The Whistleblower blog was started in 2008. Look for posts by these contributors: James Eli Shiffer, Jane Friedmann, Brandon Stahl, Eric Roper and Alejandra Matos. | Check out the Whistleblower archive.
The Star Tribune's journalists need your help blowing the whistle in Minnesota. Contact us here.
Two people who posed as employees of major software-security companies and convinced consumers to pay hundreds of dollars to fix nonexistent computer viruses or other software problems, have agreed to cease operation and surrender their assets, according to the Federal Trade Commission Friday.
Mikael Marczak, doing business as Virtual PC Solutions, and Sanjay Agarwalla deceived consumers into believing their computers had been infected or had other problems and then pretended to remotely fix the problems.
Marczak, a Californian, and his business Conquest Audit was also found to have used telemarketing to sell debt relief services, in violation of federal law, the FTC said.
Agarwalla, of San Diego, must pay a $3,000 fine, the total amount he allegedly made from the scheme.
A judgment of $984,721 against Marczak and Conquest Audit, which represents the total amount consumers lost in the schemes, was entered, but is stayed "due to their inability to pay the full amount," the FTC said. Marczak and Conquest Audit will instead "surrender almost all of their existing assets."
The Better Business Bureau has identified a number of scams aimed at military personnel, particularly elderly veterans, that ramp up just before Memorial Day.
Here are a handful of scams aimed at military personnel.
Military loans -- Loans may promise guaranteed approval but come with hidden fees and high interest rates. Loans that require upfront fees are probably fraudulent.
Veterans' benefits buyout plans -- These offer a cash payment in exchange for a veteran's future benefits or pension payments. Veterans end up with about 30 to 40 percent of what they are entitled to.
Fake rental property or cars -- Online scammers use stolen photos of real properties or cars and promise military discounts or claim a car is owned by a service member who is facing quick deployment. After wiring money to the scammer, the victim receives nothing.
Life insurance -- Military personnel are often targets of high-pressure sales pitches for expensive policies.
Phony jury duty summons -- A caller claims the service member failed to show up for jury duty and a warrant has been issued for the person's arrest. To remedy the matter, scammers attempt to extract personal information from the service member.
To read more about BBB resources for service members, including scam alerts, a military e-newsletter and complaint and dispute resolution services, go to the BBB Military Line.
A California district judge has preliminarily approved a settlement that will allow parents to receive a refund of at least $5 if their children made in-app purchases on "free" computer games without parental consent, the web site Top Class Actions reported.
A Federal Trade Commission investigation found that game developers were advertising free games on iTunes, but then charging kids to buy "gaming currency," such as virtual supplies or currency. With a single click and without any password requirement, children could charge $100 or more to accountholders' credit cards or PayPal accounts, Top Class Action said.
Details on filing a claim haven't been announced yet but interested consumers can check back to Whistleblower for information when it becomes available. The filing deadline is July 31.
A company that contacted Whistleblower by email to propose a lucrative work-at-home scheme is fraudulently using the name and stock ticker symbol of a legitimate company, according to David Babin, a lawyer for Solera Holdings, Inc.
Job postings placed on the internet by "Company A" now identified by Whistleblower as ACERQC, also borrow specific phrases from Solera's marketing material, Babin said. ACERQC has "absolutely no affiliation with Solera," he said.
Identical job postings can be found under other company names. One ripoff report commentor's research traced one of those companies to Daytona Beach, Florida.
|Crime (1)||Employment (1)|
|Whistleblower (402)||Home Improvement (4)|
|Advertising claims (50)||Businesses in hot water (269)|
|Buyer beware (150)||Civil liberties (19)|
|Complaint sagas (107)||Corruption (1)|
|Dangerous products (39)||Free speech (1)|
|Government spends your money (27)||How to blow the whistle (12)|
|Loopholes (10)||Neighborhood nuisances (35)|
|Polling problems (21)||Problems on the job (14)|
|Property problems (44)||Public records (28)|
|Scams (110)||Seniors (35)|
|Whistleblowers (22)||Discrimination (3)|