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Beware of Snapchat Scams

Posted by: Alejandra Matos Updated: March 19, 2014 - 4:51 PM

Snapchat users were warned this week to beware of messages sent from unknown users saying you’ve won a prize.

According to the Better Business Bureau, scammers have figured out a way to misuse Snapchat, a popular photo and video sharing mobile-phone application.

The scammers send users a photo saying they have won a prize and then give instructions to go to a website. The BBB said the websites instruct users to choose from a list of smartphone apps and download one.

“This could just be a unscrupulous way to generate app downloads,” said the BBB, also warning that the apps could contain malware.

Snapchat users are advised to change their settings to only receive snaps from approved friends.

BBB warns about massage business

Posted by: Alejandra Matos Updated: March 17, 2014 - 5:38 PM

The Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota issued a warning Friday about Stephanie Lasch, a massage business owner in the Twin Cities, after customers complained about unjustified charges and worthless gift certificates.

In January, the BBB saw a spike in complaints against Lasch’s StoneWater Massage and Skin Care in Lino Lakes after the business closed and consumers were unable to redeem gift certificates. 

That same month, the Lino Lakes Police Department posted an alert on its Facebook page saying it was investigating  allegations of fraudulent electronic charges appearing on accounts of StoneWater customers. At that time, Lino Lakes Police believed there were at least 50 victims.

Lasch could not be reached Monday for comment.

Robocaller “Tom” banned by FTC

Posted by: Alejandra Matos Updated: March 12, 2014 - 3:47 PM

The company behind robocaller “Tom with home protection” has reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission for making illegal calls to millions of consumers on the National Do Not Call registry.

Versatile Marketing Solutions, based in Massachusetts, was banned from making “abusive” telemarketing calls or calling anyone on the Do Not Call registry after it called millions of consumers to pitch home security systems.

Versatile Marketing Solutions bought a list of phone numbers from a different company and did not check the numbers against the registry. Even after consumers complained about the calls, the FTC said the company continued to buy phone numbers from the same company.

Company fined for deceiving diabetics

Posted by: Alejandra Matos under Advertising claims Updated: March 10, 2014 - 9:48 PM

A California company claiming to have discovered a “diabetes breakthrough” was fined $2.2 million for making deceptive claims, the Federal Trade Commission announced last week.

A federal judge in the Northern District of California found Wellness Support Network Inc. made deceptive claims when marketing its “diabetic pack” and “insulin resistance pack” of dietary supplements. 

The FTC said the company claimed the diabetic pack was a treatment for diabetes, and the insulin resistance pack was a way of preventing diabetes. But the two packs contained identical blends of vitamins, minerals and plan extracts, according to the FTC.

The case is part of the FTC’s ongoing efforts to stop companies from making unsupported claims that natural remedies can cure serious diseases.

Woman charged in policy mill scam

Posted by: Alejandra Matos Updated: March 5, 2014 - 4:49 PM

A Brooklyn Center woman faces criminal charges after being accused of posing as an Esurance agent and selling fake auto insurance policies, according to the Minnesota Department of Commerce.

Arlesia Shannell Robinson was charged with two counts of aggravated forgery in Hennepin County after the commerce’s fraud bureau alleged that Robinson was forging insurance documents and selling them for cash. 

Robinson, who used the alias Amelia Hall, faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $40,000 fine. This is third suspected policy mill scam the department has charged in six months.

Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman said in a statement that consumers should always check the agency’s website to ensure their insurance agent is licensed in Minnesota.

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