BAKER FRAUD REPORT  — News you can use

 

March 2, 2017

 

Let’s get the word out

National Consumer Protection Week in the US March 5 –11.  Here is information

Information on March Fraud Prevention Month in Canada.

2017 Senior Toolkit_EN is the Canadian tool kit for frauds affecting seniors

“Free trial offers” are ripping off millions of people.  What you need to know – and share with friends

We are deluged with ads for various pills and potions to lose weight, improve memory, help with arthritis or back pain, eliminate wrinkles, or improve sex.  These are in our newspapers, on the radio, and are prominent as links on the websites we visit every day.  Sometimes these even appear in our email.   What do far too many of these have in common?   They advertise free trial offers with “no risk.” You simply have to put in your credit card to pay a couple of dollars for shipping and handling, and then, they claim, you can easily cancel if you’re not convinced that the product is great.  What’s not to like?   But millions of people have been ripped off by these frauds, finding that it is difficult or impossible to avoid being charged at least $100 or so.  So let’s spread the word and help our friends and families from being ripped off.

This article does not focus on whether the products work or the deceptive claims that that are made to trick victims into placing an order.   Instead it tells you what you need to know about how “free trials” work and how to avoid being ripped off by them.  If you place an order with one of these companies it is often nearly impossible to avoid being charged close to $100 for at least one bottle of pills.  And in many cases the companies continue to ship products every month – and charging for them – until you can make them stop.

How many people have been ripped off by free trial offers and how much do they lose?

In six cases brought by the FTC over the last few years that involve “free trials” total losses are nearly $800 million.  Central Coast Nutraceuticals: $80 million; Jesse Willms: $359 million; LeanSpa: $25 million; Jeremy Johnson: $275 million; Sale Slash: 43.4 million; XXL Impressions:  $6.57 million.

If we presume that most people lose an average of $100, this would mean that there are at least eight million victims of these companies – a large part of the adult population of the US.  And there are surely more operations that the FTC has not yet been able to tackle.  I know friends who have been taken by these tactics.  I’m sure you do too.

Read the entire article

Fraud and the Elderly — Is Anyone Paying Attention? An interesting article on the need to do more about fraud affecting the elderly.

IRS issues

DOJ press release

 Sextortion

Grandparent Fraud

New Mexico Attorney General warns of increase in Grandparent scams coming from phone numbers in Ontario and  Maryland

ATM skimming

Ransomware

 Jamaica sweepstakes fraud

Southern District of Florida indicts US citizen for helping Jamaican frauds receive money from sweepstakes victims – kept part of funds for himself

Business Email Compromise

FBI releases new report on extent of Business Email Compromise scams (or CEO impersonator emails), says since January 2015, there has been a 1,300 percent increase in identified exposed losses, now totaling over $3 billion

UK finds that Cyber attacks on online lenders and payment systems increased 122% last year, costing 8 Billion pounds in 2016

Other News

BBB warns of puppy scams.   The FTC gets thousands of complaints from people who see a cute pet on line, usually a dog, and agree to buy it.  They send money for the cost of the puppy through Western Union or MoneyGram, but the pet does not exist. The pictures of the pet posted online are simply copied from other sites.  NEVER get a pet sight unseen.

  • Canadian AntiFraud Centre reports largest source of fraud losses in 2016 were from romance scams, with 1267 complaints and losses of 20,994,468.

Interested in more consumer news?  My friend Edgar Dworsky, formerly a consumer protection lawyer at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, operates a very interesting and useful web site at www.consumerworld.org. I’m jealous….

Just for fun….

Kind of old, but still fun humor.   FBI unleashes telemarketers on the Taliban

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzjVGG0ja4c

Add to the News! Have you seen a recent prosecution or other fraud information that others should know about?  Send it into the Baker Fraud Report at steve@bakerfraudreport.com

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