Each year, millions of elderly consumers are lured into mail fraud schemes by all-too-attractive claims that they have won unimaginable prizes, like millions of dollars or trips around the world. Today, the U.S. Department of Justice took unprecedented steps to ensure these scammers no longer victimize older Americans by announcing action against companies that they allege are some of the little-known perpetrators of the alleged schemes: the payment processor, mailer printers, and lead generators.
A Florida man could spend up to 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to taking part in a million-dollar, years-long shipping and kickback scheme involving his former employer Macy’s. [More]
Simultaneous legal actions by both the U.S. Department of Justice and Dutch authorities seek to shut down an alleged mail fraud scheme that tricked elderly Americans into paying tens of millions of dollars with the false promise of winning valuable prizes in return. [More]
Three Florida men pleaded guilty recently to assisting in an elaborate telemarketing operation that defrauded $25 million from timeshare owners in the U.S. and Canada. [More]
Is there some kind of greedy bug sweeping through the New York City mail system? Okay, probably not, but for the second time in two months a postal employee has been charged by federal prosecutors with taking part in a scheme to pad their own pockets. The most recent case involves a mail carrier who allegedly stole more than $1 million in tax refunds. [More]
Texas’ Attorney General Greg Abbott is going after Bally Total Fitness for the fraudulent “past due” scheme it was using to trick former customers into re-upping with the gym. The AG office says that the gym mailed more than 11,000 fake notices to former customers between last summer and March 2010, and at least 1,000 Texans fell for it and paid the fees.
Last week, Jon wrote to us asking how he can help protect his grandmother from falling for any more direct mail scams. She’d answered a piece from psychic Maria Duval, and subsequently her mailing address was sold to all sorts of scammers who thrive on easy marks. We suggested filing a prohibitory order via the USPS, but the core problem remains: how do you convince someone who wants to believe in psychics that she’s being lied to?
A manager at Chemical Bank in Midland, Michigan, grew suspicious when he saw Marion Case, an 80-year-old customer, withdraw $25k from her account last December. Case told him she was going to mail it to someone who would then pass it along to her son. The manager, Carl Ahearn, “remained suspicious. He followed her as she walked to the nearby post office, where Case bought an Express Mail envelope addressed to a man in New Jersey. Ahearn shared his concerns with postal officials, who opened an investigation and arrested a man Monday for fraud.”
It’s always fun when you spot people you know in the paper. Like when one reader saw an article about his former Best Buy manager, charged with seventeen counts of third-degree identity thief. Mariusz Paliwoda of Conneticut was arrested recently for stealing over 100 pieces of mail from rural folks’, then using the information to create credit card accounts. Only the cream of the crop, or former Domino’s managers, make it to the top of Best Buy!
The Quaker Oats company contacted us to ask that we help get the word out that a mailing offering thousands of dollars in exchange for sensitive personal information did not come from their company and is a scam.
San Diego Union Tribune Tries To Trick Customers Into Renewing By Demanding Payment For "Unpaid Bill"
I received a call yesterday from my newspaper (the San Diego Union Tribune). The nice young man on the phone told me that I had an unpaid bill, and if I liked, he could take care of that over the phone with me right then. I take a certain amount of pride in paying all my bills promptly, so my first impulse was to go ahead and get it taken care of asap. But after the first few seconds of surprise and confusion, I got suspicious.
Reader Robert used the Consumerist’s Ultimate Guide To Fighting Back to get an $856 refund from another driver’s insurance company.
One reader says that after Cingular overcharged her, she sent them a letter informing them they were committing mail fraud.