It was a horrible story. A man approached Liza on the street and said that he needed $6 because his mother had just had a stroke behind the wheel of a car and he was short on cash to pay for the tow truck while she was taken to the hospital. It was also a lie. [More]
A Connecticut man was convicted of tricking investors out of $30 million in a Ponzi scheme that involved a total of $100 million in cash exchanged in an elaborate ruse was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Once he gets out, he’ll have to pay $500 a month in restitution, although the actual figure will be based on what he can afford. [More]
Kevin Trudeau, a diet and disease cure-all peddler who has a rich history with the FTC, just earned himself a fat 30 days in jail for encouraging his fans and followers to email a U.S. District Judge. Last Wednesday, Trudeau posted a request on his website asking supporters to email the judge who is presiding over an FTC civil suit against him. The idea, apparently, was for Trudeau’s happy customers to convince Judge Robert Gettleman to go easy on the pitchman. Instead, it had the opposite effect. [More]
The next time you stay at a bed and breakfast and you see a kindly old couple lingering in the common room after breakfast, be suspicious! The Wolffs have been scamming inns, hotels, rented homes, and bed & breakfasts since 2005, reports the Boston Globe. They offer to pay via check, and until recently–when they stayed in one place so long that they were still around when the check bounced–nobody ever thought they might be pulling a fast one. They’re due in court this month for defrauding several inns over the past summer. [More]
The Wall Street Journal ran an article yesterday about how to identify and protect loved ones from con artists. One of the problems with being an easy mark—say, because of reduced mental capacity or increasing isolation—is that you get put on a list and passed around to other scammers, says Karen Blumenthal, the author of the piece and a relative of one of these perpetually easy marks.
All the clever shoplifting tricks in the world won’t save you from yourself if you decide to reveal your secrets on Dr. Phil. Last week a fraud task force raided the home of Laura and Matthew Eaton, who appeared on an episode in November to show the audience how they did it and to say they were going straight.
Two fortune-tellers in Chicago are in being held in jail in lieu of $750,000 bail each for defrauding customers by convincing them they were cursed, then selling them expensive curse-removal/protection services. Remember, folks, fortune tellers cannot curse you, see your future, turn you into a werewolf, or make you lose horrific amounts of weight. They can, however, take your money.
Con artists use publicly available foreclosure notices to find victims for their equity stripping scams.
Freddie Mac produced this video to educate borrowers who face foreclosure about a fraud scheme where “a con artist will seek out a public notice of foreclosure and approach the potential victim with documents and the promise of sorting out the debt,” thereby tricking the homeowner into signing over the deed to the house.
More than one reader noticed a remarkable similarity between FTC repeat offender and infomercial king Kevin Trudeau and Dallas do-gooder Bobby Ewing—er, Patrick Duffy. Which makes us wonder: if there’s a TV movie in the works about Trudeau, and there certainly should be, who should play him? Share the wisdom of a crowd and cast your vote.
Kevin Trudeau isn’t the only one writhing in the icy grip of justice this week—one-time magazine subscription entrepreneur Richard L. Prochnow was ordered to pay over $7 million a few weeks ago when the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld a judgment from July of 2006. Prochnow ran Direct Sales International (DSI), a bad magazine company that lied to customers and trapped them in a “buying club” that charged monthly fees and was very difficult to cancel.
RipOffReports has two claims—one of which was also sent to us by a reader—about Champions Movers and/or A.S.A.P. Relocations of San Jose, California. Or Fremont, California. That’s part of the problem—they seem to be intentionally using a mixture of names and addresses to help hide from what’s shaping up to be a terrible reputation.
One complaint claims that in June they bumped their quote from $1,070 to $2,460 after they’d loaded up her furniture and boxes, and threatened damage to her belongings if she didn’t pay up and sign a new contract on the spot. She paid and signed, but immediately put a stop payment on the check, and she hasn’t seen her furniture since.
Ariel’s wealthy aunt died. When his mom went to open her safe deposit box, which was supposed to hold $300k in bonds and jewels, it was empty. The bank clerk said that it had been emptied that morning, by the aunt…
If someone comes up to you in a bar and bets a round of drinks that they can do something seemingly impossible, they’re probably trying to pull a trick on you.
Unwitting consumers are falling for a new twist on the old “advance fee scam.” In this variation, a consumer receives what looks like a legitimate check in the mail, either as “foreign lottery proceeds,” “prize money,” or even payment for goods via classifieds (which includes Craigslist and eBay).