TIP NUMBER ONE
Help4Troops.com aka Work4Troops.com:
Work-at-Home Opportunity Uses Military Name
The Wisconsin BBB issued an alert about Help4Troops.com, a self-proclaimed non-profit organization that claims to ship packages to deployed troops. In reality, it is a work-at-home scam that may involve financial fraud and shipping stolen goods overseas.
Help4Troops, also known as Work4Troops, claims to send care packages to American troops in 36 countries. The company’s website asks for “volunteer shippers” to repackage small boxes into larger cartons and ship them to military personnel overseas. Help4Troops offers to pay shippers $20 per package, and requests personal banking information in order to do so. While making a number of claims on its Web site, Help4Troops does not offer detailed information about its organization, alleged sponsors, or financial status.
The Wisconsin BBB received a complaint in mid-April from a consumer who was contacted by Help4Troops and “hired” as a “Volunteer Shipper” after she posted her resume on the online employment site CareerBuilder.com. After two weeks of receiving and repackaging items, she found out about a fraudulent credit card charge in Chicago listed under her mailing address. When she questioned Help4Troops they stopped replying to her emails and she discovered that their telephone number was a fax number. The Wisconsin BBB has since confirmed that their “address” is in actuality a barber shop. The organization is not registered with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions or the Internal Revenue Service, is not known to the Department of Defense and is not listed in its National Resource Directory.
Don’t get caught up in a work-at-home shipping scam! Here are some red flags:
• The company requires you to receive and ship packages, most often overseas, for a commission that is delivered via money transfer. What you may unknowingly be doing is shipping stolen goods overseas.
• The company claims to provide you a personal account to reimburse shipping costs—it is most likely set up with stolen financial information.
• The company is difficult to contact or its information cannot be verified.
• Employment starts without a face-to-face interview and the primary form of communication is e-mail. Often the company’s website is a free, generic domain that has only recently been registered.
• Grammar, spelling and punctuation mistakes occur in the company’s emails and on its Web site.
Don’t fall for Web sites with fake testimonials or appeals to your patriotism! And be suspicious of anyone who contacts you from a job search site – those sites are increasingly used by scammers to find victims. Check the company or charity out at www.bbb.org; if you don’t find a report you can ask the BBB that serves that area to investigate. If the organization is presenting itself as a military charity, another place to check is at www.ourmilitary.mil, the Department of Defense Web site where you can find a list of military-related charities that have been vetted by national charity review organizations.
To read the full Wisconsin BBB release, click here.
TIP NUMBER TWO
BEWARE OF FAKE ONLINE GED PROGRAMS:
Jefferson High School Online of AZ, Also dba Jackson High School Online
BBB has received complaints from consumers who say they passed Jefferson High School Online's test and paid more than $200 to receive a high school diploma. However, when the students tried to enroll in college using the diploma, they were told that it was not valid.
The first part of the test is a questionnaire that asks students several "life experience" questions, including what type of music they like, how often they listen to music or read and how physically active they are. Jefferson High School Online's Web site says the answers on this portion of the test will count toward the students "elective and life experiences credits."
After students complete the life experience questionnaire they are given a multiple choice test in language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. If a student answers a question incorrectly they are given a hint, and three more chances to select the correct answer from the four possible answers given for each question.
Jefferson High School Online is owned by MMDS Ltd., based out of St. Kitts, a small country in the eastern Caribbean. MMDS Ltd. also operates a Web site called Vencer High School Online and Jackson High School Online.
Aside from using a different name, the site is an exact replica of Jefferson High School, and offers the same services.
BBB TUCSON RELEASE:
RECENT NEWS STORY
TIP NUMBER THREE
SCAMMING PHONER POSES AS FREEMEDPROGRAMS.COM REP
This BBB received a report last week from a consumer in Georgia who was supposedly contacted by a freemedprograms.com rep named Tim Warneke, who told the consumer that he was located in Coeur d’Alene, ID. (This company has no Idaho location that BBB can confirm.)
Sadly, the Georgia consumer gave this person their credit card number. The rep told the consumer that he would receive free meds if he signed up for the program. When the consumer asked for the company’s phone number, “Tim” gave him an 866# that, when called, actually belongs to an Ohio Valley locksmith.
There is an actual web site and program called www.freemedprograms.com but no BBB report on this group.
While there is no way to contact this web site and company, the web site touts that signing up for the program is absolutely FREE. Once signed up, one can access the database of various med programs out there that lend assistance to consumers in finding affordable, and perhaps even free meds, depending on whether they qualify or not. The application process for finding eligibility is separate from the web site’s program itself, and people would need to fill out their own apps to see whether they qualify or not. This web site states that it doesn’t guarantee people free meds.
Protect your personal info and do research before agreeing to any offer via phone. Be wary of callers offering you discount meds, healthcare, or health-related products in exchange for your credit card. BBB is seeing an upsurge in calls inquiring about questionable calls such as these related to healthcare and overall discounted medical or healthcare assistance, and a majority of the offers are highly questionable.
TIP NUMBER FOUR
BBB Warns of “Annual Minutes Requirement” Scam Targeting Businesses
Several states have already issued warnings against Compliance Services’ misleading mailings
Your BBB has received reports that misleading mailings from Compliance Services are showing up in mailboxes of businesses. BBB Accredited Business Bullock-Tice Associates provided BBB a copy of the deceptive solicitation.
Compliance Services currently has an F rating from BBB. This rating means BBB strongly questions the company’s reliability for reasons such as that they have failed to respond to complaints, their advertising is grossly misleading, they are not in compliance with the law’s licensing or registration requirements, their complaints contain especially serious allegations or the company’s industry is known for its fraudulent business practices.
For a $125 fee, Compliance Services claims they will prepare documents “to satisfy the annual minutes requirement for your corporation.” However, when investigating similar scams, the Florida Attorney General has stated that while the statutes cited in these mailings do govern requirements for businesses to keep annual minutes, the statutes do not require that these minutes – not to mention the fee – be submitted to any outside entity including the Secretary of State’s Office.
Because of the misleading nature of the mailings, the states of North Carolina and Texas have both filed temporary restraining orders against Compliance Services and its principle officer Selwyn Monarch, alleging that the defendants “create the impression that the corporations have violated or are about to violate state law.” Included in the North Carolina Attorney General’s complaint are warnings from at least six other states (Ohio, Montana, Massachusetts, Indiana, Georgia and Colorado) about deceptive mailings from Compliance Services and other similarly-named solicitations.
Any business owner who believes he has been a victim of this scam should call the Florida Attorney General’s Fraud Hotline at 866.9.NO.SCAM.
For additional information and advice you can trust as a business owner, start with bbb.org.
TIP NUMBER FIVE
APX ALARM SECURITY SOLUTIONS, Inc. of UT
Going Door-to-Door in Region Offering Systems
Young Reps Draw Inquiries
It was brought to BBB”s attention last week by the Regional Director of APX Alarm Security Solutions that they were dispatching reps to various parts of our region to conduct door-to-door sales of alarm systems. According to the BBB UT report for this company: “All APX Alarm Security Solutions, Inc. sales representatives and installation technicians are required to wear an identification badge that has (a) their full name, (b) a photograph, and (c) a unique identification number that can be used to look up the individual on the APX Alarm web site.”
APX Alarm System BBB Report
TIPS ON ALARM SYSTEM REPS DOOR TO DOOR
When considering a burglar alarm it is important to remember that there is no such thing as a completely burglar-proof alarm system. No national standards specify required levels of performance, and the best protective device cannot compensate for a lack of basic common sense.
Through ways, such as the appearance of your house, you can deter burglars. If you decide on an alarm system, check with the Better Business Bureau for a business review on the company, ask friends and neighbors for references, and always comparison shop.
1. Some companies will offer a "free" alarm system. While the equipment and installation may be free (make sure this is in writing), there is a monthly monitoring fee. When you compare costs, make sure you compare all the costs.
2. Find out about local building codes and regulations regarding burglar alarms (including costs for false alarms).
3. Check out the company that will be monitoring your system. Ask if it is the same company you are signing a contract with. If not, make sure you obtain the name, address and phone number of this company.
4. Consider advantages and disadvantages of each system and decide which will be best for your particular situation.
a. Does the company call you first before notifying the police?
b. Does the company call the police first?
c. Does the company have a security patrol car that will check out the alarm and if necessary call the police?
d. How soon after the alarm sounds will you be notified?
e. What happens if the alarm company is unable to reach you when the alarm is sounding? Is the alarm reset? Are the police called? Are alternate numbers called?
f. Ask for procedures in writing, so you are aware of the steps and can anticipate how you can best handle the situation.
5. Deal only with reputable firms and check out the company at the Better Business Bureau's website, www.bbb.org.
6. Don't be pressured into buying something you don't want or need. A reputable company will let you check out the offer and compare bids from several installers.
7. Make sure it includes all promises made by the sales person. If the promises are not in the contract do not sign the contract.
8. Study the contract carefully. Confirm information such as:
a. Installation price
b. Monthly price
c. Length of the contract (most contracts are for at least two years)
d. That any free or discount offers have been added
e. Cancellation time frame to cancel the contract. The Federal Trade Commission requires that at least three days be provided (www.ftc.gov, three day cooling off rule).
9. If you are planning on moving ask what happens with your contract, and get that information in writing from the sales person.
10. After your purchase, make sure you check the system routinely to be sure it is in working order.
11. If you are having problems with your alarm, make sure you document dates, times, who you talked with, who came out and what was fixed.
ONES FOR THE GIPPER
LATEST ADVANCE FEE LOAN SCAM:
Lending Hand Financial aka Trigo Lending of Canton, OH
Scam Lifts Address of Out of Business Financial Group
Lending Hand Financial aka Trigo Lending
4450 Belden Village St.
Canton, OH 44718
416-895-1859 (Scam Cell # in Toronto)
888-902-7771 or 877-211-3371 (Canada, too)
The Better Business Bureau Canton Region and Greater West Virginia recently received information regarding an advance fee loan scam posing as a local out-of-business company. Using the name of Lending Hand Financial and/or Trigo Lending, located at 4450 Belden Village St., Canton, OH 44718.
This address previously belonged to Lending Hand Financial who has since gone out of business and all mail has been returned by the post office. Loan consultants associated with the company are Rosanna Walters, Catherine Thomas, and Jennifer Moore. The phone number showing on victim's caller ID is 416-895-1859, a cell phone number located in Toronto, Ontario Canada. Additional phone numbers for the company include 888-902-7771 or 877-211-3371, which are also located in Canada.
Consumers state that they have been offered loans ranging from $1000 - $50,000 with the stipulation of sending an advance fee ranging between $685 - $1,387 in order to receive the loan.
Countrywide Financial Corp. Agrees to $600 Million Settlement in Response to Class-Action Suit Brought by New York Pension Funds
Healthy Online Services Has “Not So Healthy” BBB Rating
SCAM EMAIL POSES AS ATTORNEY GENERAL, ERIC HOLDER
Don’t believe this one…!
If you get this, don’t believe it. Delete it and forget about it…
----- Original Message -----
From: ERIC HOLDER
Sent: Tuesday, May 04, 2010 12:55 PM
Subject: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
441 4th Street NW, Suite 1145S
Washington, DC 20001
We have received instruction from the Police Department ,Home land Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) here in the United States of America to prosecute you over allegations of money laundering and terrorist ($10m usd) related activities to which there is over whelming evidence of your involvement.
Note a copy of this email have been forwarded to the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA POLICE/AUTHORITIES and will be ordered for your immediate arrest.
The need for your urgent prosecution arose from your inability to secure the mandatory Clearance Certificate from the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nigeria inspite of several opportunities given to you by the Police Department,Home land Security and FBI.
Inview of the indicting report submitted to the Police Department ,Home land Security and FBI by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Police Department ,Home land Security and FBI has recommended for your immediate prosecution.
You have to obtain the required Certificate from EFCC- DIRECTOR, DR. FRANK ALI.
CONTACT HIM ON THIS EMAIL ADDRESS : firstname.lastname@example.org and the Cost of the Certificate is $170.00 only We are giving you notice of service of writ of summons after seven days of receiving this letter by mail.
If after the seven days and you are not able to obtain the Certificate to clear yourself before the Police Department ,Home land Security and FBI, Legal prosecution will begin immediately.
Justice delayed is justice denied.
Tax Resolution Firm, Tax Masters of Houston, TX Charged with Unlawful Conduct, Misleading Customers