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Attorney General Sorrell Warns Of “Free Money” Scams This Holiday Season

CONTACT: , , (802) 656-3183

December 19, 2012

The Vermont Attorney General’s Office is receiving an increase in reports of “free money” and other financial fraud scams. Such scams require the consumer to send money in order to receive a large sum of money, or pay up front to receive promised services.

Some common scams of this nature include:

Grandparent and Friend/Relative Imposter Scams - Calls from someone claiming to be a loved one in trouble in Canada or another foreign county, seeking money by wire transfer. Don't send money!
Sweepstakes, Lottery, and Grant Scams - Claim consumer has won a sweepstakes, requesting wire transfer, check or credit card for fees to “receive your winnings”. Don't wire money!
Advanced Fee Loan Scams - Claim if you send a small fee, the supposed company will issue you a significant loan despite possible bad credit. These offers are fraudulent and should be avoided.
Online Loan Scams - Consumers are directed to apply for a loan via a website. Most typically, such sites are not associated with a legitimate bank and share your information with several unknown parties. Consumers report receiving unlawful loans (such as high interest payday loans) through the site as well as threatening fake collection calls
Free Security System Scam - “Phishing” calls claiming to offer a free security system for a monthly service fee. Don’t give out any information
Credit Card Rate Scam - “Phishing” calls claiming they can reduce your interest rates. Seeking credit card account information. Don’t give out any information

Remember, “free money” should be free. DO NOT give your financial information (credit card number, bank account number, automatic debit authorization and do not send a check) to any solicitor unless you have verified the source is legitimate. Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell warns consumers to be on guard against financial frauds that are taking their toll on consumers during this Holiday season.
Beware also of the following and other current phone scams targeting consumers right now:

Computer virus tech support - callers will claim to help clean viruses from your computer, DO NOT accept their offer and DO NOT give credit card or other account information!
Medical Alert robo calls - robo calls targeting seniors and offering phony medical alert services.
Travel package robo calls- robo calls offering discount travel services.

So-called “robo calls” are unlawful for telemarketing purposes. If you receive a telemarketing solicitation with an automated message, it is a scam! For assistance or to report a scam, contact the Consumer Assistance Program toll-free in Vermont at 800-649-2424 or 802-656-3183.

  Website consulting provided by The National Association of Attorneys General.