The Pure Vermont Newsletter
     By the Attorney General's Consumer Assistance Program                                      FEBRUARY 2013

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.

Wire Fraud Graph

Though 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.  
In  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 typically is not until after the wired money has been picked up by the scammer that the victim realizes it was a scam.  

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What are Romance Scams?

Though 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.  

Heart Photo

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 emergency. 

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Is the Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) for Businesses too?

Though  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. 

In 2012, the Vermont legislature determined to provide greater support to CAP.

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Businesses:  

Unauthorized charges on business account phone billS

we are interested in your input

     MORE BUSINESSES >>




Consumers:  

Tech Support Scam worseNs!

False irs demands

Check out our new wire fraud brochure

      More consumers >>


Pure Vermont Recognition

 In December, two  Vermonters came forward about having secured a pay day loan from an unlicensed lender in order to purchase a vehicle.   When the consumers could no longer afford the 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 Vermont.

What Is the Pure Vermont Program?

Pure Vermont is about bringing consumer awareness to every door step while celebrating the wholesome values that Vermonters are known for...

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Nominate someone for the Pure Vermont Award Now! 



JANUARY
COMPLAINT TRENDS

 235 New Complaints

PRIMARY COMPLAINTS
Auto - Defective Merchandise
Fuel - Failure to Deliver
Credit - Harassment/
Collection
Scams - Misrepresentation

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