Posts Tagged: ‘FTC’

FTC and 11 States Announce “Operation Game of Loans” Targeting Deceptive Student Loan Debt Relief Scams

October 16, 2017 Posted by kingcade

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and 11 states have announced a first of its kind federal-state law enforcement initiative that targets deceptive student loan debt relief scams. The nationwide crackdown includes 36 actions by the FTC and state attorneys general against scammers who allegedly took more than $95 million in illegal upfront fees from struggling student loan borrowers over the years.

It is alleged in these actions that the defendants charged consumers illegal upfront fees, falsely promised to help reduce or forgive student loan debt and pretended to be affiliated with the government or loan servicers, a violation of the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule and the FTC Act.

Operation Game of Loans also includes law enforcement actions by Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, and the District of Columbia.  Here is a recent case filed in Florida:

Student Debt Doctor (SDD): In an action filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, the FTC charged that Fort Lauderdale-based SDD and its owner, Gary Brent White, Jr., collected at least $7 million from consumers struggling to pay student loan debt. According to the complaint, the defendants charged illegal upfront fees of $750 or more. Using social media, e-mail, and telemarketing, SDD promoted its services across the United States, in English and Spanish. SDD falsely promised loan forgiveness often in as little as five years or less, and told consumers not to communicate with their loan servicers. The defendants also fabricated income, unemployment status, and family size information on relief applications in order to qualify borrowers for eliminated or reduced monthly payments. The court entered a temporary restraining order (TROon October 3, 2017.

Click here to learn more about the five new cases filed against 30 defendants as part of Operation Game of Loans.

For borrowers who are struggling with student loan debt, relief options are available. Many student loan borrowers are unaware that they have rights and repayment options available to them, such as postponement of loan payments, reduction of payments or even a complete discharge of the debt. It is important you 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 McMaken, 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 McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

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.

South Florida Student Loan Scam Shut Down by FTC

May 30, 2017 Posted by kingcade

A federal court has shut down a phony student loan debt relief and credit repair company that was operating in Lake Worth, Delray Beach, Boca Raton and Las Vegas.  The FTC charged its operators with scamming millions of dollars from consumers by falsely promising to reduce- even eliminate their student loan debt.

The owner of Strategic Student Solutions and related entities used corporate funds to pay for personal expenses, including: jewelry, casino tabs, mortgage payments, luxury vehicles, clothing and the construction of a pool, according to the FTC.

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida has halted the company’s operations and seeks to permanently stop the alleged illegal practices and refund consumers. Borrowers, who trusted Strategic Student Solutions, watched their student loan debt go from bad to worse.

The operators of Strategic Student Solutions lured student loan borrowers with promises such as, “Payments as low as $0 monthly” and “Save 60 percent or more on your monthly payments.”

However, consumers discovered the defendants failed to enroll them in any loan forgiveness or payment reduction plans, and found out none of their monthly payments were applied to their student loan debt.

The company falsely represented that they would provide credit repair services and improve consumers’ credit scores.  Instead, they charged consumers illegal fees of up to $1,200 and monthly payments of $49.99.

The bottom line: Never pay an up-front fee to a company promising to deliver debt relief. Through deceptive marketing practices, this company and others like them, claim to offer borrowers the opportunity to get them out of debt, consolidate their loans and lower their monthly payments for a fee.  It is important that borrowers know, these same services are offered by the Department of Education — for free.  Borrowers looking to reduce their monthly student loan payments should contact the Department of Education for official guidance.

Click here to read more on this story.

For borrowers who are struggling with student loan debt, relief options are available. Many student loan borrowers are unaware that they have rights and repayment options available to them, such as postponement of loan payments, reduction of payments or even a complete discharge of the debt. It is important you 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.

 

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.