The MyChargeBack Blog

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Yes, Scammers Do Get Caught

Not all scammers are pros. Some scammers do get caught.

The most common questions scam victims ask when they contact us at MyChargeBack may very well be these:

1. Do scammers get caught?

2. Do police ever arrest them?

3. Will they ever serve time in prison?

The answer to all those questions is “yes.” Some scammers do get caught, and the chances are excellent that those who are will wind up in prison. Others, perhaps most, are luckier, and get away with it.

Amateur Scammers Do Get Caught

You may have missed it, but earlier this month two Mississippi men tried to fake a winning lottery ticket. Their story sounds like an Abbott and Costello routine, but it’s absolutely true.

The dynamic duo from the Magnolia State pasted the winning numbers on their lottery ticket in a vain attempt to claim the $100,000 prize. That was a fatal mistake, since it was a “scratch ticket.” The numbers on scratch tickets are invisible when you buy them because there is a silvery film that  hides them. Buyers literally have to scratch it off with a coin or their nails to uncover the numbers underneath, so lottery agents will immediately spot anything pasted on them. And that’s exactly what happened. Police arrested the two after they showed up at the lottery office to collect what they expected to be their ill gotten gains.

International Cooperation

In October 2019, the U.S. Department of Justice made a dramatic announcement. Extensive international coordination resulted in the arrests of 281 scamming suspects across four continents. A total of 167 in Nigeria, 74 in the United States, 18 in Turkey, and 15 in Ghana. Police in France, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, and the United Kingdom arrested the remainder. The codename of the joint effort was Operation reWired, and it was the largest such bust of scammers in history. But it wasn’t the first such international effort.

A few weeks earlier the Department of Justice indicted 80 others and charged them with money laundering. Authorities succeeded in locating and arresting 14 of them by that time.  And a year before, another international operation called Wire Wire succeeded in nabbing 74 alleged scammers.

Yes, You Can Catch a Scammer Yourself

It sounds like the theme of a comedy film, but yes, there are instances in which the intended victim turns the tables and winds up catching the scammer. The most notable (and probably the most comical) case involved an intended victim named William Webster. If that name doesn’t immediately ring a bell, he happens to be the only man in history who served as director of the FBI as well as the CIA.

In 2014, a Jamaican named Keniel Thomas contacted Webster (among, it turned out, many others) claiming he was calling from Mega Millions, one of the two main jackpot lotteries in the U.S. He congratulated the former FBI and CIA director for winning several million dollars and a Mercedez-Benz in the jackpot. To collect the cash and the car, Thomas told Webster that he had to send him $50,000 to cover taxes and other assorted fees.

Webster understood immediately that it was a scam. He alerted the FBI, which arrested Thomas in New York in 2017 when he stepped off his flight from Jamaica. A court convicted him and the judge have him a prison sentence of more than six years. Webster, of course, never paid Thomas, but others did. All told, Thomas succeeded in scamming hundreds of thousands of dollars from his victims.

What You Can Do

The moral of the story, however, is that you too can catch someone who attempts to scam you. If you suspect that someone who contacts you is a scammer, report it to your local law enforcement authorities. If the scam involves investments or trading in stocks, bonds, forex, CFDs, binary options, or other type of financial instrument, report it to your relevant national financial regulator.

But if you are the victim of a scam, know that we at MyChargeBack are on your side and are ready to assist in recovering your funds.

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‘Twas the Scam Before Christmas

“’It was the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.”

— from the poem by Clement Clarke Moore

The mice might not be stirring the night before Christmas, but the Christmas scammers are. Not all through your house, of course, but all through the internet. And if you don’t take the necessary precautions when you shop for Christmas presents, the scammers, rather than St. Nicholas, will soon be there. You’ll be a victim of a scam before Christmas.

In America, the holiday shopping season traditionally begins on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. In recent years, Black Friday expanded far beyond the borders of the United States. It is now a truly international phenomenon. The initial shopping rush now extends past the weekend into what has become known as Cyber Monday.

From then on through Christmas eve, shopping is at its apex. Last year, holiday-timed purchases exceeded $1 trillion. The National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts it will break that record this year. As you can well imagine, scammers see the holiday crunch as hanging fruit, ready for the picking. After all, when demand is at its peak, legitimate merchants may have a hard time keeping up with demand. And the closer Christmas is the more the demand grows. The NRF estimates that 18 percent of Americans wait until December to buy their holiday presents.

It’s Easier for Christmas Scammers than Ever Before

The only challenge holiday scammers face, therefore, is leveling the playing field to enable them to compete with real merchants. That was a problem yesteryear when people shopped in brick and mortar stores. For the most part, they no longer do.

The internet is the reason why. According to Deloitte (which is the largest professional services network in the world), two-thirds of American shoppers begin their search for holiday gifts online. And that statistic is also growing year-by-year. Now add to that two more relevant Deloitte stats:

  • 58 percent of all Christmas shoppers in the U.S. rely on social media to help them decide what to buy
  • And 61 percent of Americans would gladly reveal personal information to get special deals

Why Are These Numbers Important?

Advertising on social media sites is cheap as opposed to television and radio, which can reach mass audiences of competing size. So virtually anyone can afford a social media ad campaign. And they can reach gazillions of people at one fell swoop. Most importantly, they can do so when shopping is reaching a fever pitch. And when the availability of the most popular and trendy presents is being exhausted.

So, it’s one week before Christmas, or even, as in the poem, the night before. You see a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram ad for the perfect present you haven’t been able to buy until now. Perhaps it’s a holiday getaway on a warm Caribbean island. Or a brand-new car at an unbelievably reduced price. Maybe a laptop, 75-inch TV or an entire home entertainment system.

What’s sure is that the price can’t be beat. So, you order it online. Or fill in the contact form for more information. That form asks for your name, number and email address, of course. Maybe even your credit or debit card number (just for purposes of identification, the form will say). In any event, like 61 percent of other Americans, you don’t think twice about revealing personal information on some site you’re convinced is legit. Besides, the clock is ticking before St. Nick comes down the chimney.

But What Happens if It’s a Scam Before Christmas?

If it is a scam before Christmas, your best bet scenario is that you’ll become a victim of identity theft. The scammer will use your name and contact information for any one of a variety of nefarious purposes.

The other possibility is that you click on the link in the ad and go to the scam or spoofed website it leads to. You make what you assume is a purchase and provide your CVV2 or verification code on the back of your card to complete the transaction. Needless to say, you will not receive what you ordered. The odds are you won’t get anything. If you do get something it’ll be a cheap imitation of what you expected. By then, the scammer will disappear with your money. And with your credit or debit card number and its verification code. He’ll then be able to withdraw cash from your bank account. Either until he empties your account entirely or you bank notifies you that something unusual is happening.  

Bottom line: Be careful. And Merry Christmas from MyChargeBack. We’ll be here on the holidays if you need us.

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Did Thomas Cook Leave Your Money Stranded?

Image by robertescu from Pixabay

When Thomas Cook suddenly went out of business, the chaos that ensued was unprecedented. Travelers, travelers-to-be, and employees were in disarray. Today MyChargeBack presents you with the situation as it currently stands, as well as options for getting your money back, should that be relevant for you.

Thomas Cook was one of the world’s first and oldest travel agencies. It operated in one form or another continuously for nearly two centuries. Everything came crashing down, however, on September 23, 2019. Whether the end was sudden or not depends on how closely you’ve been paying attention. But it was certainly sudden enough to strand hundreds of thousands of travelers overseas with no clear way of getting home.

A Very Impressive Operation

The British government stepped in to perform possibly the greatest peacetime repatriation in the country’s (and perhaps the world’s) history. From the point of view of logistics and responsibility, it was a very impressive operation.

Other government bodies and private companies are stepping in as well. They aim to ensure the tens of thousands of suddenly unemployed Thomas Cook employees will be able to rejoin the workforce as quickly as possible.

Finally, there are hundreds of thousands of people who purchased and paid for upcoming holiday packages that are now cancelled. They, of course, all need their money back. But how exactly is that going to happen? The British government website provides the following advice:

Passengers with ATOL protection who are yet to travel are entitled to a full refund on any future bookings. Customers without ATOL protection should speak to their credit card provider or the company they booked their holiday with. You can also speak to your travel insurance provider to see if you are able to claim back any of their costs.

What Is ATOL?

The acronym stands for the Air Travel Organiser’s Licence. It’s a scheme that gives consumers certain protections regarding holiday packages involving air travel. Figuring out whether your specific case qualifies for protection might be easier said than done. Especially considering the deluge of cases that are now pouring in. But assuming you do get through and get the bad news that you’re not covered, what now?

The government’s advice to contact your credit card company is almost charmingly naive and optimistic. Your credit card company (or more precisely, the bank that issued your card to you) is very knowledgeable and efficient at dealing with chargebacks involving unauthorized transactions.  Those are purchases made without your knowledge, such as with a stolen card or stolen data. But they are notoriously inefficient and ignorant (not to mention suspicious) regarding authorised transactions in which the contracted goods or services were not provided.

Don’t Let Scammers Take Advantage of You

This situation has created the perfect opening for a group of professional criminals operating holiday scams. They have begun calling, emailing, and texting customers promising easy refunds. All you have to do is give them your credit card number and security code, and they’ll take care of the rest. If you fall for it, they have all the information they need to steal massive sums of money from you. Plus, of course, you didn’t get the holiday expenses back

This is where we step in. MyChargeBack is an international fund recovery firm with a truly global clientele. We have helped thousands of consumers worldwide recover millions of dollars over the last three years.

If you’re a Thomas Cook victim residing outside of the United Kingdom who needs help getting your booking fees refunded, contact us today for a free fund recovery consultation.

Chinese Citizens Targeted by Student Visa Scams

Hundreds of thousands of Chinese citizens studying in educational institutions around the world risk losing vast amounts of money — as well as their student visas — to a raft of university student visa scams run by a number of Chinese criminal gangs.

Starting a new life as a university student can be accompanied by a strange mix of feelings: excitement, uncertainty, confidence, and fear. All of these are magnified if you’re a foreigner whose higher education is taking place far from home, and in an unfamiliar language. And if you happen to be a Chinese citizen studying at a Western university, the risks are even greater.

There are close to a million Chinese students studying at institutions in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and other English-speaking countries. Nearly all of them require some sort of special student visa to allow them to remain enrolled. Every one of those students is a potential victim of a visa scam.

Your Money … or Else

Imagine you’re quietly minding your business when all of a sudden you get a phone call from a man speaking Mandarin, claiming to be a police officer or immigration official from back home. He claims to be in possession of evidence incriminating you in money laundering or some other serious crime. You have to return to China right away to answer for you alleged crimes. Your visa will be cancelled. You’ll be deported. Your university career is over.

Or maybe not. He informs you that there is a way out for you after all: pay up. Some callers may call it a “fine” or “bail,” but the bottom line is they claim that if you transfer money to them, they can make your problem go away. How much money? Tens of thousands of dollars. Even hundreds of thousands. Enough money to wipe out an entire family’s life savings, and more. 

How University Student Visa Scams Find You

The scams are run by a sophisticated criminal network with access to considerable resources. In most cases they find new victims to extort in one of two general ways.

The first is by targeting specific individuals. An associate may scout you out at the airport or on campus. They may even steal your laptop, if they can, to gain background information about you or to have more leverage or plausibility for the scam. At the very least, they’ll know your name and enough identifying details to scare the life out of you. It seems like this has been the method of choice among the scammers operating in the UK.

The other way these scammers find their victims works in the opposite direction: by casting as wide a web as possible. Scammers have been sending out innumerable robocalls (in Mandarin of course). They know that the vast majority of recipients will hang up because they won’t understand a single word. Thousands of Americans and Australians, for example, report getting these Chinese robocalls. But all the fraudsters need is to reach just one or two Chinese nationals. If they think the call is legitimate, the effort will all be worthwhile for the scammers. The recorded spiel instructs them to call back a specific number, and the real scam begins.

In addition to visa scams, the same crime gangs also perpetrate grandparent scams, tax impersonations scams, and others. If you think you may have been a victim of a scam, contact MyChargeBack today for a free consultation to see if we can get your money back.

Stuck in the “Bonus” Spiderweb

Forex trading bonus scams prevent investors from withdrawing their funds

Many unregulated online scam brokerage sites simply steal all of your deposits. The “trading” is entirely fictitious. The professional-looking trading platform on their websites is, in actuality, completely phony. It’s a sham designed to make the inevitable losses look legitimate — just unlucky. And among their principal tools are forex trading bonus scams.

Here at MyChargeBack we hear it all. We’ve spoken to thousands of victims of online trading scams from over a hundred countries. They have been burned by phony forex and binary options brokers and a host of others scammers. Criminals masquerading as “brokers” have endless ways of separating you from your money, and they’re always thinking of new ones. 

Often, when you request a withdrawal, the fraudster will approve it on the condition that you first pay a processing fee (or whatever else he chooses to call it). Before you do so, ask yourself if that makes any sense. If the fee is less than your balance, why don’t they simply deduct it before crediting you the remainder? The reality is that this “fee” is just the final payment you will make towards your broker’s new car before he stops answering your phone calls and emails.

There Is No Such Thing as Free Money!

The one ploy our clients fall victim to more than any other is the innocent-sounding but malignant “bonus.” But it’s all fake. There are no bonuses. These are forex trading bonus scams. 

Ah, free money! Who wouldn’t want that? We all would, and scammers know that. Beware, therefore, of shady online brokers handing out money like the tooth fairy. You can get a bonus for signing up, forking over additional sums of money or getting your friends to sign up. Why are they so generous? Because they know they’ll never have to actually part with any of that money. And they know that because they’ll never allow you to withdraw it. That’s why these traps are forex trading bonus scams!

“What,” you say, “the bonus isn’t real?” Oh it’s real. A real trap. By accepting the bonus, you agree to a set of restrictions so abstruse, so convoluted that your average lawyer would have difficulty deciphering and applying it.

What Are the Restrictions?

The fine details vary considerably from one broker to another. In any case, the broker probably won’t tell you about them beforehand. If you look for them you’ll be hard pressed to find them. If they’re posted on the broker’s site, they’ll be hidden in the small print on the “Terms & Conditions” page along with a lot of legalese you may not even understand. 

But the bottom line is that before you can withdraw the bonus your have to use it in trading. A lot of it. You might need to trade upwards of $1,000 for every single dollar of bonus money you get. Even without the broker gaming the system, if you trade that amount you are almost statistically guaranteed to lose the rest of your money at some point. But the nastier brokers won’t even take that chance. They’ll make sure your account tanks. That way, if they’re convincing enough, you’ll never even think to go after them. You’ll just think you made a bad investment. Which is exactly what they want you to think.

If, however, you try to withdraw your balance when it’s still in the black you’ll discover just how trapped you are. Your whole account is encumbered and you just watch helplessly as it slides lower and lower, unable to get your money out. You’re in the bonus spiderweb, and the more you struggle, the more tightly it grips you.

If you’re a victim of an online investment scam, contact MyChargeBack today for a free fund recovery consultation. We’re an American company with a global reach. Working opposite over 750 banks, we have helped clients on every continent recover millions of dollars in funds that they thought were lost for good.

When Cases Aren’t “Worth It” to File Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

If you follow the news, you have a pretty good idea how much money there is in medical malpractice lawsuits. Multi-million dollar judgments and settlements make headlines, after all, and it’s no surprise that doctors normally pay tens of thousands of dollars a year in malpractice insurance premiums. And millions more to their medical malpractice lawyers. So you might assume that medical malpractice lawsuits are a plaintiff’s shortcut to fabulous riches, or at least a reliable way for victims of negligence to get their lives back on track.

But you’d be wrong.

The splashy headlines hide a more sober reality. The truth is that, for a variety of reasons, the vast majority of medical malpractice victims have no recourse to the legal system to set things right. The biggest hurdle for victims is, ironically, the huge amount of money that flows from these cases. How does that compute?

Why Aren’t Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Always Worth It?

Let’s say you’re a victim of clear-cut malpractice. You paid $20,000 for cosmetic surgery and the surgeon forgot to remove the sponge before sewing you up, leading to infection, repeated surgery, and permanent scarring. It’s an open-and-shut case. You set up an appointment at your local law office and meet with a highly regarded, experienced, and recommended lawyer. He looks over your records, asks a few questions, and politely declines. “I’m sorry, but I just don’t think we have a case here. Best of luck in the future.”

Before you lose your temper, take the time to understand why the lawyer refused. He’s not a bad guy, but he does need to make a living, while at the same time serving his clients’ interests. And your case won’t make him or you any money. Neither of you will ever see a dime.

What Do Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Require?

Successfully filing (let’s not even talk about winning yet) medical malpractice lawsuits requires huge investments of time and resources. The doctor’s insurance is going to fight it tooth and nail. Unlike other personal injury cases,medical malpractice lawsuits won’t even get off the ground without a huge amount of professionally-prepared expert evidence. Your lawyer is going to have to pay other doctors and professionals thousands (or tens or hundreds of thousands) of dollars for depositions. He needs to prove two things:

  1. That the defendant’s actions were negligent and contrary to the accepted standard of care.
  2. That the injury you suffered was directly caused by the above negligence and not by something or someone else.

After that, he needs to set a dollar amount for damages. The law does not allow for an arbitrary amount. It needs to be based on real world values, including lost income and the impact on you and your family. So if you were unable to work for a year, and your income is $40,000, compare the value of the lawsuit to a similar case for a victim who makes half a million. No comparison, right? And if your income is affected for the rest of your life, the number of years left until retirement, as well as the number of dependents, will also affect the value of the case.

Is Your Attorney Working on Contingency?

Now consider that your lawyer is working on contingency. That means he’s paying for the whole case out of his pocket. He will only make as a percentage of your payout in the event you win. If the payout is — let’s say — $100,000, but the case costs $120,000 to bring to court, that means you get nothing. And your lawyer loses $20,000. In such a situation, you have no case.

Think you’re alone? Numbers are notoriously hard to come by, but it seems like between three quarters and nine tenths of legitimate medical malpractice victims are unable to get a lawyer to represent them just because their case isn’t “worth it.”

Before even speaking to a malpractice attorney, therefore, concentrate first on what is achievable  now. You paid for a procedure that not only didn’t succeed, it caused damage. You deserve your money back. And the quickest path to recovering your funds is through a chargeback.

Challenging medical professionals can be very complex and mistakes can cost you. MyChargeBack will analyze your case and assist you throughout the entire recovery process.  So if you have been victimized by any type of medical malpractice, consult with our fund recovery experts at MyChargeBack to see if there is a chargeback strategy that is appropriate for your case.

Nightmare Domestic Medical Tourism

Medical tourism is a growing business model. Statistics can barely keep up with it because it is expanding so rapidly. And not all the numbers tell a happy tale. In far too many cases, patients end up sicker than ever due to poorly trained practitioners providing low quality products in substandard facilities. It’s one thing when these things happen overseas, but nightmares such as these occur in Florida as well. Welcome to the world of domestic medical tourism.

When you hear about medical tourism it’s natural for your mind’s eye to conjure images of poor tropical or Eastern European destinations offering short waiting times and low prices compared to treatment back home. Depending on the clinic and the doctor (and luck), the experience can be wonderful. But far too often it’s just the opposite. Botched surgeries, the wrong surgery, severe infections, and even death result from unfortunate medical tourism cases.

Which Country Hosts the Most Medical Tourists?

But did you know that the world’s top medical tourism destination is actually the United States? This little-known reality is the result of a number of factors. One is the presence of many of the world’s top hospitals and doctors. Naturally, they draw patients from around the world who can afford to pay for the very best. Another is domestic medical tourism. The U.S. is a big country. Laws, regulations and prices vary considerably from one state (or region or city) to another. So just as a Texan may consider traveling to Mexico for treatment, a New Yorker may go to Florida. Some American health insurance providers even promote domestic medical tourism as a way to control costs.

South Florida has become a hotspot for all kinds of domestic medical tourism. It’s not surprising, therefore, that it’s where many of the horror stories come from. A few months ago we published a report detailing the scandals coming from the addiction treatment industry there. Some of the scams involved keeping the victims addicted in order to keep the money flowing from insurance and concerned relatives.

Horror Stories of Domestic Medical Tourism

Now we are seeing news of similar shocking events at a number of South Florida cosmetic surgery clinics. Some of them are literally run by convicted criminals. They market their discount plastic surgery deals primarily to African-American and Latino women throughout the United States, as well as in Caribbean countries. Upon arriving at the clinic, patients are rushed through their procedures and wake up in the recovery room almost before they know what happened. Numerous cases of unsightly permanent scars and irreversible deformity have been documented. Needless to say, this is not consistent with the aims of cosmetic surgery. But it gets worse.

Some patients have been left permanently disabled or suffering chronic pain from their surgeries. Others have experienced severe infections, punctured internal organs, kidney failure, and shock. One surgeon forgot to remove a surgical sponge before sewing his patient closed. And over a dozen women have died.

The Florida state legislature has been trying to rein in the abuse for over a decade, but so far its efforts have come to little avail. Meanwhile, hundreds of women continue to suffer the ongoing effects of substandard surgical care. To add insult to injury, they paid thousands of dollars for the “privilege.”

If you are the victim of a medical tourism scam, it may be possible to get your money back. Contact MyChargeBack today to schedule a free consultation with our fund recovery experts.

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Pet Scams

If you’ve never run across online pet scams you might not even believe how widespread and damaging they are.

A purebred dog can cost a lot of money. Hundreds of dollars. Thousands even. So can cats, not to mention more exotic pets like horses, llamas, tortoises, and rare birds. While dogs remain the subject of the most widespread of online pet scams, all follow the same story line. And if you have fallen victim to one, you know just how much money and emotional toil it cost you.

Typically, pet scammers operate a website, often tied into ads on Facebook, Craigslist or Instagram. Their ads offer purebred puppies at prices significantly lower than reputable breeders. In some cases, they even offer the pet for “free” as long as you pay for shipping, vaccination, and other medical and registration fees.

If you respond to an ad, they will often attempt to sound above board by doing their due diligence questions. Like asking questions about the size of your house and yard, the number of children in your family, how often the dog will be left alone, and so forth.

Once they gain your trust and you agreed on a price, they will demand an unusual payment method. It may be gift cards, prepaid debit cards, bank wire transfers, or cryptocurrency. What all these methods have in common is that they are difficult or impossible to trace and recover. That’s no surprise, since criminals like to avoid getting caught or losing their loot. But the untraceable payment has the added benefit of camouflaging their location.

Where Are Pet Scams Located?

Online pet scammers normally pretend that they’re in the same country as you are, but far enough away to make it impossible to meet face-to-face. Or at least close enough not to make shipping a puppy seem like a bizarre idea. But, in all likelihood, your scammer is overseas. The people who run pet scams are usually members of criminal gangs in Eastern Europe or East Africa. Ukraine and Cameroon are popular bases, as well as Russia, Bulgaria, and Nigeria.

After you send the money, the scammers may disappear right away. If not, they may try to squeeze some more money out of you with “unexpected” fees. For example, they may tell you that the fictional pet is stuck at the airport. They know how to take advantage of your kind heart and your sense of urgency. They might make you fear that the puppy is suffering and may die if you don’t pay the extra fees right away. At any rate, sooner or later you either catch on to the scam or the scammers feel they’ve gotten all they can out of you, and disappear. There was never a real puppy in the first place. Or a real horse, a real llama, a real tortoise, or a real rare bird.

Here Are a Few Simple Steps You Can Take to Avoid Falling for a Pet Scam:

  • Demand to see their license from your country’s relevant breeding association, and then double-check with that organization that it’s correct, including the address, phone number, and email
  • Do an online search for the seller’s email address to see if there are any outstanding complaints about them
  • Do an online search for the photos or videos of the animals that are for sale, since scammers regularly copy images from other websites
  • Never agree to pay by any payment method that is unusual or hard to trace, since reputable breeders will never demand such a thing
  • Ask to meet the dealer face-to-face first and request an opportunity to inspect the animal before agreeing to purchase it

Wellness Tourism Scams: Medicine for Healthy People

March 11, 2019

The medical tourism business model has a major problem. Very succinctly, there are only so many sick people at any given time. That being the case, the only way medical tourism operators can expand their business is by expanding their customer base. And the easiest way to do that is by offering services to include healthy people too. The result is “wellness tourism.” Of course, that opened the door for scammers, who want their piece of the action, too. The result is wellness tourism scams.

“Wellness” is such a vague term that it can mean almost anything anyone might want it to mean. Basically, it is the opposite of “illness.” Therefore, it can be more or less a synonym of “health.” But in the world of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), “wellness” takes on a life of its own. In this philosophical model, while standard medicine focuses on diseases and symptoms, wellness concerns itself instead with healthy lifestyles and “holistic” wellbeing.

Of course, every sane person is in favor of promoting a healthy lifestyle. We all want to avoid illness and promote wellbeing. But the wellness craze inadvertently created a market for medicine for healthy people. Nowhere is this more obvious than the burgeoning field of wellness tourism. This is a business worth half a trillion dollars a year! And it’s growing at a faster rate than most others.

Most people who sign up for wellness tourism do so as part of an overall vacation package. But a significant minority of aficionados spend around $90 billion a year just on traveling to wherever it is they engage in their wellness activities.

Why Do People Fall for Wellness Tourism Scams?

Wellness tourism can combine something as simple as a harmless visit to the hotel spa or a day trip to a hot springs in the midst of a vacation. But the big growth is in dedicated wellness tourism. Another term for such programs is “retreats.” And a lot of them are scams. A wellness retreat is a lot like a regular vacation, but with a much greater emphasis on specific activities intended to address the visitor’s physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing.

Often, these retreats are heavily into ancient alternatives to modern medicine, such as Ayurveda or traditional Chinese medicine. Or they focus on various New Age concepts such as detox or life coaching. Some are a mix various fads. True, the specific goals of the participants may be weight loss, depression relief or more nebulous wellbeing or “reboot” goals. But they may opt for these retreats simply because up until now nothing else works for them. Not because they know anything about the exotic philosophy or fad.

They’re Not Just in Exotic Locales

To make it all look more authentic, as well as to reduce expenses, many of these retreats take place in exotic locales. Especially in the countries where the disciplines on display originated thousands of years ago. As a result, wellness tourism scams are a booming business in India, Thailand, Bali, and many other exotic venues. But they are also huge in the United States, Europe, and most other developed nations.

Of course, with such ambiguous definitions of means and goals, and with so much money being spent, the field is ripe for every kind of scam and fraud. These can range from grossly substandard facilities to insufficient or incompetent staff, and even dangerous, harmful, or abusive situations. Victims of wellness tourism scams can find it difficult to address the injustice in their own countries. And the situation is even worse for those who traveled overseas.

The good news is that you have MyChargeBack to help you. We are an American fund recovery service with a global focus that assists our clients on every continent. If you are the victim of a wellness tourism scam, contact MyChargeBack today for a free consultation.

Dental Tourism

Do you like going to the dentist? Not many people do. In fact, lots of people have an irrational fear of seeing their dentists due to the sounds of the machinery and pain associated with certain treatments. However, everyone knows that taking care of your teeth should be a top concern. And that legitimate concern is what spurs dental tourism.

One of the main issues with dental care is the price. Many people don’t have dental insurance and treatments can become very expensive very quickly. Add to that the fact that most dental treatments require multiple visits to the dentist over a period of time. This all equals a lot of time and money.

For these reasons, more and more people are turning to dental tourism.  The significantly lower price can be a major attraction for anyone needing to have dental work done. While the financial benefits can be very appealing, there are, unfortunately, many issues to consider regarding dental tourism. Let’s discuss some of the risks and dangers that you should consider when going to a dental clinic outside your country.

Will My Dental Work Really Be Cheaper Abroad?

The quick answer to this question is yes. The price that you will pay for the treatment itself will most likely be substantially lower than in your own country. This is due to lower salaries and taxes, as well as the comparable costs of insurance, rent, schooling, and even equipment.

Don’t get too excited yet. There are many more costs to take into account when deciding to undergo treatment abroad. Don’t forget that you will have to travel (most likely by air) and stay in a hotel or other accommodation. Additionally, it’s very likely that you will have to return to the clinic multiple times in order to complete your treatment. This will, of course, cause the final price to rise substantially.

Some clinics will try to complete your treatment in one round. This can be risky for certain types of procedures and may be unprofessional as well.

Depending on the country you travel to, rules and regulations regarding treatment standards may be lacking or poorly enforced. Make sure to research the clinic you are interested in thoroughly. Check what safety regulations they have in place, what medications they use and who their dentists are and where they received their training.

Can Something Really Go Wrong?

Yes! One of the scariest parts of dental treatments is that issues can arise days, months or even years after the treatment itself. Therefore, you may have no idea if you underwent a successful treatment for a long time.

Patients can develop infections due to inadequate procedures. If you have an implant done, the area can become inflamed and, over time, the new tooth can fall out. Other procedures can cause nerve problems and prolonged swelling if carried out improperly.

The materials used in your mouth are also of critical importance. For example, when you have a crown done, it’s important that it be made of porcelain to prevent infection. Some clinics will use plastic to bring down the cost, putting the patient at great risk.

Dental Tourism: Proceed With Caution

The bottom line is that dental tourism can be dangerous, even if it saves you some money. If, however, you did undergo dental treatment abroad and the results were substandard, MyChargeBack may be able to help you get your money back. Contact us for a free initial consultation to determine if your case meets the criteria.