US citizens warned of 'Consumer Rewards Network' scam
Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox has warned consumers of telemarketers who are targeting Michigan residents, offering Wal-Mart shopping spree vouchers as a fraudulent way of obtaining consumers' information and authorisation to withdraw money from their bank accounts.
Complaints received by the Attorney General's office reveal that several calls have been made to Michigan residents. In them, telemarketers have offered the consumers vouchers worth up to US$500. In return, the consumer agrees to pay a US$4.95 shipping and handling fee. Consumers who surrender their account information later discover unauthorised withdrawals associated with "Mega Movie Club, Net4Ever, and Health Network Unlimited." A statement on Wal-Mart's Web site indicates these calls are a "scam."Signature not required Initial complaints indicate that the withdrawals are coming in the form of demand drafts, sometimes also called a "telecheck" or a "phone-check." These checks do not have to be signed by an account holder and instead indicate "signature not required" or a similar message in the authorised signature area. Generally banks cash them just like valid, signed checks. Complaints from other states suggest the callers may also be asking for credit card information.
Cox advises consumers who have fallen victim to this scam to immediately call their bank, explain the circumstances, and ask the bank to take all necessary steps to block unauthorised withdrawals. Consumers should then follow up the call with a visit to the bank and written notification, keeping a copy of the written notification.
File complaint Michigan consumers who have received these calls or provided account information are encouraged to file a complaint with the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division. Victims are asked to provide proof of the unauthorized charges (copies of the demand drafts or credit card statements). All who complain are asked to indicate whether the number called is on the FTC's national Do Not Call Registry. Complaints may be filed online, by calling 1-877-765-8388, or by writing to the Consumer Protection Division, P.O. Box 30213-7713, Lansing, MI 48909.