October 21, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - No one wants to take the blame for the housing bust in this political season, but scammers and rip-off artists in the hundreds are working overtime to siphon dollars out of the wreckage of the crash and its still-vulnerable victims. You've probably heard about the loan-modification predators who promise financially ailing homeowners that they'll prevent or forestall foreclosures - but are really after thousands of dollars in fees, for which they do nothing. Now the second-largest source of mortgage money in the country - Freddie Mac - is warning about a troubling wave of post-crash fraud: scammers who illegally rent out foreclosed and for-sale homes to unsuspecting consumers.
October 10, 2012 |
WASHINGTON --Since early 2010, a leading civil rights group has helped compile a database of approximately 26,000 complaints about mortgage modification scams -- attempts by fraudsters to take advantage of those hardest hit by the housing market meltdown. The people making those complaints have reported losses of $63 million to the National Loan Modification Scam Database. And the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which manages the database, has filed 10 civil suits in conjunction with other organizations to try to halt mortgage assistance operations in California and New York.
October 8, 2012 |
On Facebook today, I find sheepish postings from two friends after they yelled at callers who mispronounced their names. That mispronunciation, along with the ubiquitous "How are you today?" is the almost sure sign of another unwanted telemarketer. "We're a carpet cleaning business located in your town... " Really? Never heard of you. What was your address? "Well, not exactly in your town but we're going to be there next week.... " They're contractors or credit scams ("The credit security office has been unable to reach you via our previous attempts ... ")
October 7, 2012 |
Here is a roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for. Online pharmacy - A Canadian man, accused of conspiring to send counterfeit prescription drugs to U.S. patients, has pleaded guilty to a criminal charge in the United States. Andrew Strempler operated RxNorth.com, which sold discount prescription drugs through the Internet to customers in the United States. Strempler's company purported to send the drugs from a pharmacy in Canada but actually filled the orders at a facility in the Bahamas, using drugs obtained from suppliers throughout the world and labeling them with a Canadian address, U.S. officials alleged.
October 3, 2012 |
The Federal Trade Commission is teaming up with tech companies and regulatory agencies around the world to crack down on tech-support scams that may have already cost U.S. consumers tens of millions of dollars. In a tech-support scam, typically originating out of India, callers claiming to be with a trusted security company tell consumers that their computers may have been infected with a virus or malware. The callers then trick people into purchasing anti-virus software they don't need, which can often range in price from $49 to $450.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 2, 2012 |
Of all the scam artists to set foot in Los Angeles, one of the most notorious was A. Victor Segno, who duped thousands of people around the world into sending him $1 a month to belong to his Segno Success Club. In return, he promised to send out brain waves twice a day to help members achieve success. Some ideas never die. In fact, a century after he carried out his scheme, the beguiling con man still can hook people. Stamp expert Ed Grabowski, a retired chemist from New Jersey, is proof.
October 1, 2012
The mysterious man at the center of a sprawling, multimillion-dollar fraud case against a Navy veterans charity has been identified as a Harvard Law School graduate who had been missing and wanted since the 1980s. At a Monday news conference in Cleveland, U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott identified the real name of “Bobby Charles Thompson,” who ran the U.S. Navy Veterans Assn. and who went on the lam after the authorities opened an investigation into the charity in 2010. The man's real name, he said, is John Donald Cody, 65. Cody -- under his identity as Thompson -- has been in custody since April as authorities tried to figure out his true identity and as the case against him moved forward.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 30, 2012 |
Antonia Becerra, an 81-year-old Glendale resident, was close to retiring after more than 40 years as a waitress at the landmark French restaurant Taix in Los Angeles, but that all changed this year after she fell victim to a lottery scam that wiped out her life savings. Scam artists even conned Becerra into selling her car for the promise of getting a $2 million prize and a new Mercedes Benz, police say. "I sold the car and I sent them the money - I am still waiting for the package," Becerra said.
September 23, 2012 |
Here is a roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for. Online car sales - Two foreign nationals have pleaded guilty to running an Internet auto-sales scam that caused victims to lose more than $4 million. Corneliu Weikum, 38, a Romanian citizen who lives in Germany, and Yulia Mishina-Heffron, 24, of Russia, were accused of advertising cars for sale on popular websites such as Yahoo, EBay and AutoTrader, taking payment from victims and then never delivering the cars.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 19, 2012 |
Scam artists posing as students or stealing identities from other people illegally obtained more than $770,000 in financial aid and loans via California community colleges and online schools, federal prosecutors said Tuesday. Seventeen people have been indicted since August in six cases that involve 15 California campuses, including Santa Barbara City College, Bakersfield College, Antelope Valley College and San Diego City College, according to the U.S. attorney's office in Sacramento.