Finance and Economics > The Money Board

Financial scams (online, phone, mail, etc)

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Mr. Bill:
MODERATOR NOTE: Just merged ten old threads about various financial scams.

Mr. Bill:
"Who's Who" scams...

These are aimed at older folks who are a little bit famous, maybe just in their own field.

Marquis Who's Who is not a scam.  Well, not really.  They've been publishing the well-known "Who's Who" directories for ages, and have branched out into specialized directories and special honors.  Listings and honors are free.  But you might want to buy a copy of the book.  And you might want to pay for a press announcement.  And (etc etc etc).  But they're not a scam.

However, there are REAL scammers who are much less honest.  I'm not going to name names, because these guys are professional con-men, and they've been doing various scams for decades, and I don't want to get sued.

How it works:  They contact a person who has recently received some honor or award, e.g. from Marquis Who's Who.  They might not exactly claim to be associated with Marquis but they will probably give that impression.

They will tell the target person about yet another honor that he/she has been selected for.  And they won't make it entirely clear what, exactly, you're signing up for, but once they have a credit card number, there will be a charge for a quarter-page press release ($1500).  Or a half-page press release ($2000).  Or a radio interview ($2500).  Or quite possibly all three.

The "press release" (if ever published) will be on a blog that nobody reads.  The "radio interview" (if ever recorded) will be on a podcast that nobody listens to.  The claim that your info will be sent to all major search engines merely means that Google can index their blog/podcast.

Just something to watch for if you have elderly relatives who are a little bit famous and a little bit easy to trick.

That reminds me of the modeling school scam. Our neighbor's fell for that one. They flatter dad & mom on what a beautiful model their daughter would be and sign them up for modeling school. Our neighbor's daughter is knock-kneed and trots like a duck and has a face that is less than ordinary. I suppose there are variations for little boys too, "your son would really be good at martial arts and we've got a school for that".

Mr. Bill:
Here's a medical billing scam.  You get a call from "Consumer Collections" or some similarly-named outfit.  They say you had medical lab work done by US Diagnostic Labs on a specific date in March or April 2018, and they may have lots of believable details about the blood tests that were done.  Some of the tests weren't covered by your insurance, and you now owe a specific amount of money which will be between $300-$450.  And you have to pay today, over the phone, otherwise a judgement will be recorded against you (or some similar ominous thing).

They will be polite and helpful, or threatening and rude, depending on your reaction.

It's a scam.  They almost caught my parents today (and nearly tricked my brother, who happened to be the one who answered the phone).

They use many different phone numbers (in our case it was 909-358-6165), and several different generic-sounding names, and claim to be collecting for several different generic-sounding labs.

Here's an example with lots of reports of the same scam:


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