BBB TWICE A MONTH TIPS YOU CAN TRUST
Compiled by Zan Deery, Communications/Investigations
For the Week of 10/18/10
800-356-1007 or 509-455-4200
Readers of these tips should take into consideration the importance of the practice in question and the total performance of a company.
For complete information and BBB reports, please visit www.bbb.org
TIP NUMBER ONE
732-941-0195 Bugging People with Cold Calls Regarding a
“National Auto Do Not Call Registry”
This number came onto your regional BBB’s radar late last week, and we are here to guide you about what to do if you receive harassing and constant calls from cold calling reps who won’t take no for an answer. At the following link, you will find some subjective posts regarding this number and how people are being treated by the company behind this number:
This BBB received a call from a local woman last week who stated that she was being harassed by someone at that #. BBB has no info connected to this number or name for the group at www.bbb.org.
When BBB looked up the number for this group online, it came upon subjective posts where other people are complaining about the same experience as the woman who contacted BBB.
BBB is attempting to ascertain whether this is possibly an auto extended warranty group that has already been taken to court by regulators because of their deceptive sales tactics, and is attempting to fall off anybody’s radar. As you can see in the several posts regarding them, they attempt to tell you what type of car you have, and then try to get you to sign up for something.
After doing a bit of research that didn’t lead to much, the BBB actually received a call from this group asking for our BBB president. They were transferred into her voicemail, and nobody ever left a message.
So, BBB decided to call this group to see what it would get.
When BBB called that number two separate times, one of two things happened: Upon first attempt, we received ONLY a recorded message stating, “You have reached the National Auto Do Not Call Registry. If you wish to be on this list, please leave your number here…” Upon second attempt, there was clearly someone on the other end who had answered, but they allowed the call to be “dead air,” meaning, nobody ever took the call or responded to it when they picked it up. Clearly, this group is playing games with many people, including the BBB.
If anybody continues to call you when you have told them to: 1) stop calling, 2) take you off their list, or if you are on the Do Not Call List, but continue receiving calls like this, report them ASAP to the Federal Communications Commission at: www.fcc.gov along with your state Utilities Commission for address, and accountability.
If this BBB’s hunch about what this call may entail (that it is an extended warranty group), be in the know that many complaints for this industry deal with deceptive advertising and high-pressure sales tactics. Unhappy customers say they could not cancel and get a refund as the salesperson promised on the phone. Also, for possible misrepresentation of a “national do not call registry sign up,” we would also encourage you to file a formal complaint with the FTC at: www.ftc.gov
TIP NUMBER TWO
1X2 PHP aka PEOPLE TO PEOPLE Using Web Site of
HTTP://WWW.WEPAYDAILYNOW.COM Sends Spam to People with Too Good to be True” Work from Home Opportunity
The email comes from firstname.lastname@example.org and has the name Willie Burke of Edison, NJ displayed in the email. The email states that one can “call for more info” however, there is no number given in the email, and no number on the web site, either. The only way to contact this group is to email them using a form online or to directly respond to the spam email.
When BBB looked up the web site registrant for this group, it came up as Willie Burke, of Edison, NJ. When BBB looked up the address Burke used to register the web site, the address is associated with various interesting and unrelated locations, one a church organization, and the other, a debt negotiation group named DW Scott, which has an F rating with the AZ BBB. Here is the email BBB received in its INBOX:
AT LAST – Real Money – Real Quick!
“BRAND NEW” Grab this pronto!
Lightening Fast Cash!
Receive a daily stream of 110 dollar payments!
That’s 770 dollars a week per matrix position!
You can have as many matrix positions as you want!
Our revolutionary 2x1 perpetual follow-me matrix generates a daily stream of $110 payments to you.
• Fast and Easy
• One Time Out of Pocket
• NO Monthly Fees
• NO Selling Required
• NO Phone Calls Required
• International Opportunity
• Automated Internet System
• Team Build – NO Sponsoring Required
• 2x1 Follow Me Matrix (Sponsor 2 and You Cycle)
• Pays $110 Daily Per Cycle Per Position
• You can have as many matrix positions as you want!
For Detailed Information:
HTTP://WWW.WEPAYDAILYNOW.COM Give me a call if I can help you.
Willie R Burke
2 People = BIG MONEY!
To unsubscribe from future mailings reply with “REMOVE” in the subject line.
This program model requires you to get two other people to buy into the program. There is a one-time non-refundable fee of $75—not cheap. What is it for? Ask them. BBB warns people to be wary of any business opportunity that requires you to gain people to buy into a program because it may be a pyramid scheme you are engaging in, where only the people at the top ever make the money promised in pitches or ads.
Before agreeing to any such opportunity, make certain you know exactly who you are working with, ask for a viable address for the company, and ask whatever questions you have before saying yes or agreeing to the model. Most importantly, do not believe too good to be true pitches regarding work from home opportunities. BBBs experience is that over 95% of work at home opportunities are NOT legitimate. Do your homework, and safeguard your personal information, as well as your computer. Realize that in setting yourself up for such opportunities, these types of opps sometimes require you to sign up with various membership groups, sign on to receive emails and forwards from affiliates and partners, etc.
TIP NUMBER THREE
BBB Issues F Rating to Kingdom Swords of TX, Retailer of Replica Swords
Thx to Austin BBB for this Warning
As Halloween costume season is driving demand for online retailers, BBB has issued an F rating to Kingdom Swords for failing to respond to 61 recent consumer disputes. Kingdom Swords is a San Antonio-based retailer that sells replica swords and other weaponry (modeled after items in movies, TV, and video games) to consumers nationwide through its website, www.swblades.com.
FULL WARNING HERE: http://spokane.bbb.org/article/bbb-issues-f-rating-to-online-retailer-of-replica-swords-22849
A FEDERAL BREAK IN THE “BBB TIP” ACTION
FBI SEARCHES THREE NV COMPANIES SUSPECTED TELEMARKETING FRAUD AGAINST BUSINESSES
…one of which is SBA Consulting Services, Inc. of Las Vegas, NV with the following BBB review: http://www.vegasbbb.org/rptrel.asp?bbbid=80724
FULL STORY HERE:
S.E.C. WARNS ABOUT B.P. CLAIM SCAMS
FULL STORY HERE:
TIP NUMBER FOUR
EFTPS IRS PHISHING SCAM TARGETS INBOXES AGAIN:
Says “Your Federal Tax Payment has been rejected” Don’t Believe it! Don’t Click on Links!
This scam was reported to the IRS in August, 2010. It seems to be currently re-circulating because one of our BBB staffers received one. Here’s what it looks like:
Your Federal Tax Payment ID: 0103759 has been rejected.
Please, check the information and refer to Code R21 to get details about your company payment in transaction contacts section:
XXXXXX (untrustworthy link here removed by BBB for safety—Do NOT click on this link and fill out any forms or provide such an email with ANY personal info. The pages are not real, and any info you share can be potentially compromised.)
Return Reason Code R21 - The identification number used in the Company Identification Field is not valid. In other way forward information to your accountant adviser.
The Electronic Federal Tax Payment System________________________________________WARNING!
You are using an Official United States Government System, which may be used only for authorized purposes. Unauthorized modification of any information stored on this system may result in criminal prosecution. The Government may monitor and audit the usage of this system, and all persons are hereby notified that the use of this system constitutes consent to such monitoring and auditing. Unauthorized attempts to upload information and/or change information on this web site are strictly prohibited and are subject to prosecution under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 and Title 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1001 and 1030.
SMALLL BUSINESS TIPS: TRENDS
5 TRENDS THAT WILL SHAPE SMALL BUSINESS IN 2011
SPOKANE BUSINESSES: SPOKANE S.C.O.R.E.
Upcoming Workshop Info & How to Register
By computer: Go to SCORE’s website www.ScoreSpokane.org
or e-mail workshop info requests to info@ScoreSpokane.org
By phone: Call SCORE at 353-2821
on Mon or Wed from 7:30am-noon
TIP NUMBER FIVE
BBB WARNS OF GLOBAL ACE USA of TX
Work from Home Opp Scheme Advertises on Craigslist, Requires Wire of Upfront Fee
Misusing Legit TX Address to Purport Scam
6010 82nd Street
Lubbock, TX 79424
GLOBAL ACE PERSONNEL SERVICES LTD.
120, the Wicker
Sheffield, UK S3 8JD
BBB had several inquiries about this company advertising for employees on CraigsList. One caller to BBB indicates this company conducts interviews by "instant messenger" and requires a $415 upfront fee via wire or check.
BBB ADVISES EXTREME CAUTION. NEVER PAY OR WIRE AN UPFRONT FEE TO SOMEONE TO HIRE YOU!
FULL STORY HERE: http://spokane.bbb.org/article/bbb-warns-of-global-ace-usa-of-tx-22804
GREEN TIP FROM BBB
Clues That Green Marketing Might Be Green Washing
“Green marketing” is booming. All kinds of products are labeled or advertised with claims that the products are environmentally friendly. But which claims are truthful? Concerns are growing that some green marketing is just “green washing”.
“In recent years, businesses have increasingly used ‘green’ marketing to capture consumers’ attention and move Americans toward a more environmentally friendly future. But what companies think green claims mean and what consumers really understand are sometimes two different things,” says the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
One environmental marketing business defines green washing as “the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service.” The marketing business goes on to list what it calls the “Seven Sins of Green Washing”:
The Hidden Trade-Off – Focusing narrowly on one desirable attribute of a product without regard to other important issues.
No Proof – Making a claim without adequate substantiation or certification from a reliable third party.
Vagueness – Using a poorly defined or broad claim that consumers can easily misunderstand.
False Labels – Giving the impression of third-party endorsement where none exists.
Irrelevance – Stating a truthful claim that’s unimportant or unhelpful in finding environmentally friendly products.
Lesser of Two Evils – Using a true claim about a product category at the risk of distracting from the environmental impact as a whole.
Fibbing – Making a claim that’s simply false.
Green washing is coming under more scrutiny. The FTC is reviewing its Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims, also known as the Green Guides. For tips from the FTC on sorting out ‘green’ advertising claims, see: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/general/gen02.shtm
To report misleading advertising to your local BBB, start at www.bbb.org
INFORMATIVE TWEETS FROM LAST WEEK!
Websites Unseat Word of Mouth as Preferred Method of Hearing Product Reviews, Says New Study: How Women Get and Spread Word on Products and Services Tied to Life Stage and Product Category
A new study has found women are using a combination of off- and online forms of word-of-mouth to seek and spread the word on products and services, however their approach changes significantly depending on their lifestage and the type of product involved. The study of 2,000 women, conducted by Harbinger with Ipsos, found that websites (70%) have now surpassed traditional forms of word-of-mouth (58%) as their preferred method for getting the word about products and services. However, when it comes to sharing information or opinions, women are still nearly three times more likely to do so with family and friends than to go online. Full article here: http://tinyurl.com/2ejx9gt
If You've Got The Look, Look Out! Avoiding Modeling Scams @ftc.gov http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/products/pro23.shtm
E-Mail Scam Seeking Money Threatens Physical Harm RESURFACES
ADVICE ON AVOIDING TEACHING JOBS ABROAD
By Michael G. Hines, Founder of Icon Group Thailand (IGT) – Educating the Future
We just thought this was very HIP advice! Thanks, Michael!
SENIOR ALERT FROM BBB
SENIORS ON MEDS: BEWARE OF SCAM CALLS REPORTED IN GEORGIA, MAY BE TRIED HERE…
In the phone scam, the caller claims to be from Blue Cross/Blue Shield and goes like this:
The caller asks (the person being called) about their pain medication and any other medications they’re getting. Then they tell the victim that if they give them their insurance number, they’ll send them a $25 gift card to help pay for prescriptions. In this case, the victim called Blue Cross/Blue Shield prior to saying yes and was told they are not offering any such program and that this was just another scam.
ACTIONS AND ORDERS
Spice Drug Alert to Idahoans from Governor’s Office
via release from Post Falls Police
The Post Falls Police Department would like to alert the public about a recent announcement made by Idaho Gov. Butch Otter. The governor has announced that on Friday, October 15, 2010, he will sign a temporary rule into law banning "Spice", a synthetic form of marijuana. Upon his signature, Spice will be considered a controlled substance in the State of Idaho. Multiple other states are taking similar measures.
Spice, marketed under the names K2, Posh, Bliss & Stone and Genie, are herbs coated with a synthetic chemical that mimics a marijuana high when smoked. Spice has recently become a serious health concern due to a rise in emergency room visits by persons under the influence of the substance. Spice can cause hallucinations, dangerously high blood pressure, increased heart rate, agitation, and numbness in the body.
We ask that retailers of this substance remove this product from their shelves by October 15, 2010. Our goal is to gain voluntary compliance as soon as possible. Retailers can bring the substance to the Post Falls Police Department and turn it in free of charge through our "Drug Turn In" program. Retailers and the public are encouraged to call Det. Neil Uhrig at 208-773-5672 for further information.
WA Attorney General and WA Dept. of Financial Institutions join Multi-State Investigation into Mortgage Servicers
October 13, 2010 SEATTLE – Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna and Scott Jarvis, director of the state Department of Financial Institutions, announced that they have joined attorneys general and banking regulators nationwide in forming a multistate group to investigate whether mortgage servicers have improperly submitted affidavits or other documents related to foreclosures in their states.
McKenna said the Washington Attorney General’s Office will serve on the executive committee of the multistate group, while simultaneously pursuing its own investigation that began in May. Members of the multistate group include attorneys general of 49 states and mortgage regulators in 30 states. They issued a joint statement today through the National Association of Attorney General in which they voiced their shared concerns over reports that a number of mortgage loan servicers have submitted affidavits or signed other documents in support of foreclosures that appear to have procedural defects.
FULL RELEASE HERE: http://www.atg.wa.gov/pressrelease.aspx?id=26630
Montana Commission of Securities and Insurance and ACN Resolve Allegations
Both Parties announce their resolution of an action alleging that the company was operating in violation of the Montana Securities Act
Media Contact: Jackie Boyle, 406-444-3152, email@example.com
Consumer Contact: CSI Consumer Hotline 1-800-332-6148
ACN Media Contact: Katie Mapel, 704-260-3491, firstname.lastname@example.org
October 8, 2010---The Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance and ACN, Inc., a direct seller of telecommunications services, announced their resolution of an action alleging that the company was operating in violation of the Montana Securities Act.
Earlier this year, the Commissioner's Office filed an action alleging that the company was in violation of the code that regulates multi-level distribution companies in Montana. In the course of the Commissioner's Office's investigation, the Commissioner determined that the actions giving rise to the Commissioner's concerns were not part of the ACN business model, but were taking place by ACN's independent representatives working in Montana.
In a joint effort to protect Montana citizens, the Commissioner and ACN greed that ACN will implement additional training with its independent representatives, to assist them in better understanding their responsibilities as ACN independent representatives. ACN will also contact its Montana video phone customers to assist them with installation of their service and continued technical assistance.
Both the Commissioner and ACN are pleased with this positive outcome, and the Commissioner's efforts to protect Montana residents.
IDAHO ATTORNEY GENERAL
Credexx Corporation of CA Barred from Idaho
October 12, 2010 (Boise) - A CA vehicle service contract seller is permanently banned from doing business in Idaho. Credexx Corporation of Irvine, California, and its owner, David Tabb, are permanently prohibited from telemarketing into Idaho or doing business with Idaho consumers. From approximately 2005 to 2009, Credexx sold vehicle service contracts in Idaho under the name Auto One Warranty Specialists.
The settlement is the result of a consumer protection lawsuit the ID Attorney General filed against Credexx Corporation earlier this year.
The Attorney General alleged that Credexx misrepresented the material terms and conditions of the vehicle service contracts it sold and that Credexx mailed postcards to Idaho consumers misrepresenting that consumers’ vehicle warranties were expired or were about to expire. Allegedly, Credexx also telemarketed into Idaho without first registering with the Attorney General and telephone solicited consumers whose telephone numbers were listed on the National Do-Not-Call Registry.
Consumers who attempted to obtain refunds from Credexx reported to the Attorney General and to the Better Business Bureau that Credexx failed to refund consumers’ payments promptly.
Credexx agreed to a judgment in the amount of $88,000, of which $10,000 constitutes consumer restitution, $75,000 constitutes civil penalties, and $3,000 constitutes attorney’s fees and expenses.
CREDEXX BBB BUSINESS REVIEW
WASHINGTON STATE INSURANCE COMMISSION
Cease-and-desist order issued against Capital HomeShield
October 13, 2010---Washington State Insurance Commissoiner Mike Kreidler has issued a cease-and-desist order against a Florida-based home warranty company doing business as Capital Home Shield.
The North Miami Beach company -- which was not registered as a service contract provider or insurer in Washington state -- nonetheless sold a contract to a Washington homeowner. He complained to us after he had difficulty getting them to pay for a repair to his stove. The company subsequently paid the claim.
Under the contract, Capital Home Shield, which is a doing-business-as name of MN Home Warranty Corp., promised to pay to repair or replace major systems and appliances that broke.
Kreidler ordered the company to to stop selling unauthorized contracts in Washington and to turn over a list of all its Washington clients, as well as reporting all premiums they've paid so far.
According to the Better Business Bureau, the company has an "F" rating for repeatedly failing to respond to complaints.
WASHINGTON STATE SECURITIES DIVISION (DFI)
S-09-163-10-CO01 - Consent Order
On September 29 , 2010, the Securities Division entered into a Consent Order, S-09-163-10-CO01, with Nathan Hoerschelmann. Previously, on May 21, 2010, the Securities Division entered a Statement of Charges, S-09-163-10-SC01, against NDG Investment Group, LLC (NDG), Mr. Hoerschelmann and others (collectively the Respondents). The Statement of Charges alleged that the Respondents sold investments in the form of partnership agreements, limited liability company interests and promissory notes for the purpose of constructing residential and commercial real estate developments in Lima, Peru. The Statement of Charges alleged that the Respondents raised over $15,000,000 from over 100 investors from 2006 to 2009. The Statement of Charges alleged that Respondents offered unregistered securities, acted as unregistered broker-dealers or securities salespersons, and violated the anti-fraud provisions of the Securities Act of Washington. In settling the matter, Mr. Hoerschelmann, a former NDG employee, agreed, without admitting or denying the findings of fact, to cease and desist from violating the Securities Act of Washington. Mr. Hoerschelmann waived his rights to a hearing or other further proceedings in the matter.
Richard Cano, Bruce Trengove, Northrim Siding & Window LLC,
S-06-214-10-SC01 – Statement of Charges
On September 8, 2010, the Securities Division entered a Statement of Charges and Notice of Intent to Enter an Order to Cease and Desist, Impose Fines, and Recover Costs (“Statement of Charges”) against Richard Cano, Bruce Trengove, and Northrim Siding & Window LLC (collectively “Respondents”). The Statement of Charges alleges that Respondent Cano offered and sold at least $461,000 in investments, including investments in an advance fee scheme and investments in Northrim Siding & Window LLC, to at least 9 Washington residents; and that Respondent Trengove offered and sold $100,000 in investments in Northrim Siding & Window LLC to a Washington resident. The Statement of Charges alleges that Respondents offered unregistered securities, acted as unregistered broker-dealers or securities salespersons, and violated the anti-fraud provisions of the Securities Act of Washington. The Securities Division intends to order Respondents to cease and desist from violating the Securities Act of Washington, and gave notice of its intent to collect fines and recover costs. Respondents have a right to request a hearing on the Statement of Charges.
BBB Business Review for Northrim
CFTC Charges Ohioans Kevin and Keelan Harris, Complete Developments LLC, Investment International Inc. and Three Ontario, Canada-based Defendants with Operating a Multi-Million Dollar Foreign Currency Ponzi Scheme