I answered the phone today on a Saturday afternoon to a woman with a thick middle-eastern accent. She asked to speak to my husband, who was not home, and I asked to take a message. She was very pushy, yet she almost seemed frustrated because I was asking her to repeat herself so much. As hard as I tried, I could barely understand her. I almost let my guard down because I was feeling bad for possibly making her self-concious about her accent.
Finally, she asked me if I was his family member. She asked my name, which I told her (I figured she already knew my husband's name). She asked again when she could reach him, and I told her in an hour or so. She said since I was a family member, that I could accept this money for him. What money, I asked? She specifically said she was from the U.S. Federal Grant Department. I am sure about this, because I made her repeat herself several times! She said he had been chosen in our area to receive $12,500 in grant money. All I had to do was verify our bank info, and the money would be deposited on Monday into our bank acct. She said we had to hurry because this money was to be distributed within 48 hours. I know that grants can be picky and have lots of rules, but come on! So I asked lots and lots of questions. She told me her name was Sheryln Larson (or at least that is what it sounded like).
She seemed to be getting very frustrated with all my questions. I said, you can understand that it isn't very safe to give that info over the phone. I told her I would like to verify that she is indeed the U.S. Grant Dept. She asked if I would like to talk to her supervisor, and I said absolutely. In about 30 sec. a man answered who also had a thick middle-eastern accent. I'm thinking, you've got to be kidding. What is the likelihood? I was able to understand him somewhat better. He talked so quickly and then said I need your bank number. I told him the same I had told her, that it didn't seem safe. He said he assured me that this was no scam and that the United States government would never rip anyone off. I said, then why did my husband get this grant. He said that he had been such a good tax payer. I laughed and said that I just didn't realize the gov't was in the business of giving out $12,500. He started again telling me the whole deal.
He said on the day after the deposit, that $49.95 would be taken out of my acct. I asked why, and he said, for bank to bank charges of course. I also told him I wanted to verify who he was, and asked for a website. He put me on hold. Finally he gave me www.fastcashgrants.com which I promptly asked, why is it .com not .gov if this is truly a gov't thing. He said the gov't chooses recipients, but this company gives the grant. I told him I would check the website, and he said he would call back in an hour. I told him that would be good so I could talk to my husband. He was very rude, and obviously not professional.
The website is actually an earn money over the internet business, which appears to have no affiliation. I figured out who they were when I googled the caller i.d. # and got this website rip-off report website.
My warning would be that they both talked so fast, it could be easy to say the wrong thing. At one point I verified my address; however, I did not give the info, she already knew it. They both had an answer for everything I asked. Be careful and follow your instincts.
U.S.A. EDitor's Suggestions on how to get your money back! HERE IS WHAT RIP-OFF REPORT SUGGESTS YOU DO:
Go to your bank within 60 days of the charge, or as soon as you know about the charge, don't delay, and tell them that there has been fraudulent activity within your account. Explain that you wish to file a dispute, and demand that they assist you in accordance with Federal Regulation E.
According to the majority of victims interviewed by Rip-off Report, those who immediately called their banks to dispute the charges did not get very far. Many victims got the following responses from their banks: we could not do anything for you or you waited too long; it has been more than 60 days.
If the bank is says that you have waited too long, explain to them how you called their 800 number as soon as the charges were found, and were told by the bank that nothing could be done. Remind the bank that they failed to assist you properly at the 800 #, and instead, provided you with an inadequate explanation of your right to dispute. Tell the bank that it's their fault time has expired, and since they gave you the wrong info to begin with, they will just have to deal with it, take the loss and reverse the charges.
Tell them the truth; this was unauthorized and your account was NOT to be charged! Keep emphasizing how you never authorized anything! Direct them to the hundreds of victims reports that were filed on Rip-off Report.com. And if you're at the bank, walk them over to their computer and make them go to this site! If you are on the phone with them, tell them you will wait while they access this site! Either way, be persistent! DO NOT TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER!
Let them know nicely, that you were advised to Report them (the Bank) and this situation to the Banking Commission in your state. Since each state has a different name for the agency/controller over banks, find that name before you call or get to the bank so you can throw it in their face. The more knowledgeable you appear to be, the further you will get.
And just continue to demand the Federal Regulation E form! The bank CAN, MUST and WILL reverse the charge! But, you must be persistent; ask to speak to the supervisor or the area manager for all the branches in the state.
Let the bank personnel know you are meeting with the media later in the day, that you would much rather they do the right thing (as most other banks have) by looking at the complaints and immediately reversing the charge(s) to your account; no matter how long ago it was. Be sure to call the Media if necessary so you are telling the truth.
If you have to, be loud (but nice) in front of other customers. If you are just calling by phone, the above tactics should still work. The bank can easily fax or mail to you the Federal Regulation E dispute form. CHARGES TO YOUR CREDIT CARD
If the charge was to your credit card (not debit card, check card, or checking account), contact the credit card company as soon as possible to request a dispute form. Consumers usually have a little longer to dispute fraudulent credit card charges (up to 6 months), but it is better to act right away. In this type of situation, credit card disputes are usually successful since fraudulent companies often won't contest the disputed charge. In rare cases, credit card companies will review disputes, but refuse to reverse the charges. If this occurs, complain to a manager and let them know you will be filing a report here.
Remember Don't let them get away with it! Make sure they make the Rip-off Report .. The more Reports filed on a Company or individual, the more likely it is that the authorities, media and attorneys will want to take action.
And good luck Let us know how you do!
ED Magedson Founder, Rip-off Report.com & Author of www.ripoffrevenge.com EDitor@ripoffreport.com bad
Don't let them get away with it.
Make sure they make the Rip-off Report!
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We are a Worldwide Consumer Reporting News Agency ...by consumers, for consumers CLICK HERE to read about Credit Card Scams... find out how to get your money back. *Rip-off Report Investigation provides valuable information.