Let’s do more to fight fraud

October 8 2009 by Ellen Roseman

I can’t remember a time when fraud was so widespread. Maybe it’s because the Internet has opened up such a fertile field for spammers and scammers. Maybe it’s because older people are living longer and lack the streetproofing skills to fight off phony sales pitches.

There’s one company, based in Melbourne, Florida, that targets Canadians and calls them promising to help lower their credit card rates. They do what you can do easily for yourself and they charge a bundle for it.

You can find online complaints at Ripoff Report and Complaints Board and Who Calls Me? (This last site is quite neat.)

I really started to feel the pain when I heard from James, who got caught to the tune of more than $800. Here’s his story.

I was approached by a company called World Class Savings to fix and adjust my credit card rates. These people spoke in a manner that they were doing more of a public service and were addressing the overcharges and excessive rates by the credit card companies.

The asked for (and asked repetitively) for my credit card numbers to demonstrate the need to act on such a service. I steadfastly refused to do so until the lady effectively led the conversation into a more personal area and convinced me that she was a private investigator and had been very ethical in business and so on.

In the course of the conversation, I reluctantly gave in and I accepted the sales pitch to participate in her demonstrating their services. Well, all seemed fine but my nagging conscience said beware.

So I said to the lady I do not want to participate in their program and wish to cut all activity with them. I stated that in Canada there is a 10 day cooling off period that is law and I am exercising my right to terminate all business with them.

At first, she said it was too late. The transaction had gone through on my BMO MasterCard and they could not reverse the process. I firmly stated the law here in Ontario Canada is firm on this matter and that I would go to the American federal authorities if this matter was not resolved.

They agreed to give me all but the $100 (U.S.) of service charges by the bank. But they have not done so and I am out at this point over $850 (Canadian) for the lesson.

Question: What else can I do because this agency of crooks is targeting older people like me?

I would appreciate your help with BMO, which seemed to brush me off when I complained in July 2009, saying I was at fault and no perpetration of a crime was evident.

By the way, Ellen, I have submitted a full complaint to the Better Business Bureau of Melbourne, Florida, as well as with Federal Trade Commission for possible mail and interstate fraud, and soliciting asnd selling through misrepresentation and theft.

I asked BMO MasterCard to reverse the charges under their zero liability guarantee. (Shouldn’t this have happened already?) Still waiting for a response.

Meanwhile, I want to point to a CBC News experiment that showed how easy is it to call credit card companies and get your rates lowered (as long as you have a decent credit history).

Do you have stories about frauds affecting you and your loved ones? Please send examples and suggestions for reform.

11 comments

  1. Ivan

    Oct 9 2009

    Biggest way to prevent fraud is to stay away from Bell. They will rob you blind, even when you’re dead.

    I’m currently going over my deceased grandfather’s accounts and have found numerous charges on his cell phone, charges that are highly suspect. Texting and a whole slew of features on a phone that doesn’t support it.

    And the big smoking gun? He’s been blind for almost 15 years and has had Alzheimer’s for most of those years.

    My parents can’t make heads or tails of what Bell’s telling them and have asked me to help them with this. I hope Bell does what’s right or it’ll be the media, and we all know how Bell loves that kind of press.

    “By hook or by crook” — is that their unspoken motto?

  2. Cynthia

    Oct 11 2009

    This scam has been going on forever and a day. It’s not recent, but maybe those who are just getting the calls are on a sucker list.

    I never answer a call from a block call, unknown caller, or a # I don’t recognize. Their systems often leave messages halfway through the spiel, as it starts as soon as it hears a voice.

    I’m on the DNCL, and so far, the calls have pretty much dropped to zero. I’d like to keep it that way.

    Nobody but your own issuing credit card company can reduce your rate.

  3. BS

    Nov 3 2009

    I did something foolish recently and am paying for it. This time I know that help is not possible, but thought I would share my experience with you for others to learn from.

    While surfing the internet last Sunday evening, I came across a coupon that promised to reduce the cost of a 14-day trial for a product that offered to whiten one’s teeth. The company has gone by many names, I have since found out, but this time they called themselves Dazzlesmile.

    Foolishly, I thought that for under a few dollars I would give it a try. What could go wrong?

    Well, as soon as they had my credit card information, the price jumped to $11.90. Then when I called the next day to complain and cancel, I was told that even though they had not shipped the product yet they would not cancel.

    When I got the product, and if I sent it back, they would not continue to charge me $87 per month.

    The crazy part is that this is not necessarily fraud, according to the law. It may feel like fraud but the company knows what it is doing.

    Somewhere, where most people, including me, would not see it, perhaps one has to scroll down, the fine print lists all the charges.

    This means they can do this legally because you have agreed – even though you have never read it. What you do see is a receipt for under $2, until you give them your credit card. Then it changes, magically, to $11.90.

    Only when I cancelled did I find out they planned to make further charges of $87 per month.

    Mastercard informed me that they could not do anything about the first charge before I called the company and cancelled. They advised me to send the product back by registered mail.

    They cannot stop the company from charging me in the future but will dispute the charges and possibly fine the company if they continue to charge me after I cancelled and sent the product back.

    I have learned my lesson. Impulse shopping on the web can be costly in both money and in time.

  4. Pam

    Nov 24 2009

    And they don’t pay their bills either – they left our company with a $5,257.70 tab of unpaid bills. They promise to help you with your finances, but can’t manage their own! Sounds like they take the money and run.

    Changed their name to JPM Accelerated, 810 N. Apollo Blvd., Melbourne, FL 32935.

  5. Linda

    Dec 23 2009

    For Canadians looking for a refund of their money from JPM — and other names like IXE, world class savings, world class services — they might have go to http://www.ftc.org/gov. The Federal Trade Commission can help you to get your money back.

    The company has been shut down, all money in the banks has been frozen and a receiver has been assigned to the case.

    Itt’s about time he (Paul) got caught cheating the people in Canada. I hope they bury him.

    You can also go to Google, type in JPM Accelrated Services in Melbourne, Florida, and you can see the court papers that were filed, what they did and what you can do to get your money back.

    Good luck to you Canadians and I’m so sorry that someone from the United States did this to ya’ll. It really makes the good people of the United States look bad.