food for breakfast, or have some fresh fruit . . . walk up the stairs or take the elevator . . . you can follow the crowd or stand alone. What would you do?

This is the basis of the television segment What Would You Do on ABC.  They set up scenarios that are supposed to make you stop and think, and then they let the hidden camera roll to catch on tape what people really do in these situations.

Now, you might ask what this show has to do with this scam blog.  It turns out that they are looking to do a segment where one of the scenarios will be a person that is entering into a situation that is clearly a scam.  Will people warn them or just let them go on believing that this is all real?

They would also like to partner this with an interview with real life scam victims who would be willing to share their story.  If you are a scam victim who is willing to share your story please contact me.  They would prefer someone in the New York Tri-State Area, since that is where their production studios are located.

Consumers who help AG’s office could get up to $3K

I was just sent a link to this article from my good friend and fellow advocate, Denise Richardson (GiveMeBackMyCredit.com) and I just had to share it with all of you.
To summarize the article, The Indiana AG office wants victims of financial scams to be able to recoup legal costs through a program funded by violators of the state’s consumer protection laws.  Personally, I think this is a GREAT idea.  I know that so many scam victims don’t report the scams and just pay the money to make it go away instead of getting a lawyer to try to fight these cases . . . mostly because they cannot afford to get a lawyer.  This would allow them to get justice without it being an added financial burden on them.
Looks like there are a couple of lawmakers already backing this . . . Senator Richard Bray and State Representative Woody Burton.

Advice from the BBB

Here is a little clip from a recent BBB newsletter.

The BBB Absolute ‘No’ for December
Every month, the BBB informs the public of an absolute ‘no,’ a fraudulent scheme or offer they should never consider or take part in under any circumstance. The absolute no for December involves online deals that seem too good to be true. In late November, the BBB began receiving complaints against OnSaleFurnitureDepot, an online furniture company which claimed to be operating out of an apartment in Fargo, North Dakota. Consumers reported that the company was offering furniture and swing-sets at heavily discounted prices, but then failed to deliver once payment was received. Also, customers were told they needed to pay for their merchandise Green Dot MoneyPak cards (essentially a money transfer service). Unfortunately, this left customers without any recourse to get their money back. For more information on this situation and BBB tips for shopping safely online, click here.
Moments Like This
This last June, the BBB began receiving complaints against Moments Like This, a bridal service company in Minneapolis. Complaints were from disappointed wedding parties who reported that on their wedding day they either hadn’t received linens or chair covers they had paid for or only received parts of their order. The BBB immediately began forwarding the complaints to the business owner, and by late June had updated the company’s report to indicate there was a pattern of a problem and customers considering doing business with the company should be aware of that. As of December 16th, the BBB had processed 22 complaints against the company. Eleven of those complaints were closed unresolved and another seven were closed with no response received from the company.

Fraudulent Notifications

From the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)

The IC3 continues to receive reports of letters and emails being distributed pursuant to prize sweepstakes or lottery schemes. These schemes use counterfeit checks that bear legitimate-looking logos of various financial institutions to fool victims into sending money to the fraudsters.

Fraudsters tell victims they won a sweepstakes or lottery, but to receive a lump sum payout, they must pay the taxes and processing fees upfront. Fraudsters direct individuals to call a telephone number to initiate a letter of instructions. The letter alleges that the victim may elect to take an advance on the winnings to make the required upfront payment. The letter includes a check in the amount of the alleged taxes and fees, along with processing instructions. Ultimately, victims believe they are using the advance to make the required upfront payment, but in reality they are falling prey to the scheme.

The victim deposits the check into their own bank, which credits the account for the amount of the check before the check clears. The victim immediately withdraws the money and wires it to the fraudsters. Afterwards, the check proves to be counterfeit and the bank pulls the respective funds from the victim’s account, leaving the victim liable for the amount of the counterfeit check plus any additional fees the bank may charge.

Persons may fall victim to this scheme due to the allure of easy money and the apparent legitimacy of the check the fraudsters include in the letter of instruction. The alleged cash prizes and locations of the financial institutions vary.

Tips to avoid being scammed:

  • A federal statute prohibits mailing lottery tickets, advertisements, or payments to purchase tickets in a foreign lottery. 

  • Be leery if you do not remember entering a lottery or sweepstakes. 

  • Beware of lotteries or sweepstakes that charge a fee prior to delivering your prize. 

  • Be wary of demands to send additional money as a requirement to be eligible for future winnings. 

If you have been a victim of this type of scam or any other cyber crime, you can report it to the IC3 at: www.IC3.gov. The IC3 complaint database links complaints for potential referral to law enforcement for case consideration. Complaint information is also used to identify emerging trends and patterns to alert the public to new criminal schemes.

Holiday Tips

Here are some tips from the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) you can use to avoid becoming a victim of cyber fraud:

 
  • Do not respond to unsolicited (spam) email.
  • Do not click on links contained within an unsolicited email.
  • Be cautious of email claiming to contain pictures in attached files, as the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders. Scan the attachments for viruses if possible.
  • Avoid filling out forms contained in email messages that ask for personal information.
  • Always compare the link in the email with the link to which you are directed and determine if they match and will lead you to a legitimate site.
  • Log directly onto the official web site for the business identified in the email, instead of “linking” to it from an unsolicited email. If the email appears to be from your bank, credit card issuer, or other company you deal with frequently, your statements or official correspondence from the business will provide the proper contact information.
  • Contact the actual business that supposedly sent the email to verify if the email is genuine.
  • If you are asked to act quickly, or there is an emergency, it may be a scam. Fraudsters create a sense of urgency to get you to act quickly.
  • Verify any requests for personal information from any business or financial institution by contacting them using the main contact information.
  • Remember if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
 

Take this quiz!

Check out your scam IQ with this quiz from the United States Postal Inspectors site at http://www.deliveringtrust.com/index.php

You can also learn more about common scams, and look at the top 10 ways to prevent fraud.