Around 150,000 People Were Scammed Into Paying for Magazines They Didn't Even Want; Here's How
Sometimes the most mundane-looking advertisements that pop-up while surfing the web, or promotional calls most ignore, could be a part of sophisticated fraudulent schemes. As part of one such scam, 150,000 victims across the United States unwittingly signed up for a magazine subscription that they did not even want, resulting in the loss of tens of thousands of dollars. The case raised eyebrows during the trial of three people charged in a $300 million telemarketing scam.
Amondo Antoine Miller, Ballam Hazeakiah Dudley, and Tashena Lavera Crumpare among the five dozen defendants in the case who have pleaded guilty and have agreed to cooperate with the government.
The seamless scheme
According to a victim Penny Mashburn, some kids knocked on her door in Franklinville, N.C., and sold her two subscriptions. However, she soon started to receive magazines even after she asked them to stop sending her any more magazines.
Mashburn's sister, Nancy Stowe, who helped them with their Medicaid application had a look at their bank account and realized exactly how big this hit was to her and her husband, and how much money had been taken from them.
They soon realized that dozens of companies named Central Subscription Services and Readers Club Home Office had been taking away money directly from their bank account multiple times each month for years! The total loss from the Mashburn family accounted for almost $68,000.
How does this scam work?
Scammers pretended to be working for real and ethical periodical publishers and convinced the victims that they had pre-existing businesses with them. Sometimes they even offered discounts and lured people to accept. For instance, Carlos Kentrell Smith from Midwest Publishers Home Office called Rose Cubur of Stanford and offered her a $5 discount on her subscriptions, which she accepted. What Smith was oblivious to was the fact that Cubur was an undercover agent from across town. The inspector's fake identity was taken out from another fraudulent company which was run by Wayne Robert Dahl Jr.
Dahl is now testifying for the government and agreed to the fact that he had started the fraudulent company after getting out of federal prison where he was sent for selling methamphetamine. He said that he was "morally bankrupt" and tried not to think about all the lies that he was telling, and the old people that were getting robbed.
How to recognize and steer clear of fraud
Uninvited contacts should be ignored at any cost. Always remember, what seems too good to be true is more often than not just that. Some con artists even know ways to use fake caller IDs and therefore it's important to verify before trusting.
Knowing their finances not only helps people track any suspicious activity but also shields them from falling for lines like, "You are behind on your payments and your electricity will be going to be shut off." Therefore, it's important to know everything about one's bank account as well as monthly expenditure.
The first step to shielding personal information is determining what is confidential and what is not. Bank account details, credit card details, and social security numbers are some things nobody should have access to. It's important to understand that scammers are always fishing for information and once you do share your information you will be more susceptible to scams.
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