Here is a roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for.
Campaign contributions — As November draws closer, campaign-related telephone calls are sure to increase. Some thieves are using the opportunity to scam those with an interest in politics, the Better Business Bureau said in a recent consumer alert. Several people have contacted the BBB to report that they have received suspicious calls from people who said they were raising money for political campaigns. People interested in making donations should visit candidates’ official websites, which will include links to safely contribute, the BBB said.
Gift cards — People across the United States have reported receiving emails informing them that they had won free $1,000 gift cards from the Better Business Bureau. The BBB said it was not issuing the gift cards and the emails are fraudulent. The emails include a link that asks for personal information such as names, ages, addresses and telephone numbers, the BBB said. It is all part of “an unscrupulous way to collect consumer data,” which can be sold or used in marketing campaigns, the BBB said.
Mortgage assistance — A federal judge has frozen the assets of a company operating from the Dominican Republic that the Federal Trade Commission said defrauded Spanish-speaking U.S. homeowners of more than $2 million. The FTC had alleged in a lawsuit that David Preiner operated several companies, including Freedom Companies Marketing Inc. and Grupo Marketing Dominica, used in the scheme. Preiner’s employees called Spanish-speaking homeowners in the United States and offered to help them modify home loans to lower their monthly payments for a one-time fee of between $995 and $1,500. Once the companies received payment, they did not follow through with the loan modifications, the FTC said. Homeowners should refrain from making such payments upfront and instead should only pay for loan modification services after banks have agreed to lower payments, the FTC said.
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