Disclaimer: The contents of this article are not intended to give the reader legal advice. The article may guide readers to contact financial consultants and point possible victims to government agencies who can investigate and determine intent, and take legal steps to stop consumer fraud. Examples are excerpts from online reports and may or may not be actual fact.
Fraud takes on many faces and involves many avenues. Some television infomercial schemes are no exception. Nightly infomercials are especially dangerous due to the tired and vulnerable state of mind associated with the worry and fatigue some viewers may be experiencing. Free money, instant cures and “things the government, banks or drug companies do not want you to know”, are common trash talk for pitch men.
Fraudulent Companies Prey on the Vulnerable
Money schemes that lead to telemarketers who pressure for more product and add on charges not authorized are illegal and fraud.
For instance, a customer who is worried about bills made a call to buy product on how to get free money, and is bombarded by offers of more product. All products except the product offered on T.V. were refused.
In the end, the customer still had double the charges that were advertised. The customer tried to cancel, but was informed that the order was already in. A credit card or debit card number had already been submitted. The operator gave the customer another number that lead to a telemarketer who said they couldn’t cancel it because there is no order information in the data base yet.
The upset customer did some research after the fact and found that other customers had been duped.
According to resources at government sites, ethical companies will comply right way. Unethical businesses will make excuses and say that the order cannot be repealed because it is already in.
While the customer was trying to remedy the situation, the product came to the door and the customer refused it, but the money was not returned. Not only that, other charges kept appearing for monthly online newsletters and other unauthorized products that had been refused in the first call.
This transaction became a scheme when the customer could not cancel the order right away. Then it became a criminal fraud issue with unauthorized charges and product that was returned unopened.
Fraud Victim Options
According to the FBI fraud department, the first thing a customer should do is to get in touch with the bank or credit card company immediately after hanging up to report the incident. Give detailed information on all actions.
If the charges were paid by debit card, the consumer may be warranted to stop payment, but that will cost a fee of about $30.00 or more. Another option may be to allow the payment to post and call the card number and file a dispute stating facts and the date of transaction and subsequent actions in detail. If and when the package arrives, return it unopened and, if the bank Customer Service Representative deems it necessary, report in writing that the package was refused.
Disputing Credit Card Fraud Charges
Depending upon the credit card company, disputes can be handled in different ways. By far it is the safest way to purchase product, because your bank account is not put into jeopardy. If a credit card bill comes charging for product not received, and the billing company listed does not comply with reversing the charges to the credit card company, get in touch with the credit card company number on the back of the card or at the top of the bill.
If it is not apparent until the statement of the account arrives that fraud has been committed and that there are added unauthorized charges, the customer may still be able to get some relief. If the package was opened, and proves to be unsatisfactory, or more products or charges were added than what was authorized, send it all back with tracking and with a letter requesting return of money for the entire package. If other product continues to come from the company, return unopened and contact the company asking that it be stopped. If unopened copy the date and all tracking numbers before taking the package back to the post office.
Stopping Further Damage
Keep detailed records, (dates, time, sales representative names, events), of all transactions.
It may be a good idea to put a fraud alert on any credit card associated with the transaction or close it altogether if there are no other charges expected. Bank accounts can be closed and then reopened.
Be Alert, Research and Avoid Victimization
In order to stop fraud from happening, research by doing an internet search of the company or seller’s name and product being considered, regardless of the endorsements behind them. Television infomercials, commercials, newspaper ads, and internet websites are not required to be investigated for fraudulent or less than ethical activities before air time.
Unfortunately, it is up to each individual to guard financial information and identities to avoid being victimized.
Take charge against scam artist. Help fight crime by reporting fraudulent activity to the FBI fraud unit or the Federal Trade Commission.