Money-laundering victims are at risk of being misled again.
For a fee in advance, phoney asset recovery businesses approach victims of financial frauds, promising to retrieve stolen funds. It appears to be a terrific deal, but for one flaw: they provide little to no assistance and then leave with the pay.
There are numerous con artists out there who would like to take your hard-earned money. Being a victim of one of these deceptive money-making schemes can be a difficult pill to take. But being fooled again—especially by someone who offers to reclaim your assets—is far worse. To avoid being lured in by these skilled con artists, learn more about how they operate and what to look out for.
- Fake asset recovery firms target victims of financial frauds, promising to recover stolen cash in exchange for a fee up front but doing little to help.
- Scammers frequently sell lists of victims’ identities and phone numbers.
- The majority of so-called asset recovery firms make cold calls to former victims, claiming to be able to help them.
- If a corporation asks for upfront fees, uses aggressive tactics, promises inside connections, or demands secrecy, you may be sure they’re trying to swindle you.
How Asset Recovery Scams Work
The majority of con artists construct a list of persons who have been misled and sell it to others, including asset recovery con artists. Scammers can gather names and contact information from court documents, for example, to identify potential victims.
These individuals cold phone prior victims who have lost thousands of dollars and promise to be able to recover their funds. Victims are frequently desperate to get their money back. They frequently pay the upfront charge, which can range from a few hundred to thousands of dollars, putting themselves in even more financial difficulty. As a result, the asset recovery con artists are never successful in recouping any funds. When the victims attempt to follow up, they are either harassed or unable to reach anyone.
The asset recovery organisation will execute services in a less brazen version of the scam. But, in most cases, the user can do these things for free. Let’s imagine that in the original scam, someone fraudulently used a credit card to pay for something. For its time, trouble, and so-called legal knowledge, the asset recovery organisation will dispute the charge with the credit card company on behalf of their client and charge hundreds of dollars. In actuality, all it takes to challenge a disputed charge is a phone call to the card issuer, which has entire departments dedicated to dealing with such issues at no cost to the cardholder.
These con artists will frequently file a complaint with a government organisation such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and then demand payment to cover the costs of the filing. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, on the other hand, is a government regulatory organisation that does not collect a fee. Filing claims that are too old to be legally acceptable or failing to submit the necessary supporting paperwork are examples of other con games.
If you’ve been a victim of fraud before, you’re more likely to be a target for new scams since con artists know they’ll have a better chance of succeeding.
Example of an Asset Recovery Scam
After discovering that Consumer Collection Advocates falsely stated it could collect money for clients who were victims of schemes, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) stopped the company from selling any recovery services in 2015. The firm had been collecting fees from clients, many of whom were elderly, who had been harmed by timeshare resale and precious metals investment scams.
In 2016, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Securities and Exchange Commission both published advisory alerting senior consumers and investors to be on the lookout for asset recovery scams after receiving multiple complaints.
Warning Signs of an Asset Recovery Scam
How can consumers recognise a phoney asset recovery firm? If a corporation asks for an advance fee, it’s a red flag, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Requests for payment in advance should raise red flags. The majority of trustworthy companies do not charge a fee until after services have been performed. Consumers should be cautious of companies who do any of the following:
Uses aggressive, act now tactics
As a consumer, you have the right to take your time and seek guidance when making a financial decision. Alarm bells should go off if the company doesn’t afford you that time.
Claims to have inside information
Be wary of any firm that claims to have insider information or government ties that will assist you in recovering your stolen property. Because filing a complaint with a federal agency is free, any company that claims to have unique access or relationships is most likely lying.
If a corporation prohibits you from getting help or counsel from friends, family, or legal advisors, it is most certainly attempting to dupe you into paying for a useless service.
The best action to take if you receive a call from one of these characters, especially if it’s unsolicited, is to hang up the phone.
What to Do If You’ve Been Scammed
The good news is that you have options if you believe you have been a victim of an asset recovery scam. If you paid for a service with a credit or debit card, notify your bank or credit card company right away to report the fraud and prevent more charges from appearing on your card. You may be able to reclaim your damages if you file a dispute within 60 days. You should also call local law enforcement and register complaints with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission.
The Bottom Line
Consumers must be on the lookout for any attempts at financial fraud these days, as money-making scams are rather frequent. That includes the ultimate insult: a con artist who targets victims of a past scam, luring them in with false claims that it can retrieve all of their money. At best, this con artist will charge you for something you could accomplish for free yourself, and at worst, they will take your money for doing nothing.
Any company that demands payment up front, claims to have connections with regulators and law enforcement agencies, puts pressure on you, or asks confidentiality should be avoided.