In August, 2004, the Federal Trade Commission issued their findings of a recent study, which showed that nearly 25 million adults were victims of fraud.
Now, most importantly, If you are a victim of fraud, please do not feel like you did anything wrong. It happens to all of us at one point or another, as the FTC?s study clearly shows. Everyone likes a magic trick, and none of us are fully capable of noticing the con-artists? slight of hand. So, if you?re a victim, take a deep breath. You?re normal.
But, there?s an old saying that goes something like this: Fool me once, shame on you?Fool me twice, shame on me!?
Here are 5 KILLER STEPS to protect yourself from Credit Card SCAMS!
NATIONAL NO-CALL REGISTRY.
ANNUAL FEES, INTEREST RATES, ETC.
THE UNITED STATES FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
1. NATIONAL NO-CALL REGISTRY:
There?s nothing more annoying then those credit card offers that you get over the phone. I don?t know about you, but the last thing I want to be doing, while having dinner with my 1 year old daughter and my beautiful wife, is to be annoyed by phone calls from solicitors that just want to make money off me. Legitimate or not, these calls are a nuisance. If you?re like me, and you would rather live without dealing with these calls, then go do this:
The FTC has created the National Do-NOT-CALL registry. Go find out more information about it. The website is: http://www.donotcall.gov
If it makes sense, complete the online form.
Take a deep breath, and relax. Within 30 days, the list will start working for you. I can personally attest that, while the solicitations have not stopped completely, they have significantly, significantly decreased.
Join the FTC No-CALL-Registry, and enjoy a reduction in telephone solicitation phone calls.
2. TELEPHONE SOLICITATION:
Believe it or not, the vast majority of lenders out there are legitimate. Also, believe it or not, a lot of these lenders utilize telemarketing as a method of reaching out to potential customers.
But beware of a wolf in sheep?s clothing. Legitimate Lenders never ask for a processing fee in order to complete your application (this does not include appraisals during a real estate transaction in Escrow?We are discussing credit cards here).
Keep your personal information to yourself! Don?t give out bank information, credit card numbers, social security numbers, etc., to someone you don?t know, on a telephone call. Use your common sense.
If you don?t have the offer in hand, or confirmed in writing, then don?t pay. This is fraud. Who is this person on the phone anyway? Get their phone number, their address, their federal tax ID number, and then tell them you?ll call back. If they?re legitimate, they?ll give it to you. If you question them, then I say trust your instincts. You?re probably right on target.
Who is this on the phone? Don?t trust people you haven?t had a chance to get to know. Don?t let one enticing offer on a phone call, be your guide…
3. 1-900 NUMBERS:
A 1-900 number is, of course, a phone number that charges the caller per minute for making the call. Whether it?s a 1-900 number, or a future manifestation of the same type of telephone service, be wary of doing business this way.
The most common Credit Card SCAM, in all of its different forms, is called an ?ADVANCE FEE LOAD SCAM?. Typically, you will find these in the classified section of your local newspapers and trade magazines, and unfortunately, you?ll also see them floating around the internet.
In a nutshell, the perpetrator will guarantee you a loan, but you have to pay them an upfront fee first. The fee can range from $100 to several hundred dollars. The charges can be extracted using telephone services like 1-900 numbers. Beware of courier services, and transactions that avoid the US Postal service, often conducted so as to avoid detection. The scam is that once the fake company has your money, they disappear from the planet, leaving you a victim of their con. You are out money, and no credit card.
Now lets? not confuse Advance Fee Load Scam artists with legitimate lenders and institutions. I can attest that there are real companies out there, trying to help you to get the credit, loans, and consumer debt services that you need. I believe in many of these services, and I believe in the convenience and power of the internet. However, use your common sense in all your business transactions in life, and that includes credit. Never give someone money without getting anything back in return. Never trust someone that you don?t know. Never get enticed into a deal that?s too good to be true.
Use your common sense, and don?t fall prey to the con artists slight of hand, such as the Advance Fee Load Scam…
4. ANNUAL FEES, INTEREST RATES, ETC.:
Credit Card Scams come in all different shapes and sizes. Many of them are, arguably, not scams at all, but let?s just call them credit card offers involving consumer unfriendly terms.
Read the fine-line. Every Credit Card Offer must provide the Consumer with written documentation on the terms of the offer.
Check the Annual Fee, the Interest Rates, the Cash Advance Fees, the Late Fees, and all other terms of the offer.
c) Make sure you know what you are getting. Some offers are for secured cards, some are for unsecured cards, and some offers are for shopping portals online and offline (Like a department store card). So, while none of these are scams, by definition, it is important that you fully understand the terms of the credit card offer that you are agreeing to.
Be a responsible consumer, and read the terms and conditions of your credit card offer…
5. THE UNITED STATES FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION::
The best place to go for direct consumer information, protection, and remedy, is the United States Federal Trade Commission…
The FTC website is: http://www.ftc.gov
The FTC can provide you with TONS of free information about Credit Cards, and other consumer related concerns. They can help you learn more about what to avoid, how to be a smarter consumer, and what to do if you believe that you are a victim of fraud, and what your remedies may be.
The FTC is there to help…
Use the No-Call Registry to cut down telephone solicitations in your home and places of business. While many legitimate lenders utilize telemarketing, be careful. Don?t give out personal information to people you don?t know, don?t pay up-front processing fees over the phone, and get everything in writing. Consider yourself an advised consumer on ?Advanced Fee Load? Scams, and look out for the signs, when these scams regrettably make their way to you. Read the terms of the offers that you are considering, and utilize the FTC website for trusted information, resources, and all related materials on consumer credit card issues.
We?ve enjoyed providing this information to you, and we wish you the best of luck in your pursuits. Remember to always seek out good advice from those you trust, and never turn your back on your own common sense.
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