Allconnect Consumer Scam Advisory
As part of the Allconenct promise to bring you the best prices on your home services, Allconnect feels we should also make you aware of any potential scams targeting consumers in the home services markets. We'll focus on any potential scam in the cable TV, satellite, Internet, energy or other home services industries.
If you've got a lead or know of a scam that Allconnect should research, please don't hesitate to drop us an email (ScamAdvisory@allconnect.com). While we're not a law engorcement agency, we do take your trust seriously and we want to pass along any factually confirmed scams or fraudulent activity that could harm you, your family or your home.
Allconnect Consumer Scam Watch List
|Industry or Method||Reported Scam|
|Free Phone Service Scam|
Free Phone Service Scam - Recent news out of Arkansas claims Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has issued a consumer alert regarding a free phone service scam. According to a story on ArkansasMatters.com of KARK 4 News, the Attorney General warns residents of Arkansas to ignore direct mail advertisements offering free local phone and long distance services. He claims the offer is a consumer scam that will actually incur fees and charges for any unfortunate consumer who uses the service.
The article does point out that the Attorney General reminded residents of the lower priced phone services available to low income residents of the state. The low income relief is actually a federal program that comes in the form of Lifeline Assistance and Link-up America.
You can find out more about Lifeline Assistance and Link-up America by visiting the Universal Service Administrative Company website.
|Rental Scam|| |
Rental Scam - The popularity of Craigslist and other classified ad sites has had some unfortunate and unwanted side effects - scams. Sadly, as more people used the sites they became more attractive to scam artists, thieves and other undesirables. That doesn't make them any less effective for buying and selling everyday items, not at all. It simply means you need to be careful, more aware. Here's an example:
On Januray 18, 2011 in Colorado Springs, Bea Karnes of News First 5 reported a rental scam perpetrated on Craigslist. The property manager received a call reporting the arrival of his new tennants. The problem was he didn't have new tennants. After arriving on scene to figure out why people were moving into his rental property without ever renting the property, the property manager heard the scam.
These people had rented the property from a Craigslist rental posting. The imposter property manager claimed he was away on mission work, so the new tennants should wire the money abroad. Fortunately, this scam has a happy ending. The victims retrieved their money and the property manager let them stay in the house until they found a new rental. Next time, you may not be as lucky, so take some precautions when renting through classified ads and sites.
|Rogue Movers|| |
Rogue Movers - We've come across another alarming moving scam. Apprently, the moving industry is aware of, and trying to deal with, a small group of un related marauders known as "rogue movers". This particular moving scam is all but a basic form of piracy.
According to a story we picked up from The Consumerist, rogue movers quote you a great price up front, typically over the Internet. Then, they pack up your belongings and refuse to release them until you pay the new price, a price that is often more than double the agreed upon quote. Feeling helpless, many movers feel obligated to pay.
However, after researching further, we've put together some suggestions on how to avoid these rogue movers.
|Moving Scams|| |
Moving Scams - Packing up all of your possessions is a chaotic and all too stressful time for most of us. That may be the very reason the crooks have targeted the moving industry. It's easier, albeit dispicable, to take advantage of people when they're at their most vulnerable. Our goal here is to help you try to avoid falling victim to scams like these.
The bottom line is simple, do your homework. It's up to you to make sure you hire the right moving company, so get a few different quotes and research each company before you sign anything. You can read a good history of how moving scams became so prevalent on Internet Scambusters. They also give some solid advice for how to prevent falling victim to moving scams in the first place.
Regardless, before you commit to any one moving company, consider all your options. It's not always feasible, especially cross country, but renting a truck and grabbing a few friends is almost always an option. The plus side is knowing everyone involved. There are several companies offering moving containers. They dropp off the container. You pack it and lock it. They pick it up and drop it off at your destinaion. It's less traditional, but equally effective as long as you don't mind doing the leg work.
If you do decide to use a moving company, Internet ScamBusters offers several great tips to consider.
|ATM Skimming|| |
ATM Skimming Scam - It's likely you've never seen an ATM skimming device and that's the idea. The thieves perpetrating the scam want you to believe there is nothing wrong with the ATM you're using and their deception is usually pretty good. You walk up and use the ATM as you normally would. Without the slightest hint, the thieves use the ATM to grab your card number and PIN and you all but gave it to them. Here's how it works.
According to the Better Business Bureau, ATM Skimming scams steal close to $1 billion a year from unsuspecting consumers. In order to run such a successful scam, the theives add a skimming device to the existing card slot on the ATM. They build the card reader to seemlessly blend in with the ATM, so you willingly slide in your card and hand over your personal information without thinking twice. If nothing looks out of place, you shouldn't think anything's wrong, right? The same can happen with credit card slots on gas station pre pay pumps. Again, it's almost impossible to tell if it's been tampered with. So what can you do?
The Better Business Bureau suggests the following steps to try and avoid the scam in the first place:
|Homeowner/Mortgage Fraud|| |
Loan Modification Scams - According to the Lawyers' Committe for Civil Rights Under Law, loan moadification scams take advantage oif an otherwise free service. Praying on "disressed homeowners", the scammers charge upfront fees to help homeowners avoid foreclosure. In reality, the scammers actually do nothing to help or even inflict more damage by stealing mortgage payments.
The Lawyers' Committe for Civil Rights Under Law is attempting to educate consumers before the damage is done by letting you know that loan modification assisitance should be a FREE service. Avoid scams by avoiding any company charging upfront fees for assistance. Better yet, make sure the company is a HUD Approved Housing Counseling Agency.