A small preclude from me before this post:
I don’t mean to be melodramatic in this post, but being scammed online is becoming more and more of a problem every day. There is very little the United States government, let alone any government can do for scam victims (consumers) when they get ripped off online. I wrote an article way back in 2007 of an experience I had being scammed when buying a domain name online. Granted, I am what many people think as a “savvy” internet enthusiast; but even I was able to get duped out of almost $300. Just like that it was gone. What makes my article useful to others was that I shared with everyone how I contacted and worked with PayPal, the Banks and even with the Scammer. And I ended up getting my money back.
The moral of that article was that there are always going to be bad people (scammers), and so many people are going to fall victim to internet scams every day; but you as a consumer have rights that you can exercise to defend yourself. The way we fight back as consumers is simple. We use the same tool the scammer used to scam us… the Internet. Read the comments in the article and you’ll be able to learn how you can defend yourself from future attacks amoral swindlers on the Web.
So I decided to write a small short post of mine to further help people in need to of the basics behind protecting yourself from scams online. Or if you need to refresh yourself of the basics.
Peace out and be safe,
Throughout each day, millions of people are scammed online; however, you probably never thought that you would be one of these people. Now that you have been scammed, it is important for you to take steps to reduce the damage that may occur. Once you are a victim of a scam, the steps below will make this unfortunate event easier to handle.
1. Stay calm
The first thing to do if you are a victim of a scam is to stay calm. Most likely, you are in panic mode and are wondering what to do about this situation. If you are not calm, there is no way you can think about the other important steps you must take. If you continue to panic, you increase your risk for more losses.
2. Stop all payments
If any of the online payments were made by check or credit card, you should call your bank and credit card companies to report this information. Also, you should be sure to ask these companies to stop all pending payments that will be deducted from your bank account or credit card.
Arnold Scott Harris P.C. is getting a lot of negative attention on the Web for how devious their collection agency practice is. They have 109 complaints with the Better Business Bureau in the past 3 years! People are claiming that their parking and hospital bills are being deferred to this firm, regardless of how small or large the amount, and required to pay a $10 convenience fee to resolve their debt. In some instances, the convenience fees are exceeding the actual amount owed. Technically this would be called usury if the State were to categorize the convenience fee as interest, but they don’t. Unfortunately it’s the State who refers them most of their business, and we can only guess what type of relationship exists between government officials and firm partners. My guess is that they share a drink and laugh together every Friday night, but I speculate. What scheisters. This firm should be prosecuted by the State for imposing extraordinary interest fees on petty debt and set example for the financial industry that you can’t engage in predatory debt collection practice. If you’re getting called from Arnold Scott Harris and want to take legal recourse, I suggest following this Yelp reviewer’s advice:
You want to do one of two things with this scum: 1) make the calls stop, or 2) take them to the cleaners via suing them in civil court for illegal practices (it’s $500 an infraction).
1) What you do is immediately contact the Better Business Bureau of Illinois once the calls start. Explain the calling and how they were never allowed to call you on your cell phone. Within a day or two they will stop once this happens.
2) Keep track of all the illegal calls/voicemails they are leaving you. Keep a record if you can. Once it get’s up to a sizable amount of dough skip the BBB and hire an attorney to sue them directly for breaking the law as it’s $500 an infraction. You can get at least ten grand out of them from this method. Everybody should pursue this method to put them out of business!
Identity scams can wreak havoc
Were you shocked when your grandma got a Facebook account? Or are you surprised by the number of email forwards you get from your Great Uncle? Well today’s retirees are embracing technology, and are specifically becoming more and more comfortable using the internet. But that level of comfort comes with a level of caution (and a little healthy suspicion) that baby boomers may not have.
All internet users must be careful sharing sensitive personal information online. Boomers, who may be new to online activities and computer use in general, may not know what to look out for and may be particularly vulnerable to identity theft online. Because of that, they be may be specifically targeted by scammers and thieves. Unfortunately, scammers are beginning to target the Boomer demographic. In order to reduce your risks of being another victim of the Boomer phase, you need to take the proper preemptive steps by signing up for some sort of ID theft protection service. They typically cost no more than $5-10 per month – but the peace of mind it gives you is certainly priceless.