Posts Tagged: ‘Federal Trade Commission’

Senate Approves Legislation to Fight Scammers who Target the Elderly

August 10, 2017 Posted by kingcade

A new law protecting seniors, The Seniors Fraud Prevention Act, passed unanimously and strengthens the federal reporting system for fraud complaints and requires the FTC to monitor fraud schemes targeting seniors.

This story and thousands more like it prompted the new law:

A Duluth elderly mother had picked up the phone to happy news. She had won the lottery- $2.5 million and a new Mercedes!  But before she could claim her prize, the contest organizers needed something from her.  You can probably guess what it was.  In a matter of days, the phone scammers had defrauded the 82-year-old woman out of $47,000, forcing her into bankruptcy.

Seniors are extremely vulnerable and face a constant influx of lies and scams to their mail boxes, inboxes even their phones. These phony contests, fraudulent charities, fake investment opportunities, even scams involving their supposed “grandchildren” who got in trouble overseas and need money wired to them, immediately- all attempt to drain seniors’ of their hard-earned life savings.   A new fraud scheme targeting seniors appears almost daily, according to a fraud investigator for the AARP.

The Seniors Fraud Prevention Act of 2017 strengthens the federal reporting system for fraud complaints and requires the Federal Trade Commission to monitor the market for fraud schemes targeting seniors.

This bill directs the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to establish an office within the Bureau of Consumer Protection to advise the FTC on the prevention of fraud targeting seniors and to assist the FTC in monitoring the market for mail, television, Internet, telemarketing, and recorded message telephone call (robocall) fraud targeting seniors.

The office must: (1) disseminate to seniors and their families and caregivers information on the most common fraud schemes, including methods of reporting complaints either to the FTC’s national toll-free telephone number or to the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network, where complaints become immediately available to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, state attorneys general, and other appropriate law enforcement agencies; (2) provide, in response to a specific request about a particular entity or individual, publicly available information regarding the FTC’s enforcement action; and (3) maintain a website as a resource for information on fraud targeting seniors.

If you have any questions on this topic or are in a financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources:

http://www.startribune.com/senate-signs-off-on-legislation-to-fight-scammers-who-target-the-elderly/438744333/

https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/81

 

FTC Shuts Down Debt Collector for Allegedly Threatening Lawsuits, Arrests against Consumers Who Don’t Owe Anything

July 18, 2017 Posted by kingcade

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is cracking down on “Phantom” debt collection schemes that go after individuals for money they do not actually owe.  The FTC shut down an operation that collected more than $690,000 in fake debts by threatening consumers with lawsuits and arrests, a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

A court order has stopped the business operations of Hardco Holding Group and S&H Financial Group.  The debt collection operation is accused of using deceptive and abusive practices to collect fake debts.  Since June 2015, the companies and their operators Daryl M. Hall and Dequan M. Sicard illegally collected supposed payday loan and other debts from consumers using the threat of legal action and arrest.

Often, doing business as Alliance Law Group, the companies employed a two-step collection process. The complaint alleges the first step involved calling victims claiming that a lawsuit had been or would soon be filed against them due to an outstanding debt they owe.  The victim of the scam would then be provided with a phony case number for reference.

The FTC claims that during most of these calls, the operators of the scheme did not identify themselves as debt collectors. To make the collections seem legitimate, the FTC notes that the collectors would often possess or claim to possess individuals’ personal information, or claim to be from an unrelated, legitimate small business.

The reps advised callers that they could settle the action by making a payment over the telephone using a credit or debit card.  If the victim refused to pay immediately, collectors would threaten legal action and arrest.  The FTC charged Hardco and S&H Financial with violating the FTC Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and seeks to refund individuals affected by the fake debt collection scheme.

Click here to read more on this story.

If you have any questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Looking for an apartment online? Avoid this credit check scam

March 7, 2017 Posted by kingcade

The Federal Trade Commission has taken action to stop a scheme that involves apartment listings on Craigslist.  The apartment ads show enticing pictures offering rentals at affordable prices.  However, the ads are fake and an estimated 146,000 would-be renters did not end up with a lease.  Instead, they were stuck with a recurring charge of $30 a month.  The Federal Trade Commission has filed an injunction to stop the scam, which was reported in at least 35 states and pulled in at least $6.8 million.

It is important to know that if you are looking to rent an apartment, landlords may check your credit, but that typically does not occur until after you have seen the unit and filled out an application.  The landlord also cannot check your credit without your permission, which is usually included as part of the application process.

Here are some additional tips to protect you from a credit check scam:

  • Think twice before you give out personal information. Legitimate services will need your social security number to pull your credit score, but a truly free score should not require a credit card number.
  • Do not wire money for a lease, deposit or application fee. That is the same as handing over cash. There are no consumer protections and you have no way of getting it back.
  • Do not pay before you sign a lease.
  • Do your research online about the landlord and rental company. If you notice the same rental showing up under different names, that is a red flag.

Many of the victims from the Craigslist rental scam did not realize they had been charged until months later.  Review your statements carefully every month for any suspicious charges.  If you suspect you have been scammed, report it to the FTC as soon as possible.

Click here to read more on this story.

If you are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Debt Collection and Imposter Scams #1 Consumer Complaint

March 6, 2017 Posted by kingcade

Individuals posing as a government agency to collect on a debt topped the nation’s list of consumer complaints in 2016.  These so-called “imposter scams,” where con artists pose as a government agent to get you to hand over your cash surpassed identity theft, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

A common impostor scam is the “phony IRS agent,” where scammers contact consumers to claim they have been audited and owe money to the government.  Victims of the scam are told to pay immediately or they can face imprisonment or deportation.

Another common scam involves a “fake computer technician,” in which the scammer claims the victim needs to purchase a security patch or software license.  Of the people who complained about identity theft in 2016, approximately 29 percent said their information was used to commit fraud by filing fake tax returns to confiscate their tax refunds; 32 percent said it was used in credit card fraud.

Here are the Top 10 consumer complaint categories for 2016:

  • Debt collection — 859,090 complaints
  • Impostor scams — 406,578 complaints
  • Identity theft — 399,225 complaints
  • Telephone and mobile services — 292,155 complaints
  • Banks and lenders — 143,987 complaints
  • Prizes, sweepstakes and lotteries — 141,643 complaints
  • Shop-at-home and catalog sales — 109,831 complaints
  • Auto-related complaints — 94,673 complaints
  • Credit bureaus, information furnishers and report users — 49,679 complaints
  • Television and electronic media — 49,546 complaints

Click here to read more on this story.

If you are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

6 Credit Score Killers and How to Avoid Them

February 14, 2017 Posted by kingcade

There are financial missteps you can make that are guaranteed to lower your credit score.  One of the biggest factors in determining your credit score is your past payment history, but there are other things you may be doing that can affect your score in a negative way.

  • A first missed payment. Per a FICO study, a single 30-day late payment can cause a good credit score of 780 to fall 90 to 110 points. An average score of 680, can fall by 60 to 80 points. You can avoid missing payments by setting up auto-pay from a linked checking account every month.  If auto pay makes you uneasy, you can set up automatic alerts that will remind you when your bill is due.
  • A maxed out credit card. Credit utilization is the second most important factor of credit scores, so reaching your card’s credit limit can be problematic. What’s worse, is if you have multiple cards you are doing this with. Remember, for optimal credit score results, it is recommended you keep the amount of debt you owe collectively and on individual cards below 30%, and ideally 10% of your credit limit.
  • An error. This happens more often than you might think.  A report from the Federal Trade Commission discovered that one in five Americans had an error on their credit reports.  Staying on top of your credit score and monitoring it for mistakes can help.
  • An account in collections. That medical bill you thought insurance covered or a utility bill you forgot to pay in college can drop your score 50 to 100 points (if it winds up on your credit report).  That account can legally stay there for up to seven years, plus 180 days from the date of your first missed payment. Keep an eye on your mail for any outstanding debts and resist the urge to ignore a call from a debt collector.
  • Applying for several credit cards or loans at a time. These credit inquiries account for 10% of your credit score.  Keep credit applications to a minimum.  Making several requests in a short period of time can cause your credit score to dip.
  • Closing out your old credit cards. Another component of your credit score, 15%, is the length of your credit history. Closing old credit cards, especially your oldest card, makes your credit history seem shorter than it really is.

If you are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources:

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/5-big-credit-score-killers-110000016.html

https://www.thebalance.com/things-that-hurt-credit-score-960510