Finance Globe

U.S. financial and economic topics from several finance writers.
3 minutes reading time (563 words)

Avoid Falling Prey to a Credit Card Scam

If you have limited credit or a rocky credit history, rest assured that there are credit card lenders that will consider you for a credit card.

It’s true that you will pay more for financing than someone who has a good to excellent credit history. Your interest rates will be higher, you’ll be unlikely to qualify for credit card benefits such as rewards or low-interest introductory rates and balance transfers, and you may even be required to pay application fees and monthly service fees - all for a relatively low line of credit.

It’s simply the cost of getting a second chance at rebuilding your credit.

But in your search for the right card to get your credit record back on track, be very careful that any card you’re considering is being offered by a legitimate credit card issuer. Scammers are out there in full force, looking to take advantage of those who can least afford it.

The Federal Trade Commission just reported yesterday that - as part of the agency’s ongoing crackdown on schemes that prey on financially strapped consumers - they put a stop to yet another credit card scam.

According to the FTC charges, the operators behind the Platinum Trust Card and Express Platinum Card allegedly found their potential victims by calling consumers who had applied online for a payday loan. The defendants allegedly offered consumers a platinum credit card with a credit limit of up to $9500, for an advance fee of up to $99 and a monthly fee of up to $19.

The FTC alleges that the defendants falsely told consumers that their new platinum credit cards would help rebuild their credit and could be used anywhere VISA, MasterCard, Or American Express are accepted, when in reality the cards could only be used at the defendants’ own online store to purchase “off-brand, overpriced products.”

For allegedly peddling phony credit cards and illegally debiting the bank accounts of applicants, the sellers of the bogus “platinum credit card” have been hit with a judgement of over $7.5 million, had their assets frozen, and have been permanently banned from telemarketing and credit card marketing.

People with limited credit histories are often targeted for credit card scams, since predators know that these consumers have fewer options and may be more desperate for credit. To avoid falling prey to fraudulent "lenders," the FTC advises consumers to recognize the signs of a credit card scam:

A lender who is not interested in your credit history.
Callers who say "Bad credit? No problem!" or "No hassle guaranteed!" are not to be trusted. Why would someone out of the blue just call you up and offer you credit on easy terms?
  • "Your loan is guaranteed." Legitimate lenders never "guarantee" that you will receive a loan before you apply.
  • A lender who uses a copy-cat or "wanna-be" name. Crooks give their companies names that sound like well-known or respected organizations and create websites that look slick. Some scam artists have pretended to be the Better Business Bureau or similar reputable organizations.
  • A lender who is not registered in your state. Lenders and loan brokers are required to register in the states where they do business.
  • A lender who asks you to wire money or pay an individual. Don't wire or make any payment for a loan or credit card directly to an individual.

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Monday, 27 May 2024

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