Hello everyone. I am a fulltime college student at the Univeristy of Phoenix Online Main Campus, and I was assigned to write a paper for class that was concerning a current event in our world and that had affected me directly. The current event that I had chosen to write about was being a victim of fraud, and how I tried to resolve this given issue. My paper had to be kept to a minimum of 1100 words, so some things were left unsaid. I have all documentation ever sent to us and all that had been sent to this company as well. In addition, I have printed out all of the AKA information as well. Malibu Trust Company and Diverse Financial Group are the same criminals. If you look both companies up on the BBB, the 888 phone number is listed on both. Below is the paper I constructed for my writing class.
The United States citizens are being targeted upon by advance-fee or down payment loan sharks. These loan sharks are being promoted through our communication systems every day. The criminals provide documents that appear to be legitimate, offer incredible interest rates, and large borrowing limits, however, these things are all fraudulent. Unfortunately, my family has become victims to these loan sharks. We have promised ourselves to share our story and information that was collected, to save individuals from making the same mistake and protect their financial assets. The question that remains is, will this information be passed on or will it be merely ignored?
Over the last few years, there has been an increase in fraudulent activities through our communication systems such as the Internet, telephones, television, and radio stations. The fraudulent activities taking place are concerning all types of credit and loans across the entire United States. The Federal Trade Commission stated that, Often, they feature toll-free 800, 866, or 877 numbers, or area codes from Canada, such as 416, 647, 905, or 705. The loans also are promoted through direct mail, radio, and cable TV spots (Federal Trade Commission, 2005). The FBI warned the American people on Friday, September 17, 2004, of an epidemic of financial crimes which, if not curtailed, could become the next S&L crisis (CNN, 2004). Unfortunately, this and many other warnings are just not enough to protect the citizens of our country. These criminals are highly educated and ahead of the game.
For many years, individuals were told to check the Better Business Bureau before conducting business with a company, but these criminals have found a way into the system. Anyone can list themselves or a business on the Better Business Bureau for a small fee. How is this just? How would an individual know if a company is legitimate, if these criminals are able to list themselves with the Better Business Bureau? Many people think that complaints are listed on the Better Business Bureau under the company's name, however most are completely ignored or are unable to be listed due to the strict questionnaire that is asked about the complaint. The complaints that are either being ignored or not documented cause another individual to become a victim to these crimes, and therefore allow the criminals to win once again. According to the Bad Business Bureau, Consumers have reported, the BBB DOES NOT report consumer complaints which are under investigation, even when they know the business is under criminal investigation and is about to be shut down (http://Bad Business Bureau.com).
On February 7, 2005, my family became victims of these criminals, and still has not overcome this terrible situation. The criminals run free, while the victims are left holding the bag. Before my family conducted business with this one particular so called company, we checked into the Better Business Bureau and found absolutely no complaints pertaining to the business ethics of this company. Since we found no complaints for three years, we decided to do business with the company. After sending them all the documentation and down payment for the loan, we found out that they were frauds from a little site on the World Wide Web called the Bad Business Bureau. There is no comparison between the Bad Business Bureau and the Better Business Bureau; the Bad Business Bureau is the better! The site has many companies listed, and many are extremely hyped up amongst the communication systems. Not only does this site list these fraudulent companies, but also provides contact information if you are a victim.
Once we had read page after page of complaints on this company, we were mind blown. The first statement we made while reading was, Everything seemed so legitimate is right! Many individuals on this site had said about the women being very convincing and the paper work being perfected. Sometimes they even fax materials using stolen or forged logos and letterheads from legitimate companies. These materials are fakes, according to enforcement officials, and the contracts the scam artists ask consumers to sign are worthless (Federal Trade Commission, 2005).
Once we were finished reading all the complaints on this business, we contacted the local law enforcement, Federal Trade Commission, Attorney General's office, and the Federal Bureau of Investigations. Unfortunately, all the documentation we had provided was not enough to prosecute these criminals. The Attorney General's office cannot give the consumer any attention. The AG's office only has time for the high profile cases. They are way-under-staffed. (http://Bad Business Bureau.com)
Since law enforcement could not help us, they instructed us to place fraud alerts on our credit profiles. Law officials explained that many of these criminals were stealing individual's identities. The fraud alerts that are placed on an individual's credit record are to inform any company or business that these individuals have been victims, and to prevent the criminals from opening credit lines in another person's name. The only downside of the alerts is the short listing time. Fraud alerts are able to be in effect for a minimum of 90 days to a maximum of 7 years. The first question that came to mind was, are we able to receive new Social Security numbers instead? The answer to this question is no. The government does not allow an individual to obtain a new Social Security number, unless, their lives are in danger.
Law officials provided information on how to avoid being taken by these advance-fee or down payment loan sharks. The FTC advises all individuals to never give out information concerning credit cards, bank accounts, or social security numbers on the telephone, by fax, or via the internet unless you are familiar with the company and know why the information is necessary (Federal Trade Commission, 2005). In addition, If you are not absolutely sure who you are dealing with, get the company's number in the phone book or from directory assistance, and call it to make sure you're dealing with the company you think you are (Federal Trade Commission, 2005). Also, Check out questionable ads by calling Project Phonebusters in Canada toll free at 1-888-495-8501. If you live in the U.S. and think you've been a victim of an advance-fee loan scam, report it to the FTC online at www.ftc.gov or by phone, toll free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (Federal Trade Commission, 2005).
Honestly, our communication systems should be broadcasting the fraudulent activities and what can be done to stop them, instead of promoting more businesses. Perhaps more law officials should be hired, to investigate the Better Business Bureau and these companies that are listed with them. If more arrests were made, these fraudulent activities would start to dissipate. In addition, the American people would feel that justice has been served, instead of feeling unheard and helpless.
Bad Business Bureau. (2005). Better Business Bureau. Retrieved June 1, 2005, from http://www.badbusinessbureau.com/reports/ripoff1343htm
CNN. (2004). FBI warns of mortgage fraud epidemic. Retrieved June 1, 2005, from http://www.cnn.com/2004/LAW/09/17/mortgage.fraud/index.html
Federal Trade Commission. (2005). For the consumer. Retrieved June 1, 2005, from http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/tmarkg/loans.htm