BBB Warns Some Banks May be Trying to Take Your Money Protect Yourself when Applying for New Credit Cards and Bank Accounts
RALEIGH, N.C. (February 19, 2008) - The Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Eastern North Carolina warns consumers to be weary of banks that offer to establish or clear debt through the purchase of new credit cards. Banks that instate payments after contracts are signed may be trying to take your money.
New Millennium Bank offers secured Visa and MasterCard credit cards for individuals wishing to establish or repair their credit. After paying $39, the consumer is asked to send between $300 and $5,000 to secure and establish the account. When consumers complain, the company refers to the signed agreement. Over 200 complaints have been filed against this NJ company, which has an unsatisfactory rating.
"Legitimate banks and credit card companies will not ask for money, unless fees are stated in the original contract," says Beverly Baskin, president and CEO of the BBB of Eastern N.C. "It is easy for scammers to target those with bad credit and those who have not established credit, as they are more likely to fall for schemes."
For more information on keeping yourself protected from credit fraud and choosing the right creditor, visit bbb.org.
About the BBB of Eastern North Carolina: The Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina is a 501 (c)(6) not-for-profit corporation serving 33 counties in Eastern North Carolina. The organization is funded primarily by membership dues from more than 3,200 local business and professional firms. The BBB promotes integrity, consumer confidence and business ethics through business self-regulation in the local marketplace. Services provided by the BBB include, reports on companies and charitable organizations, general monitoring of advertising in the marketplace, dispute resolution services, and consumer/business education programs. All services are provided at no cost to the public, with the occasional exception of mediation and arbitration. Visit bbb.org.
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CONSUMER ALERTS FOR FEBRUARY 2008
In an effort to keep the media and public informed, the Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina offers monthly BBB Consumer Alerts as potential story or interview ideas. Readers should take into consideration the importance of the practice in question and the total performance of a company. This list is current as of release date. Information regarding business or consumer topics reported here can be obtained through the BBB office by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
The overpayment scam is still going strong! It works like this. Consumers put something up for sale, usually online. The crook responds and offers to pay more than the asking price, but the consumer is asked to wire the difference to someone else, which is routed back to the crook. One consumer advertised a hutch online, but had doubts when a responder wanted to pay more than she was asking. She was right, and two students were arrested.
Clear Your Debt promises to negotiate settlements with creditors. They have also claimed to be a "Christian" organization, making consumers feel comfortable in turning over banking and credit information. A consumer paid $260 monthly for 6 months, and the company even instructed her to hang up on creditors. This Texas company has an unsatisfactory rating. Thanks to the Austin BBB for their investigation.
Canadian Health & Care Mall sells prescription drugs by e-mail. They give Louisiana and Canadian addresses, but they are not there. They claim to be a licensed pharmacy in LA, but they are not. They give names of doctors and universities with which they are affiliated. The BBB checked, and the claims are false. As tempting as the offer of cheaper drugs sounds, the BBB recommends that you use extreme caution before ordering drugs from a foreign country. Be sure to check out the drugs with your pharmacist or doctor and call the Bureau for a reliability report on the company. Thanks to the Louisiana BBB for their investigation.
G F Services has a pattern of complaints from consumers who are promised a government grant for a processing fee of $469. After waiting the requested twelve weeks to receive their grant, consumers are unable to reach the company by phone or fax, and e-mails receive no response. No consumer has reported actually receiving a grant through their services. This Florida company has the BBB's lowest rating.
G A Financial offers debt consolidation loans from $1,000 to $300,000. Customers complain they send an advance fee of $35 to the company, but never receive the promised loan. Some complainants reported receiving a package of papers with the names and addresses of other companies they could contact for a loan. Some simply receive nothing. The BBB advises against doing business with a company that charges an advance fee for obtaining or helping you obtain a loan. Any credit services organization (a term that includes advance-fee loan companies) who charges an advance fee for such services is in violation of the law. This California company has the BBB's lowest rating.
New Millennium Bank offers secured Visa and MasterCard credit cards for individuals wishing to establish or repair their credit. After paying $39, the consumer is asked to send between $300 and $5,000 to secure the account. When consumers complain, the company simply refers to the signed agreement. Over 200 complaints have been filed against this NJ company, which has an unsatisfactory rating.
Another e-mail scam is stating, "It is by the grace of God that I write you." "Rita Harry," the sender, goes on to say that her husband worked for Texaco for 20 years, depositing 8.5 million pounds in a "Financial House" in Europe. He died in 2003, and Rita is in a Russian hospital with cancer. Consumers who respond are asked for bank account info so money can be deposited in their account, allowing the consumer to "fund churches, orphanages and widows. Warning: once the account info is given, "Rita" wipes you out!