BBB offers advice on what to do after a data breach compromises your identity

ID-100245359Anthem Insurance is latest corporation to be hacked

Tens of millions of Americans could be victims of the latest corporate data breach at Anthem Insurance. Unknown hackers apparently stole personal identifying information (PII) from current and former Anthem customers, including names, addresses, Social Security numbers, dates of births and other information that can be used for identity theft.

Anthem has set up a separate website with information on the breach, but Better Business Bureau recommends that consumers always go to a company’s main website first and follow links from there. Scammers often take advantage of data breaches and subsequent confusion to set up spoof websites and send phishing emails.

BBB offers the following suggestions for consumers concerned that their PII has been stolen (also available at bbb.org/breach):

  1. Do not take a “wait and see” approach as you may have done with breaches involving credit card data. You must act quickly. Breaches involving Social Security numbers have the potential to be far more detrimental to victims, and the damage can be difficult to repair.
  2. Consider taking a preemptive strike by freezing your credit reports. This will not impact existing credit cards and financial accounts, but will create a roadblock for thieves seeking to create fraudulent accounts using your personal information.
  3. At a minimum, if you know your Social Security number has been compromised, place a fraud alert on your credit reports. While less effective than a freeze, this will provide an extra layer of protection. Click here to learn more about security freezes and fraud alerts.
  4. Take advantage of the free credit monitoring services Anthem will be offering to breach victims. While this is not a preventative measure, this will alert you to new accounts or inquiries using your Social Security number so that you can act quickly to repair the damage.
  5. Vigilance is key. Regularly check your credit reports at annualcreditreport.com for unauthorized charges or other signs of fraud. (NOTE: This is the only free credit report option authorized by the Federal Trade Commission.)
  6. For more information and complete step-by-step guidance on repairing the damage caused by identity theft, visit the FTC’s identity theft resources.
  7. Expect that scammers will take advantage of this data breach to send out phishing emails and other messages that appear to be from Anthem, a credit bureau or other legitimate companies. Do not click on links from any email, text or social media message about this or any other data breach.

For all businesses that collect customer information:

  • Make sure you protect your customers’ data. If a data breach can happen to a major corporation with significant data security measures in place, it can happen to any business.
  • Check out BBB’s updated online guide Data Security – Made Simpler for free information on how to create a data security plan.

For more information about scams, check out BBB Scam Stopper. Sign up to receive weekly Scam Alerts to hear about the latest scams.

NOTE: According to its BBB Business Review, Anthem Inc. also operates as Wellpoint, Inc., Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield, and Administar Federal, Inc. However, not all Blue Cross & Blue Shield companies are part of the Anthem network. If you aren’t sure if your insurer is affected by this data breach, call the number on the back of your card or go directly to your insurer’s website.

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BBB Investigation: Corpus Christi consumers allege local concrete business performs sub-standard work

ID-100143137Corpus Christi-based Concrete Impressions performs residential and commercial concrete work, including concrete flooring, driveways and landscaping, according to its website http://www.ccconcreteimpressions.com. According to BBB files, the company has left some consumers less than impressed.

Consumers have told Better Business Bureau that Concrete Impressions performed substandard or incomplete concrete work. They also told BBB they had a hard time getting the business to respond to their concerns. Disputed amounts range from $1,060 to more than $5,000.

Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin has closed six complaints in the last year. Four remain unanswered by the company and another is unresolved. The complaints alleged the company performed substandard or incomplete work.

Based on BBB files, Concrete Impressions has a pattern of disputes alleging they purchased concrete staining and other services from the business that were not completed. Complainants allege they paid up front for services with the company and then had limited to no communication from the company after work was left unfinished or uncorrected.

BBB contacted the company by mail regarding the pattern of complaints, but has so far not received a response. BBB also left a voicemail message with the business and has not yet received a reply.

Julio Gomez of Corpus Christi said he hired Concrete Impressions to build a concrete driveway and retaining wall and got much less than he paid for. He says the business “made a mess” and blamed it on the concrete company it contracted to do the job. He said Concrete Impressions refused to refund his deposit and will not return his calls.

“The job I requested was a motor home slab on the side of my house with a retaining wall,” said Gomez. “I paid over $3,600 for it. They poured concrete for the retaining wall and made a big mess. They were holding it in with an old door and it gave. Then they left. They left their tools and never came back. I hired someone to do the slab. The retaining wall will cost me an arm and a leg to remove. He [Alex Morales of Concrete Impressions] said he couldn’t fix it. He blamed it on [a subcontractor].”

Kendall Box of Corpus Christi says his construction business subcontracted with Concrete Impressions to construct a stained floor for a project. He says the business performed unsatisfactory work and his customer was very upset. He says he had to pay for the floor to be repaired.

“When we saw the job they did, we terminated them and had to pay to get it fixed,” Box said. “They didn’t smooth it or sand it before they stained it. It looked like a desert with little peaks everywhere. After they stained it, they tried to fix the bad places and made it worse. It cost us about $8,000.”

BBB offers the following advice when hiring a contractor:

  • Do your research. Check the company’s BBB Business Review at bbb.org before signing a contract. For a list of BBB Accredited Businesses that meet BBB Standards for Trust, go directly to checkbbb.org.
  • Get a list of references. The contractor should provide names, addresses and phone numbers of at least three clients who have projects similar to yours. Ask about their experience with the contractor. Also, tell the contractor that you’d like to visit jobs in progress.
  • Don’t pay cash. Pay by credit card if possible. You may have additional protection if there is a problem. Otherwise pay by check so your cancelled check can provide proof of payment. Consider using an escrow company.
  • Spread payments out. Never pay too much up front. Make payments during the project contingent upon completion of a defined amount of work. Do not make the final payment or sign a final release until you are satisfied with the work and have proof that the subcontractors and suppliers have been paid.
  • Shop around. Get at least three bids in writing based on the same specifications, materials, labor and time needed to complete the project. BBB’s Request-a-Quote service is free to use and contacts BBB Accredited Businesses to give you an estimate on your job.
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BBB’s Top 10 consumer tips for 2015

ID-100179211Better Business Bureau is proud of our mission; to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust. In order to fulfill that mission, every year BBB offers thousands of tips for consumers to help them find a business they can trust.

With more than 30 million businesses operating in the U.S. and Canada, people are overwhelmed with choices, and often unsure about where to find reliable, unbiased information.

BBB helps people find and recommend business, brands and charities they can trust. Your BBB compiled the top ten consumer tips to help you fight scammers, prevent identity theft and save money in 2015:

BBB’s top 10 consumer tips

  1. Do your research
  2. Protect your identity
  3. Create a budget
  4. Shop on trustworthy websites
  5. Keep your computer safe
  6. Give wisely
  7. Get everything in writing
  8. Limit information shared on social media pages
  9. Never wire money to someone you don’t know
  10. Let your BBB help

Consumer Tips:

  1. Do your research. Always check a business out with BBB before you buy.  Nearly 400,000 businesses nationwide meet BBB’s Standards for Trust and are qualified to use the BBB Accredited Business seal on their websites and at business locations. Use checkbbb.org to find a list of Accredited Businesses under several category lists. For any business, visit bbb.org to find BBB Business Reviews for nearly four million businesses across North America to see complaint details, customer reviews and advertising-related issues.
  2. Protect your identity. Always shred paper documents that include sensitive financial data and dispose of computers, cell phones and digital data safely. BBB offers tips and checklists on what to shred, and hosts annual Shred Day events nationwide to help you stay safe. Safely store all personal documents, such as your Social Security card. Pull your credit report at least once a year and check your credit and debit card statements frequently.
  3. Create a budget. Setting a budget can help you stay afloat in 2015. BBB has advice on how to create a budget to help you get out of debt and stay out of debt at bbb.org.
  4. Shop on trustworthy websites. Online shopping is increasingly become more popular, so before you provide any personal or banking information over the web, make sure you’re using a trusted site. Look for the “s” in https:// when putting in any personal information.
  5. Keep your computer safe. If you haven’t already done so, install anti-virus software on your computer and check regularly for software and operating system updates and patches. Don’t open attachments or click on links in emails unless you can confirm the email came from someone you trust. Always log out of internet sites you are not using.
  6. Give wisely. Most philanthropists give year-round. To ensure your time, treasure and talents are going to the cause you’re looking to support, research all charities at give.org to check their BBB charity review and to see how their monetary donations are distributed.
  7. Get everything in writing. Don’t just take a company’s word for it. Get every verbal agreement in writing to limit miscommunication and misunderstandings between what you expect and what the business delivers.
  8. Limit information shared on social media pages. Scammers use social media sites to gather information on potential victims. Avoid sharing too much personal information and check your privacy settings. Additionally, never announce through a social media site that you are going out of town, or won’t be home for a specified amount of time.
  9. Never wire money to someone you don’t know. Many scams require money to be wired back to the scammers. Tracking money sent via a money wiring service is almost impossible.
  10. Let your BBB help. BBB is here to promote marketplace trust. If you have an issue with a business or feel you have been scammed, file a complaint with your BBB.
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BBB lists top 10 scams of 2014

ID-100214292Better Business Bureau hears from thousands of consumers and business owners every year about a variety of scams and frauds. Many are new twists on existing scams, but scammers get more sophisticated every year in how they spoof trusted names and fool consumers.

Here are the most pervasive scams of 2014, based on our experience with consumers:

#10 Sweepstakes Scam: You’ve won a contest! Or the lottery! Or the Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes! All you have to do to claim your prize is to pay some fees or taxes in advance so they can release your prize. (There is no prize, only a chance to lose some of your hard-earned money.) This is not a new scam, but it is a perennial problem.

#9 Click Bait Scam: This one takes many forms, but the most notorious of the past year was when the Malaysian Airline plane went missing (“click here for video”). The scam was designed to entice people into unintentionally downloading malware. Other click bait schemes use celebrity images, fake news and other enticing stories.

#8 Robocall Scam: The notorious “Rachel from Cardholder Services” made a resurgence in 2014. This scam claims to be able to lower your credit card interest rates and takes personal information – including your credit card number – and then charges fees to your card.

#7 Government Grant Scam: You get a call saying you’ve been awarded a government grant for thousands of dollars. It may even mention a program you’ve heard about in the news. All you have to do to collect your grant is pay a couple hundred dollars in fees by wire transfer or prepaid debit card.

#6 Emergency Scam: This one is sometimes called the “grandparent scam” because it often preys on older consumers. You get a call or email from your grandchild or other relative who was injured, robbed or arrested while traveling overseas and needs money ASAP.

#5 Medical Alert Scam: Another one that preys on older folks. You get a call or a visit from a company claiming a concerned family member ordered you a medical alert device in case you have an emergency. They take your credit card or banking information but you never receive anything.

#4 Copycat Website Scam: You get an email, text message or social media post about a terrific sale or exciting new product. You click through and it looks just like a popular retailer’s site. But when you order, you either get a cheap counterfeit or nothing at all… and now they have your credit card number!

#3 “Are You Calling Yourself?” Scam: Scammers can make a call look like it’s coming from anywhere. The latest trick puts your number in the Caller ID, which piques your curiosity and gets you to pick up the phone or return the call… and then they’ve snagged you in whatever scam they are running.

It was almost a tie for the top spot this year, because BBB sees this one every day:

#2 Tech Support Scam: You get a call or a pop-up on your computer claiming to be from Microsoft (or Norton, or Apple) about a problem on your computer. They say if you give “tech support” access to your hard drive, they can fix it. Instead, they install malware on your computer and start stealing your personal information.

And the top Scam of the Year, because it’s just so terrifying, is:

#1 Arrest Scam: You receive an ominous phone call from someone claiming to be a police officer or government agent (often the IRS in the United States or the CRA in Canada). They are coming to arrest you for overdue taxes or for skipping out on jury duty. but you can avoid it by sending them money via a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. Another variation on this is that you’ll be arrested for an overdue payday loan. Whatever the “violation,” it’s scary to be threatened with arrest, and many people pay out of fear.

Here’s why scams work:

There is a science to scams, and it may surprise you to know that scammers use many of the same techniques as legitimate sales professionals. The difference, of course, is that their “product” is illegal and could cost you a fortune. Here are the major techniques they use to draw you in:

Establishing a connection: The scammer builds rapport and a relationship with you. This is usually used face-to-face, as in home improvement scams and many investment scams, but also online romance scams.

Source credibility: The scammer uses techniques to make themselves look legitimate, such as fake websites or hacked emails that come from a friend’s account. Most email phishing scams spoof real companies, and many scammers pretend to be someone they are not in order to add credibility.

Playing on emotions: Scammers rely on emotion to get you to make a quick decision before you have time to think about it. An emergency situation or a limited time offer is usually their methodology. They count on emotional rather than rational decision-making.

BBB offers advice on what you can do to avoid these scams:

  • Don’t be pressured. Often you will try and be pressured into making fast decisions.
  • Do your research. Take time to research the organization. Check them out on bbb.org, search online, etc.
  • Don’t provide personal information. Never provide your personal information (address, date-of-birth, banking information, ID numbers) to people you do not know.
  • Be sure you know the link. Don’t click on links from unsolicited email or text messages.
  • Verify the source. If you are unsure about a call or email that claims to be from your bank, utility company, etc., call the business from the number on your bill or the back of your credit card.
  • Do not wire money. Never send money by wire transfer or prepaid debit card to someone you don’t know or haven’t met in person. Never send money for an emergency situation unless you’ve been able to verify the emergency.
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Think you’re too smart to get conned? Think again!

ID-100183512There are certain scams you hear about and instinctively think of the victim, “What were they thinking? How could they fall for that?” On the flipside, scam victims are often so embarrassed they hate to even tell anyone what happened.

If you think you’re too smart to get scammed, or feel dumb because you did get scammed, it’s not a matter of intelligence. Con artists are very good at exploiting human nature to manipulate us into giving them what they want. We’re all vulnerable.

There is an interesting article from the BBC about the human impulses that con artists use to get past our defenses: How Con Artists Trick Your Mind. Make yourself aware of these impulses and you’ll be less likely to get scammed.

The article includes the following tricks con artists use:

Time pressure: The con artist pressures you to act quickly, before you can think and use self-control. (For example: “You will be [arrested/have your utilities shut off/lose a promised lottery payout] if you don’t wire us a payment immediately.”

Impersonate someone in authority: Deference to authority figures is something con artists frequently exploit. They might pose as policemen, attorneys or government officials to pressure you into following their instructions.

Use people’s ‘herd’ instinct: You’re more likely to do something if you think your friends–or just people you allign with in some way–are doing it or approve of it. A con artist might pose as a friend on social media to trick you into thinking a scam is legitimate.

Distract the victim. Con artists often distract you to keep you from seeing a scam in progress. For example, an attractive accomplice might divert your attention or an accomplice or accomplices might pretend to start an argument while the crook does his deed.

Use people’s deepest desires against them. Desperate for love or money? A scam artist can to use that desire to blind your reasoning. Dating scammers, advance fee lenders and lottery scammers know this.

Appeal to the victim’s innate dishonesty. Nobody is a complete angel. If a con artist can “find your price” and tempt you into doing something you shouldn’t, especially something illegal, you’re less likely to tell on them when you get burned.

Use people’s empathy and kindness against them. The desire to help people is a noble one, but unfortunately, scam artists can use that against us. For example, con artists often pretend to be a friend or relative in trouble–and you can always count on scams following any natural disaster. (Best defense against this is to take some time and check things out before you send money.)

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Don’t be a victim of tax identity theft this tax season!

Better Business Bureau (BBB) urges consumers to be smart during tax identity theft awareness week

It’s that time of year again. Over the next few weeks, W-2 forms will show up at your work desk or in your mail. And while the thought of a hefty tax return could be a happy one, the consequences of filing your taxes the wrong way is not.

This week is Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week, and your Better Business Bureau serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin along with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) encourages taxpayers to take time and use caution when selecting a tax preparer you can trust. It’s important to avoid mistakes that could result in additional fees, or even becoming a victim of tax identity theft. That happens when someone uses your Social Security number to get a tax refund, or even a job.

According to the FTC’s 2013 Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book, statistics show tax identity theft accounted for over 30 percent of all identity theft complaints.

According to the FTC, tax identity thieves get your personal information in a number of ways, including: going through your trash or mailbox; through emails asking for information, which appears to come from the IRS; employees at hospitals, nursing homes, banks and other businesses stealing data; and phony or dishonest tax preparers misusing confidential information or passing it along to identity thieves.

To lessen the chances of becoming a victim of tax identity theft, the FTC has the following advice:

  • File your tax return early. Do it before identity thieves have a chance to steal your information.
  • Use a secure internet connection.If you file your return electronically, don’t use unsecure, publicly available Wi-Fi hotspots.
  • Shred documents. This includes copies of your tax return, drafts or calculation sheets you no longer need.
  • Check your credit report.Do it at least once a year for free at annualcreditreport.com to make sure no other accounts have been opened in your name.

Additionally, BBB offers the following advice for taxpayers looking for a tax preparer:

  • Get references and do your research.Get referrals from friends and family on who they use and check out the company first at bbb.org to see its BBB Business Review for details about complaints, customer reviews and any advertising-related concerns.
  • Look for credentials.Ideally, your tax preparer should either be a certified public accountant, a tax attorney or an enrolled agent. All three can represent you before the IRS in all matters, including an audit.
  • Don’t fall for the promise of a big refund.Be wary of any tax preparation service promising larger refunds than the competition. Avoid any tax preparer who bases their fee on a percentage of the refund.
  • Think about accessibility.Many tax preparation services only set up shop for the months leading up to April 15. In case the IRS finds errors, or in case of an audit, make sure you are able to contact you tax preparer at any time of the year.
  • Read the contract carefully.Read tax preparation service contracts closely to ensure you understand issues such as how much it is going to cost for the service, how the cost will be affected if preparation is more complicated and time consuming than expected and whether the tax preparer will represent you in the case of an audit.

Tax-ID-Fraud_BBBcolors

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Protect yourself online this Data Privacy Day

ID-100291063BBB gives advice on protecting your identity and personal data

Wednesday, Jan. 28 is Data Privacy Day, an annual event created seven years ago by the National Cyber Security Alliance to empower and educate people to protect their privacy and control their digital footprint. In 2013, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received nearly 270,000 complaints related to online crime and fraud and of those complaints, almost 50 percent of those reported financial loss.

From phishing emails to unsecure websites to smishing texts, technology can be a minefield of hackers and scammers. Better Business Bureau serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin urges consumers to be aware your personal information could be at risk of exposure if you don’t have security in mind.

BBB has this advice for protecting your personal information online:

  • Update your software. Your computer should have the latest anti-virus software installed, along with a secure firewall.
  • Shop on trustworthy websites. Check a seller’s reputation and record of customer satisfaction at bbb.org. Look for the https:// in the address box to ensure you’re shopping on a secure website.
  • Set strict privacy settings. Consider restricting access on social network profiles to only friends or family, or people you know. Avoid connecting with anyone on social networking sites who you are unfamiliar with.
  • Set strong passwords. Make sure all passwords, most importantly your passwords for online banking, social media accounts and emails are difficult to guess.
  • What you post can last a lifetime. Before posting online think about how it might be perceived now and in the future and who might see it.
  • Be aware of what’s being shared. Be aware that when you share a post, picture or video online, you may also be revealing information about others. Be thoughtful when and how you share information.
  • Post only about others as you have them post about you. The golden rule applies online as well.

Your BBB wants to help consumers better understand how their personal information may be collected and the benefits and risks of sharing personal data. For more tips, visit bbb.org.

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Work-at-home scam targets college students

ID-100297158When you’re in college, money is always an issue, so an offer to make a little cash might be tempting, but Your BBB warns not to get caught up in something that could land you in big trouble.

There is a new twist on a classic  work-from-home scheme that specifically targets college students. Don’t let the promise of easy money lure you into this con.

How the Scam Works:

You receive an email to your school account offering you a job in a company’s payroll or human resources department. The work is simple. All you need to do is receive a “payroll deposit” from the company to your personal bank account. Then, you transfer the money to other accounts. It seems like an easy job for a busy student, and you are tempted to accept the offer.

Don’t do it! Not only is this “job” not what is seems, it’s actually a crime. If you take the position, you will be assisting cyber criminals in transferring stolen money. If you participate, your bank account will be flagged for criminal activity, and you could be prosecuted.

How to Spot a Job Scam: 

  • Watch out for these phrases: Scam ads or emails often contain the phrases “Teleworking OK,” “Immediate Start” and “No Experience Needed.” Watch out for ads that urge you to apply immediately.
  • Be very cautious of any job that asks you to share personal banking information. Scammers will often request banking info under the guise of running a credit check, setting up direct deposit or, in this case, using your bank account to transfer funds.
  • Some positions are more likely to be scams: Always be wary of work from home, secret shopper positions or any job with a generic title, such as admin assistant or customer service representative. These often don’t require special training or licensing, so they appeal to a wide range of applicants.
  • If a job looks suspicious, search for it online. If the result comes up in many other cities with the exact same job post, it is likely a scam. Also, check the company’s job page to make sure the position is posted there.
  • Watch out for on-the-spot job offers. You may be an excellent candidate for the job, but beware of offers made without an interview. A real company will want to talk to a candidate before hiring him or her.

For More Information

Read the full alert on the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center website. To find out more about other scams, check out BBB Scam Stopper.

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Don’t fall prey to a puppy scam!

ID-10048026Who doesn’t love puppies? They’re so cute and lovable. Just the word puppy inspires an emotional reaction in a lot of people–and if there’s one thing  scammers are good at, it’s playing on people’s emotions.

Your BBB recently heard from a Corpus Christi woman who got scammed out of $200 while trying to buy a Yorkie puppy for her kids. She found an ad online that appeared to be local offering a Yorkie for sale and responded.

The scammers told her they were moving and needed to get rid of some puppies. If she paid $200 each, the Yorkie pup was supposed to be delivered the next day. She paid the scammers via Moneygram. And no puppy turned up.

She figured out she’d been scammed when someone claiming to be with an insurance company called and emailed, saying they needed a $720 “refundable” payment for pet insurance before they could send the puppy. Luckily, she didn’t pay the crooks any more money, but losing $200 to criminals–along with the disappointment about the puppy she wasn’t going to get–had to sting.

WatchYourBuck has covered the puppy scam in the past. It’s a pretty common scam that comes with variations–one version we wrote about involved an attempt to purchase a kinkajou, rather than a puppy.

Here is some advice to avoid becoming a victim of a pet scam:

  • Do your research. Ask for the breeder’s references. You can also check BBB.org to see details about complaints against the breeder, advertising issues and other details about the seller.
  • Visit the Breeder First. It is essential to visit the breeder at their home to see the entire litter, the care and conditions given to the puppies prior to purchasing. This will allow you to see if the environment is clean and healthy for the puppies.
  • Beware of breeders who seem overly concerned with getting paid. Any reputable breeder will be far more concerned with the appropriateness of the potential pet home than what and when they are getting paid. Make sure you have clear expectations – ideally in writing – of how and when the pup will be paid for. Be especially wary of any breeder who insists that you wire money or insist you can only pay with a prepaid debit card.
  • Don’t be fooled by a slick website. Dishonest breeders and even outright scams can be represented by professional-looking web sites that lure you in with fraudulent pictures of adorable puppies.
  • Take your time. Beware of breeders who claim to have multiple breeds ready to ship immediately. It’s highly unlikely that your perfect puppy will be available for shipping on the very day you call. Gestation and socialization of a litter takes months–no puppy should be separated from the mom before eight weeks of age.
  • Report a scam. Anyone who has experienced a dog-related scam should report it to their local authorities, as well as your BBB.
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Online payday lenders to pay $21M settlement to settle FTC charges

government actionTwo payday lenders recently settled Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charges that they broke the law by charging undisclosed and inflated fees.

AMG Services, Inc. and MNE Services, Inc. will pay $21 million and will waive another $285 million in charges that were assessed but not collected.

MNE Services lent to consumers under the trade names Ameriloan, United Cash Loans, US Fast Cash, Advantage Cash Services, and Star Cash Processing. AMG serviced the loans.

The FTC’s complaint alleged that the defendants violated the FTC Act by misrepresenting to consumers how much loans would cost. For example, the defendants’ contract said a $300 loan would cost $390 to repay–but they actually charged consumers $975 to repay the loan.

The defendants were also charged with violating the Truth in Lending Act (TILA). They allegedly failed to accurately disclose their annual percentage rates and other loan terms as well as making preauthorized debits a condition of the loans, which violates the Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA).

A U.S. district court judge ruled in May 2014 that the loan documents were deceptive and violated TILA.

In addition to assessing the $21 million payment and waiving an estimated $285 million, the settlement bans the defendants from misrepresenting the terms of any loan, including the payment schedule, the total amount the consumer will owe, the interest rate, annual percentage rates or finance charges, and any other material facts. Defendants are also prohibited from violating TILA and EFTA.

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