Scam watch: Child identity theft, credit repair, investments
Here is a roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for.
Child identity theft –- Scammers have increasingly been using children’s social security numbers to steal their identities and establish fraudulent credit cards and loans, the Better Business Bureau said in a recent bulletin. In one instance, a 17-year-old girl’s personal information was used to run up $725,000 in fraudulent debt, much of which had gone into collection, the group said. Parents should encourage children to keep their personal information secure, according to Carrie A. Hurt, president of a Better Business Bureau office that serves central, coastal and southwest Texas. Anyone concerned about their children’s credit can run a check with one of the large credit-reporting agencies.
Credit repair operators –- The Federal Trade Commission has filed a lawsuit accusing operators of a credit-repair company in Texas of unlawfully charging fees before performing services. The lawsuit against RMCN Credit Services Inc. is part of a continuing crackdown on credit-repair companies that prey on people with financial problems, the FTC said in a news release. RMCN charged a retainer fee of up to $2,000, violating a federal law that prohibits such agencies from collect fees without performing any services.
Investment fraud –- A man who stole “at least $1 million” from investors has pleaded guilty to wire fraud and tax evasion, federal prosecutors in New Jersey said. Robert Schroy, who lived alternately in Illinois and California, told investors he would use their money in “international bank trade” but actually spent much of it on personal expenses, including cars, vacations and dining, the U.S. attorney’s office in Trenton, N.J., said in a news release. Schroy and his unidentified partners promised investors extraordinary gains -– ranging from 10% to 100% per week for 25 weeks, plus the return of their original investments. But he never invested the money, prosecutors said. The charges carry a maximum sentence of 25 years in federal prison.
-- Stuart Pfeifer