I’ve received much feedback from other watchdogs out there sharing their scam stories. I wanted to post a few of them here and let people know of a few Web sites where they can check out scams, frauds and other tricks:
Mark from Oklahoma City shared this scheme with me. Hopefully this info will help others not fall for the same swindle:
I was trying to sell my daughter’s 1995 Thunderbird through a free car listing on Craigslist. The price of the car was $2000. Within a few hours, I was getting proposals from people that were stating they were interested in buying the car and would pay excess funds if I would take checks to the bank, keep $2000 and then Western Union the balance to them. Sometimes the balance was $3-5,000 over the price of the car.
After a few weeks of constant emails back and forth, these scammers quit when I told them I had contacted a special unit at the FBI and they were looking into it. I did in fact call the FBI, but they said unless it was a very large amount they were not interested and referred me to the Oklahoma Attorney General.
Another gentleman also shared a similar scam he encountered on Craigslist. Seems like the schemers love the Internet and it’s anonymity:
I advertised a group of Angus bulls on Craigslist. Got an inquiry from jameslee on the bulls. He purchased a bull for $2000 and sent a check for $4000 by FedEx. Before receiving the check, I got an e-mail saying the check was written for the wrong amount by his accountant. He requested that the check to be cashed and wire $2000 back to him through Western Union I received several e-mails and phone calls from him about the $2000. The check was written by Country Wide Homes on a Citibank account and was no good. Of course, I never sent him $2000. Also received two more checks in the amounts of $2000 each. One from Basset Furniture and the other from a company in California.
Like Kathy King said in this story, many of the scammers are crossing their fingers that someone won’t have the moxie to research whether their spiel is a ploy. So let information be your protection!
The Oklahoman’s Watchdog Team: Looking out for you. Visit NewsOK.com/watchdog.
Smartmoney.com reports that more and more creditors are finding a way to snatch money out of the hands of unsuspecting cardholders by lowering their credit limits with no notice.
Worst of all, it’s legal for now.
Some cardholders are reporting that companies are slashing their credit limits, leaving them with over-limit fees, frozen accounts and higher interest rates.
Read the full story here.
Some Maytag customers are even more irked following Tuesday’s recall of nearly 2 million refrigerators. As if finding out their fridge might ignite isn’t enough stress.
Customers calling the company’s published recall telephone number reported hold times of over 45 minutes. I decided to look into their complaints and figure out an alternative option for them.
I jumped on their Web site and immediatley encountered a system error that made me unable to glean any more information off of their site. An error message prompted me to call the recall hotline at Maytag.
I called the number and after listening to over 45 minutes of terrible hold music, a customer service agent answered the phone. She told me she couldn’t help because she used the same Web system to direct callers on how to proceed with their faulty fridges. She was seeing the same error message I did.
The customer service agent gave me a number to Maytag specialists and transferred my call. I waited on hold again for over 40 minutes. At this point, my ear had been stuck to the phone for over an hour and a half.
After calling customer service again and bothering their communcications department, the company finally asked everyone to try the number and Web site again. Apparently they are ready for the recall now:
Due to significantly higher than expected call volumes, we experienced system outages yesterday and today. This reduced the ability for customers to self-schedule our interactive voice response and Web tools. The Maytag recall team has been responding to the outages by increasing system capacity and adding additional live call agents. We sincerely regret any inconvenience these issues may have caused consumers. Consumers can contact the recall hotline again today (Wednesday) at (866) 533-9817 or visit the Web site at www.repair.maytag.com. Jill Saletta, director, external communications, Whirpool Corp.
Newton, Iowa-based Maytag and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced the voluntary recall because of reports that an electrical component that regulates the compressor was overheating and igniting. Incidences of the component causing smoke and fire damage to kitchens was reported, according to Maytag.
(As of 4:00 p.m. Wednesday, the Web site is running again. Keep us posted on hold times.)
I’ve fielded a lot of response from the story about young adults lacking health coverage. Feedback is always encouraged and appreciated, but I was surprised that many who commented did not see the connection between their premiums and the young adults out there living without insurance. There is one, and it is spelled out below. These numbers ran with the story on Sunday:
BY THE NUMBERS
Insurance in Oklahoma
The average annual premium for single coverage in 2008.
Amount paid by insured individuals per year to cover the uninsured.
The amount insured individuals will pay for the uninsured in 2010.
Approximate number of Oklahomans 18-32 who do not have insurance.
SOURCES: THE KAISER FAMILY FOUNDATION,
HEALTH RESEARCH & EDUCATIONAL TRUST,
STATE INSURANCE DEPARTMENT, FAMILIES USA
One gentleman failed to see this connection, so I thought I’d point it out again.
You bemoan the plight of those who do not try, or can’t provide for their own care. But how about those of who are up against the wall, playing by the rules and are contributing to our communities children?
All of us should be concerned that so many fall between the cracks. No it isn’t just young people. 600,000 people in Oklahoma are without health care. Is that acceptable?
A very brilliant woman (who now works in the National Institutes of Health) once told me,
“We have a sick-care system and not a health-care system. We have a whole industrial complex around this sick-care system. There will be a huge resistance to any change.
The nation’s economic downtown is affecting people in many ways, but it hasn’t impacted Oklahoma’s child support collections.
“We haven’t seen any change in collections month-to-month over last year,” a state Department of Human Services spokesman said.
Jeff Wagner, spokesman for Oklahoma Child Support Services, cited two factors in keeping Oklahoma on track: the availability of IRS stimulus payments and the time it takes to change a child support order if a parent’s income changes.
Wagner said Oklahoma collected a record $281 million in child support payments last year.
I found this compelling and wanted to share.
Comments are ALWAYS a great way to start a conversation.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recently reported that the Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicles received about 450 complaints in 2008 of used vehicle dealers failing to turn over titles to buyers after a car is purchased. That number is nearly double those reported in 2007.
Another major complaint is from car buyers who unknowingly get stuck with debt. Dealers are failing to pay off loans on trade-ins and selling vehicles with existing liens.
Experts attribute the increase in complaints to vehicle dealers strapped for cash because of the economy.
Check out the full story here.
Peanuts aren’t the problem this time.
Omaha-based SunSprout Enterprises Inc. has issued a voluntary recall for several varieties of sprouts that may be linked to several cases of salmonella in Nebraska and Iowa. The sprouts in question were available only in those two states.
No laboratory tests have confirmed a salmonella link, but the company is working with health officials to sort out any potential problems.