The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest News

June 10, 2014

W.Va. Attorney General’s office warns residents of possible telephone scam

A Philippines-based marketing company made one Wyoming County resident nervous by mailing a “winner” postcard to her home and then requesting her financial information over the telephone, she reported Monday.

The woman said she received a postcard in the mail with a “claim number” and a toll-free telephone number. The postcard informed her that she had won a “free gift card” and listed two department stores.

When she called the number, she said a telemarketer asked for her bank card number in order to process a $1 shipping fee.

When she didn’t give the information, she said, asking to have the fee taken out of her “prize,” the representative hung up.

The Register-Herald called the number Monday afternoon and spoke to a man who identified himself as “Jack,” a “customer service representative” of “C2C Marketing.”

Jack stated that C2C Marketing, based in Manila, has “a thousand marketing partners” and, when requested to transfer the call to his supervisor or public relations team, he sent the call to a male who identified himself as “Mark Dillon.”

Dillon said that C2C isn’t a scam but rather a “cost savings program.” He stated that when a respondent calls C2C to get the free gift card and provides banking information, $1 is charged to the customer’s bank account to cover shipping and handling of the gift card.

Customers who pay the $1 shipping and handling fee are entered into a “cost savings program,” according to statements Dillon made.

The “cost savings program” is free for one week, he said.

After the free trial, Dillon said, $20 is charged per month to the bank card unless the customer cancels it.

“Along with the gifts, we’ve included a savings program, which they can get a discount,” he said. “If the customer is not interested in that, it’s perfectly fine.

“They don’t need to send anything back, but in many cases, the savings program is beneficial on them, and they would love to subscribe to that.”

He added that banking information is kept secure from third parties and that no unauthorized charges are made.

 

Beth Ryan, communications  director for West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s office in Charleston, urged residents to be on the alert for any telephone, mail or e-mail request for bank information.

Ryan said sometimes the “free gift card” mailings are scams.

They’re often e-mailed, and sometimes the suspect calls a resident’s home, she said.

The goal is to get financial information.

“This is a fairly common kind of scheme,” she said. “One thing people always need to remember is, if there is an offer where you have to pay something up front, you should be very cautious.

“If you have to give your credit card or a prepaid debit card in order to get something free, that should be a red flag.”

Finally, Ryan said, anyone should be suspicious about winning a prize in a contest they never entered.

—  E-mail: jfarrish@register-herald.com

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