Victims of scams are understandably angry, upset and often times vulnerable. If someone comes along and offers to help them recover their losses, or prevent future losses, they are often receptive.
It's always a bad idea. It's a practice known as "reloading." In Florida, Attorney General Pam Bondi has sued a company called Scammer Guard, accusing it of falsely advertising "scam protection services."
Bondi's suit alleges that Scammer Guard told consumers they were affiliated with the Florida Attorney General’s Office, the Federal Trade Commission, and other government agencies to obtain consumer refunds, and claimed to have access to “special” information regarding obtaining these funds. The company also allegedly claimed to be conducting the investigations on behalf of these government agencies. None of this was true, Bondi says.
According to the complaint, Scammer Guard charged consumers up-front fees of $250 to $750 for these services. Bondi points out that advance fees are illegal for foreclosure-related rescue and certain recovery services.
The Broward County, Fla., Circuit Court granted Bondi's motion for a temporary injunction to stop the company's deceptive practices.
“This fraudulent scheme preyed on consumers who had already suffered financial harm,” Bondi said. “Consumers should never fall for any representation that the Attorney General’s Office partners with private companies to obtain consumer refunds or that our office charges consumers any fees.”
Cease and desist
The Court’s injunction requires Scammer Guard and its principal to cease all such misrepresentations and precludes the company from transferring any assets other than in the normal course of business.
Scam victims, meanwhile, should never pay for the services of an individual or company to help them deal with a scam. Instead, they should contact their state attorney general's office for help.