by Bridget Small
Consumer Education Specialist, Federal Trade Commission
To everyone who hangs up on unwanted calls, learns about the latest scams, and checks with friends about suspicious offers: good news!
People who did all those things were less likely to lose money to a scam than people who didn’t, according to Exposed to Scams: What Separates Victims from Non-Victims?, a report from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, the BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust, and the Stanford Center on Longevity. The groups surveyed more than 1,400 people who had reported a scam and found several differences between people who did and didn’t lose money.
The people who avoided scams:
- 1) Didn’t engage with a scam offer. Nearly half the people surveyed said they had ignored emails, thrown away mailers, and deleted friend requests. They had also hung up on bogus tax and debt collection calls, and imposter phishing scams.
- 2) Learned about scams and scammers’ tactics. People who knew more about specific scams and scammers’ tactics were more likely to reject an offer and avoid losing money. News stories were the top way to get information about frauds and scams for the majority of people surveyed.
- 3) Talked to someone. The people who had someone to talk with about the offers were less likely to lose money. Some people who were caught up in scams were helped by store cashiers, bank tellers, or wire transfer employees who talked them out of sending money. Sometimes sharing what you know can help protect someone you know from a scam.
The Truth About Forced Arbitration -- the real story emerges from data from the arbitration companies themselves
Forced arbitration is a rigged system designed by corporations in which injured workers and consumers have no meaningful chance of finding justice.
Forced arbitration requires Americans to “agree” to surrender fundamental constitutional rights – often without ever realizing they’ve done so.
When corporations harm workers and consumers by cheating, stealing, or even breaking the law, cases that should be heard by a judge or jury are instead funneled into a secret system controlled by the wrongdoers in which there is no right to go to court, no right to a jury, no right to a written record, no right to discovery, no transparency, no legal precedents to follow, no opportunity for group actions when it would be too difficult or costly to file a claim alone, no guarantee of an adjudicator with legal expertise, no transparency, and no meaningful judicial review. Without such checks and balances, the deck is stacked heavily against workers, patients, and consumers, and systemic misconduct is allowed to continue in secret.
Forced arbitration’s proponents counter that the process is faster, fairer, and better for workers and consumers than going to court. However, this comprehensive analysis of the self-reported data provided by the arbitration organizations makes clear that forced arbitration is not an alternative judicial process, but instead eliminates claims, immunizes corporations, and allows abuse, discrimination, fraud, and essentially all other corporate wrongdoing to go unchecked.
Americans are more likely to be struck by lightning than they are to win a monetary award in forced arbitration.
Click on the image to get a copy of the full report or download it here.
Another good story explaining why YOU should submit your comments on the CFPB's new debt collection rules by 18 September
How Collectors Trick Consumers into Reviving Dead Debts
Source: The Washington Post
Debt collectors are not allowed to sue on old debts that have expired. These debts are so old that there is often little or no proof showing who owes the debt and how much is owed. The most common complaint about debt collectors is that they harass consumers for debts that the consumers do not owe. And debt collectors are finding new ways to exploit loopholes and trick consumers into reviving zombie debts.
Oklahoma social worker and mother of five Terrie Raymer was one victim of the collections industry's new tricks. A debt collector garnished 19 cents from Raymer's paycheck and later sued her, claiming that the 19 cent garnishment had brought the debt back to life.
Another collector fooled consumers with zombie debts by offering them new credit cards, but then enrolling them into a repayment program for their old debts without their permission.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has proposed a new rule that would loosen the standards for debt collectors who sue on old debts by allowing them to argue they did not know the debt was expired. Read More.
YOU can help stop zombie debt collection
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has extended the comment period for its (terrible) proposed rule on debt collection to
September 18, 2019.
You can submit your comment through NACA's convenient portal to tell the CFPB that consumers need better protection from unfair zombie debt collection.
NACA is also collecting signatures on a petition that will be submitted to the CFPB. Sign and share the petition so we can show the CFPB that consumers want better protection from abusive debt collection tactics.
Wells Fargo tries to send Innocent Pastor to Jail, Then Insists Pastor Should be Forced to Arbitrate Claims Against Wells Fargo
If there was ever a case that showed exactly how forced arbitration encourages and promotes corporate misconduct and arrogance, this is it. A pastor wrongly accused of theft because of Wells Fargo's screwup simply asks for an explanation and for Wells to pay his legal fees, fees he was forced to incur solely because of Wells and its screwup.
Wells tells him to go fly a kite, "apologizing" but refusing to cover his legal bills. And now Wells is trying to hide the case behind the stone wall of forced arbitration, where the judge of the case (the private arbitrator) is literally on Wells Fargo's payroll.
Starting in the 1970s, a series of radical decisions by the US Supreme Court tossed out the 70 years of precedent barring forced arbitration in employment and consumer cases. Since then, we've seen the entire civil justice system in America has essentially been gutted by these forced arbitration clauses in consumer and employment cases. Corporations use these clauses to cover up when they lie, cheat and steal, and arbitration protects outrageous criminal conduct by corporations by keeping others harmed in the same ways of having any ability to even know that others are fighting the same fight.
Forced arbitration is the end of any concept of Equal Justice Under Law in America, and its use is a huge part of the reason that while most Americans are struggling to keep up, the richest of the rich are becoming even richer without bounds.
John Gear is a Salem attorney.