(Tara Chavez)

Telemarketer Penalized $3.4M For Scamming Elderly Into Paying For Unwanted Medical Alert Service

Two years ago, the Federal Trade Commission shut down a Brooklyn-based telemarketing scheme that bullied elderly consumers into paying for a medical alert service they never ordered or wanted. Now a federal court has hit the telemarketer’s repeat-offender operator with a $3.4 million penalty. [More]

Robocalling Phantom Debt Collector Accused Of Harassing, Defrauding Consumers

Robocalling Phantom Debt Collector Accused Of Harassing, Defrauding Consumers

People hate debt collectors, perhaps as much as, if not more than, they despise robocalls from telemarketers. And phantom debt collectors — those who attempt to collect debts that aren’t owed to them, if at all — are among the worst of the bunch. So when you combine the automated recorded messages of robocalls with the incessant harassment of phantom debt collectors, you create a particularly loathsome Frankenstein’s monster. [More]

A notario público courts customers on the side of a building. This example of notario advertising was provided by the American Bar Association's Commission on Immigration.

How ‘Notario’ Fraud Preys On Language Differences & Can Result In Unfair Deportation

While the news is filled with reports of various frauds perpetrated on American consumers, one particularly nasty scam doesn’t make as many headlines because it preys almost exclusively on recent Spanish-speaking immigrants who think they are paying for quality legal advice but instead get someone with nothing more than a notary stamp. [More]

(Enokson)

FTC Shuts Down Credit Repair Business Masquerading As The Federal Trade Commission

Fraudsters have been known to scam unsuspecting consumers by claiming to be agents with the federal government. So, in a bit of poetic justice, the Federal Trade Commission had a hand in shutting down a business calling itself the “FTC Credit Solutions.” [More]

(Sean Winters)

Watch Out For Fake Magazine Renewal Invoices

When you subscribe to a magazine and a subscription renewal form arrives in the mail, you pay the invoice and keep the magazines coming, right? No, not quite: at least, not if your address and subscription information have fallen into the hands of a company called Subscription Billing Service, which customers say collects money without bothering to mention that they have no relationship to the magazine publisher. [More]

(J.G. Park)

Contractor Steals Homeowners’ Valuables, Demands Cash For Their Return

It’s certainly not unheard of to have your things stolen by workers with access to your home, but most of them don’t have the gall to justify their theft by saying the victim should pay a ransom because the thief’s boss doesn’t pay them enough. [More]

(Krebs on Security)

Card Skimmers Still Found On Bank Lobby Card Readers

Alert Consumerist readers know to check ATM card readers for signs of skimmer attachments, PIN pad capture devices, and video cameras to avoid having ATM skimmer crooks drain your bank account. Yet these nefarious devices aren’t just found on cash machines and payment kiosks: some banks use magnetic card readers to protect ATM access after hours, and these can hold skimmers, too. [More]

In spite of the fact that this post reeks of scamminess, more than 85,000 Facebook users passed it on, at least hoping that it was authentic.

No, Qantas Isn’t Giving Away Free First Class Tickets For Liking A Post On Facebook

It’s a Facebook post in which the company name is misspelled. It contends that an underwhelming number of passengers is reason to celebrate. It states that all you have to do to get free first class seats is to “Like” the post, and that “winner’s will be inbox’d on March 17.” Nothing about this seems legitimate, and yet more than 85,000 people thought it was worth a shot. [More]

(Great Beyond)

FTC Orders Company That Swindled Tens Of Millions From Seniors To Pay $10M Judgment

We’ve said it too many times to count at this point, but scammers who take advantage of senior citizens are the worst. Today, the Federal Trade Commission made sure there was one less scammer out there by permanently barring the mastermind behind a multi-million dollar fraud from all future telemarketing activities. [More]

Why Do Robocalls Continue In An Age Of “Do Not Call” And Strict Telemarketing Rules?

Why Do Robocalls Continue In An Age Of “Do Not Call” And Strict Telemarketing Rules?

Even though millions of Americans are on the federal Do Not Call list to limit unwanted telemarketing calls, and even though it’s illegal for anyone to make a commercial prerecorded robocall to a consumer who hasn’t given their express consent to receive such calls, the problem persists and is getting worse, with no cure-all solution in the offing. [More]

(Mav)

IRS Impersonation Scam Is Largest In History, Cost Consumers $15.5M

The 2015 tax season has been fraught with complications, from the fraudulent use of tax returns to the “dirty dozen” scams meant to tear consumers away from their money. During a Senate Finance Committee hearing exploring ways in which consumers could better be protected from such hustles, federal investigators divulged more information about one of the most prevalent tax-time scams in recent years, saying it has now targeted 366,000 taxpayers to the tune of $15.5 million. [More]

(Don Hankins)

Scammers Are Taking More Money With Fake Boss Wire Transfer Schemes

So much business is conducted over e-mail now that in some offices, it might be routine to receive an e-mail from your boss telling you where to wire a large amount of money. That’s why the Business E-mail Compromise scam, or CEO Scam, is so plausible and devastatingly effective. Since the last time we discussed this scam, scammers stole more than $17 million from one firm in a single transaction. [More]

(bradleyolin)

Police: Former Amazon Employee Siphoned Off $18,000 In Gift Card Balances

When you send someone a gift card, you do so under the assumption that no one with access to the card has been draining any of the balance. That’s what we assume when having a card sent to the recipient, or when mailing it ourselves: why check to make sure the whole balance is there? Police say that a woman fulfilling Amazon gift card orders took advantage of this for a few years, draining $18,000 in Amazon gift card balances to her own cards. [More]

(Ken Fager)

‘Microsoft Tech Support’ Phone Scammer Threatens To Cut Man Into Little Pieces & Throw Them Into River

We already know that scammers use a variety of unsavory tactics when trying to take advantage of consumers; from impersonating federal agents to threatening jail time. But an alleged fraudster of the so-called “Microsoft Tech Support” scam took things to a decidedly nastier level when his hustle began to unravel. [More]

A diagram from the FTC complaint showing how millions of automated marketing robocalls were made each day under the guise of a political survey.

Telemarketers Accused Of Using Political Robocalls To Pitch Caribbean Cruise Packages

While people at various points on the political spectrum may disagree about many topics, one sentiment many of them share is a distaste for prerecorded phone calls from political organizations. Like them or not, they’re generally legal even if the recipient is on the federal Do Not Call list. But when you use a supposedly political telemarketing call to ultimately shill for a cruise line, you’ve crossed over into the dark side. [More]

Consumers Lost $1.7B To Scams In 2014, Imposter Crimes On The Rise

Consumers Lost $1.7B To Scams In 2014, Imposter Crimes On The Rise

For the 15th consecutive year, identity theft topped the Federal Trade Commission’s list of top consumer complaints. But its reign could be coming to an end following a significant increase in the number of scams in which con artists impersonating government agents and law enforcement personnel part consumers from their money.
[More]

Ex-Employees Claim Intuit Let Fraudulent TurboTax Returns Through For The Money

Ex-Employees Claim Intuit Let Fraudulent TurboTax Returns Through For The Money

Are fraudulent tax returns the fault of the IRS, or caused by a weakness in the most popular software programs that consumers use to file their taxes? Former employees of Intuit, maker of TurboTax, allege that the company prevented security staff from flagging and shutting down obviously fraudulent accounts. Why? Market share. Fraudsters were ditching TurboTax and using other tax software when the company flagged their returns. [More]

Customers Rush To Use Grocery Store ATM Paying Out Double Cash

Customers Rush To Use Grocery Store ATM Paying Out Double Cash

Customers at a Morrisons grocery store in the United Kingdom received an exciting surprise if they went to take some money out of the store’s cash machine: it was paying out double. No, this is not a thing that was actually supposed to happen, but customers rushed to the store to take out some extra money…even though it would be fairly easy for the ATM owner and their banks to determine who had taken out more cash than they were entitled to. [More]