If you get a call from a company called Cash Call, please call me immediately.
Cash Call is in the business of making short-term, high-interest loans to borrowers over the internet, or over the phone. While I have no evidence to support that Cash Call engages in any illegal activities, the number of phone calls from consumers reporting delinquent Cash Call loans that consumers are alleged to have taken out makes me very suspicious. Cash Call then very quickly turns these “delinquent” loans over to a very aggressive collection agency that threatens to take legal action against the borrower and report the alleged delinquency to all credit reporting agencies.
PROBLEM IS: The consumers have NEVER had any contact with Cash Call, let alone a loan! I suspect that identity thieves, using individuals’ stolen information, take out loans in the name of the unsuspecting and unknowing consumer. The problem is, the identity thieves never pay back the loans — big surprise!
Again, if you’re contacted by Cash Call or its collection agency, please call me immediately.
NEWS FLASH: Just as I was finishing my column, a reader from Post Falls called me and reported a very similar scam. The “debt collector” who called her didn’t know our Post Falls friend was a professional, legal, legitimate and honest payment processor — for many decades. The lady from Post Falls interrogated the scammer about the legitimacy of the debt and the caller’s company until the scammer hung up humiliated, frustrated and disgusted. Thanks for winning one for the rest of us!
WE’VE GONE NATIONAL: A call came in the other day from an area code in Palm Beach, Fla. Usually when that happens, I get excited and fire up my digital tape recorder to catch another crook and scammer. Much to my surprise and delight, it was Howard W., my new friend and fellow scam buster.
Howard is doing what I do, and a lot more. In addition to going after scammers, he’s also involved with his local sheriff’s department in “IDing” all the children in the county with fingerprints and in some cases DNA swabs. Howard said the CDA Press (and my column) is a big read in his area. It’s great when we can cooperate, in our hometown and across the country.
A PRETTY SHARP GRANDDAD: A fellow grandpa called me the other day. Turns out, his grandson, who’s away at college, called him to tell him about a $50,000 grant that the boy’s grandmother, who lives on the East Coast, had just received from a program administered by a lawyer back east.
He was adamant that the son said his grandma had already received the $50K IN CASH! Grandpa was calling me to see if this “grant” program was a scam. I asked him if his grandson had actually “talked” with his grandma. He assured me he had. I told him I doubted that he had. I suggested that, more than likely, the grandson and grandma had communicated by Facebook using the Instant Message function of that site. I urged him to call his grandson and have him CALL, not message his grandma. He did as I suggested.
The grandson called and grandma had NO idea what he was talking about. Crooks had hacked grandma’s Facebook account and were sending this message to ALL her contacts. When the grandson called his grandpa back, grandpa looked pretty sharp to the young college-educated whippersnapper! It’s all about looking good.
ROBOCALL ROADBLOCK: A lady called who was plagued with robocalls from the same number. The robo caller wouldn’t leave her alone. Some days she received as many as a dozen calls from the same number. She had no answering machine but had to answer calls from family, friends and her health care providers.
I suggested she forward her landline to her cell phone and then block the offending number on the cell phone. She gave this a try. Soon, the pestering caller stopped calling her. She could then un-forwarded her landline and got on with business as usual. There’s always more than one way to...
NEW DATA BREACHES: Saks, Lord & Taylor and My Fitness Pal all just announced major data breaches that could lead to identity theft of their users’ personal information. Once again, our friends at Experian are offering to “help” us — for a price.
All three major credit reporting agencies collect and sell your most personal information to the highest bidders. MY ADVICE: Don’t trust them to protect you. They have proven they can’t and they won’t but they will try to make a buck off of your fears and the dangers you are faced with.
NOT A COMMERCIAL FOR LIFELOCK, but check them out or services like them. For about $10 a month you can be pretty well protected. (Don’t let them sell you more than a Basic Membership and always pay for it with a credit card, NOT a debit card!
SAYING GOODBYE FOR THE SUMMER?: You don’t have to. I know many readers of the CDA Press come and go, according to the seasons like the swallows of Capistrano. When you leave, be it summer or winter, spring or fall, you don’t have to lose touch with our community. The Couer d’Alene Press has really established a great online presence. Case in point (not to toot my own horn; OK, yes it is): If you want to follow a well-written, timely and informative column (mine), you can always point your computer browser or mobile device to: https://bit.ly/2uQvdyh
That way you can keep up with my stories, bad spelling and worse punctuation, with sincere apologies to my high school rhetoric teacher. I really like to hear from readers of my column, even when it’s a complaint.
IF YOU’RE FINISHED WITH FACEBOOK: There’s a way to “poison” your Facebook data before you leave. That way they can’t use it to get to you (or sell it). I don’t have time today to provide you the details. I’ll include them in my next column. I’ll also show you how to delete all the secret information that Apple collects on you. Talk about Big Brother!
REMEMBER BITCOIN: I warned readers to be careful when Bitcoin was around $20K. Well Friday’s price was about $6,600. Aren’t you glad you didn’t jump in back then? MY ADVICE: Invest — don’t speculate.
REMEMBER BILL BROOKS: “He’s On Your Side”
I have many more tips and interesting cases that I’m working on. Call me at (208) 699-0506, or email me at BillBrooksAdvocate@gmail.com or fax me at (866) 362-9266. (#GoGetEmBillBrooks) You can follow me at www.billbrooksconsumeradvocate.com. I am available to speak about consumerism to schools, and local and civic groups. Bill Brooks is a consumer advocate and the Broker and Owner of Bill Brooks Real Estate in Coeur d’Alene.