CAP Reports on Wire Fraud
In reviewing wire transfer
scam complaints that were reported to our office in 2012, consumers
lost over $200,000. The type of scam that caused the greatest
amount of financial loss is the Grandparent scam, where the total loss
reported by VT consumers was $84,296. Grandparent
and Timeshare Resale scams were the most successful in scamming
people out of their money. Consumers reported $61,961 in loss
to Timeshare Resale scams.
scams take many forms, the common trend is that consumers are contacted
out of the blue by a person and then asked to wire transfer, or otherwise send money. In
the Grandparent scam, victims receive a call, claiming to be from or on
behalf of a grandchild that needs money to resolve an emergent
situation. The caller demands that the call remain a secret,
thus prohibiting the grandparent to call anyone to ensure the safety of
their family member.
situations where Vermonters are scammed relative to the resale of
a timeshare, the scam typically involves an immediate request for the
victim to wire money because a supposed company has a potential buyer
for a timeshare property that the victim has not been able to sell.
The scam often requires several transfers for a "service
deposit," "insurance," "taxes," or fees for an "attoreny." It
is not until after the wired money has been picked up by the scammer
that the victim realizes it was a scam.
What are Romance Scams?
awareness of romance scams and "catfishing" is becoming more prominent
with recent news reporting because a famous football player was the
victim of an online dating scam, it is not new. Last year,
14% of wire fraud complaints reported to our office involved a false
romantic relationship with an online love interest found through
Zoosk.com and Match.com.
Once the scammer is convinced you are hooked they come up with a myriad
of excuses as to why they can never meet in person. They
also constantly ask you to send them money to pay for various
expenses: to purchase an airline ticket to visit you, to help meet
monthly expenses, or to help pay for another unexpected
Is the Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) for Businesses too?
people tend to think of a consumer as being an individual or person,
Vermont’s consumer protection statute defines consumer to include
businesses that are the consumer in a transaction. For
example, a business may be considered a consumer when
purchasing goods or services that are not for resale.
2012, the Vermont legislature
determined to provide greater support to CAP.
December, two Vermonters came forward about having secured a
day loan from an unlicensed lender in order to purchase a
vehicle. When the consumers could no longer afford
payments due to the unlawfully high interest rates on the loan, the
company threatened repossession.
Notifying us of this issue helped us
to understand and prevent a new kind of problem that is occurring in
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235 New Complaints
PRIMARY COMPLAINTSAuto - Defective Merchandise
Fuel - Failure to Deliver
Credit - Harassment/
Scams - Misrepresentation