The MyChargeBack Blog

Medical Tourism for Senior Citizens

Medical tourism around the world, especially medical tourism for senior citizens. is a booming trend. In fact, it’s now rather common among geriatric patients. As patients get older, more and more health issues tend to arise. Taking care of these issues at home is often expensive. Patients may have to schedule appointments with specialists long in advance. In the meanwhile, their conditions may deteriorate. Sometimes, issues are urgent and simply can’t wait. Obviously, that puts patients in an uncomfortable situation.

On the face of it, therefore, medical tourism seems like a good option for the elderly. The availability of procedures, up-and-coming medical centers throughout the world and, particularly, the lower price tag combine to make it an attractive option.

Unfortunately, there are also many risks and potential problems in undergoing medical procedures abroad. First and foremost, you’re far from home. That itself opens a Pandora’s box.

Medical Tourism for Senior Citizens: What Can Go Wrong?

Seniors can choose from a wide range of medical procedures abroad. Specialized health care and surgery are the most common.

Despite the seemingly attractive price tag, there are many disadvantages to flying abroad to take care of your medical problems. Take, for example, regulations in force (or not in force) in other countries. Many countries that regard medical tourism for senior citizens as a major source of foreign currency lack the types of legislation, regulations and enforcement that you take for granted back home. As a result, there may be a black market for medical supplies, or even organs. It may also mean that the procedures themselves you undergo are not monitored by professional associations or regulatory agencies. In such cases, you can never be sure if you really will receive quality care.

Another issue with geriatric procedures is that the elderly are vulnerable to charlatans. They may become the target of criminals and scammers while traveling abroad. Especially when they are recovering from medical procedures and may not be familiar with the local language, laws or customs.

Travel can also be difficult for elderly patients. Long plane flights can cause other health issues. It may also be difficult, or medically prohibitive, to travel home while you are recovering.

Buying Medications Abroad

Another problem with medical tourism for senior citizens is buying prescription medications outside of the country. In certain countries, medications may be substantially cheaper, or even accessible without a prescription.

Be very careful, then, when considering such an option! If the country you travel to lacks the appropriate legislation, medications do not have to pass any testing process before they go on the market. Or they could even be counterfeit. The money you save by going abroad, in this case, will clearly not be worth it.

Do Senior Citizens Actually Get Hurt by Medical Tourism?

The answer is yes! There are countless reports of elderly patients who traveled abroad for medical treatment who returned in worse off than before. The complications they suffer can be dangerous and often require additional treatments.

In the worst-case scenario, people have actually died as a result of medical tourism.

In 2007, an Australian woman in her fifties traveled to Bangkok for a tummy tuck and breast lift. Upon her discharge, she developed an infection a few days after the surgery. She returned to the clinic for a follow-up (at her own cost) and then flew home ill. It turned out that it was a potentially fatal infection. She required additional treatment after she arrived back in Australia. The private clinic where she underwent the original procedure was most likely non-regulated. As a result, its hygienic standards were insufficient. Always make sure, therefore, to go to an accredited institution.

Medical Tourism for Senior Citizens Is Not Always Worth It

While traveling abroad may seem like an attractive option in addressing medical problems, there are many complications that can arise. These can threaten your life and also empty your pockets.

Before you make any decisions, make sure to do detailed research about your destination and clinic. Additionally, be prepared to spend more money than you anticipate.

If, however, you feel that you were scammed, contact us at MyChargeBack for a free initial consultation to determine is there’s a way to recover the funds that you lost.

MyChargeBack Does Not Recommend Investment Firms

Recently, someone reported to us that he was unexpectedly called by a firm called AZtrades, a supposed brokerage offering forex, CFDs and commodities, and told that they received his name and phone number from MyChargeBack. Given MyChargeBack’s reputation as the world’s most trusted fund recovery service, he assumed that was confirmation that AZtrades was a legitimate broker that is properly licensed and regulated in his country.  

It is not.

For the record, MyChargeBack zealously protects client confidentiality. We do not provide the names and telephone numbers of anyone who contacts us to third parties under any circumstances without expressed permission.

No less importantly, MyChargeBack does not endorse or recommend any specific investment or investment service, broker or brokerage, bank or other financial institution, be it regulated or unregulated. Anyone who hears otherwise can be assured that is a misrepresentation. First, our sole focus as a business is on recovering funds for clients who have been scammed. And second, it would be illegal for us to provide such a recommendation, since doing so requires regulatory permission.

If you have been similarly contacted by any firm and told that they received your name and number from MyChargeBack, or that MyChargeBack recommends or endorses them, we advise you to hang up and report the incident to us by email to our Customer Satisfaction Department at cs@mychargeback.com

Recycling Binary Options into Forex and CFD Scams

It took far too long, but binary options finally has the bad name it has so justifiably earned. And that’s why the operators of binary options sites are now peddling forex and CDF scams.

Unfortunately, there are some people who still don’t know, so a few binary options sites may remain online. But the crooks behind the countless binary options scams that inundated the internet from 2010 or so until early 2018 discern the sea-change and are getting out of the business. Sort of. That explains why they marched en masse to forex and CFD scams.

How Are Forex and CFD Scams Different from Binary Options?

Binary options scammers are quickly recycling their existing online platforms in order to market them as different, allegedly legitimate, investments. The two most popular of these are forex and CFD scams.

Forex (or FX), is a contraction of “foreign exchange.” Forex is a type of CFD. But it is limited to the foreign currency market.

So what’s a CFD? It’s a contraction of “contract for difference.” This trading model involves an investor (buyer) making an agreement with a broker (seller). One will pay the other the difference between the present value of some asset (gold, currency, public stock, or almost anything else that is traded) and its value at a certain time in the future (the contract time). If the asset’s value goes up, the seller pays the buyer. If it goes down, the buyer pays the seller.

For example, let’s imagine there was a contract for $100 worth of Microsoft stock with the contract expiring 24 hours later. If the value of Microsoft the next day were $110, the seller would owe the buyer his original investment plus an extra $10. The basic difference between a CFD and a stock, however, is that a CFD doesn’t involve any ownership of the asset. The investor is basically just betting on the trends in the asset’s value. In this way, trading CFDs and binary options is so similar that switching over platforms from one to the other was a snap. The con artists are back in business.

CFDs Are More Dangerous than Binary Options

In fact, CFD scams are actually more hazardous than binary options. In the case of binary options, the worst that could happen with any trade would be the loss of the entire investment. But if there’s a volatile market, CFDs potentially expose the investor to losing far more than the investment, The result is a crushing debt.

Of course, if you win on a CFD you will be able to make money only if your broker is licensed. No one can set up a legitimate brokerage and offer such investment services if he does not have a licensed issued by the country’s financial regulator. Generally, scammers are not registered at all. Which means they are not trading anything at all. And to escape justice, they are not physically present in a country with a robust regulator and an effective law enforcement system. All they are doing is stealing your investment the moment you deposit it. Understand this: they’re thieves.

Sooner or later the victim gets it. In most cases, the victim gets it after losing a lot of money.

Are you the victim of a forex or CFD scam? And where is your so-called broker now? Bringing him to justice, if you can even find him, can be nigh impossible.

But at the very least, don’t you deserve to get your money back? If you paid the scammer with a credit card or wire transfer, that may be possible. Regrettably, successfully opening and winning a dispute in such cases is encumbered with an astonishing amount bureaucracy and red tape. The good news is you have someone on your side.

If you believe you are a victim of online forex and CFD scams, contact MyChargeBack today for a free consultation.

Giving Love a Bad Name: Solving the Epidemic of Romance Scams

It seems like for every legitimate use of the internet, a parallel criminal industry exists to fleece innocent users out of their money. One of the saddest (and most profitable) is the epidemic of romance scams. It takes many forms, but the common thread is to take advantage of people’s need for love and connection in order to get them to part with their money.

Most often, victims first encounter romance scams either through social media or on legitimate dating sites. If the victim is male, the scammer will usually take on the identity of a beautiful young student. If the victim is female, the scammer’s fake identity will be a successful professional. Usually an engineer, a doctor or a soldier stationed overseas. Whatever the disguise, the story progresses very quickly from introduction to declarations of love. Not long thereafter, as soon as the thief thinks that the victim is sufficiently fooled, the requests for money begin.

Throwaway Lines Typical of Romance Scams

These may take several forms. The “beloved” may need money for a plane ticket in order to join their partners. Perhaps they or a family member need urgent and expensive medical care. Or criminals or corrupt government/immigration authorities are holding them illegally. In that case, they need cash to pay their captors off be able to leave the country. In another common thread, the mysterious love interests claim to be extremely wealthy. But they suddenly must pay taxes or some sort of processing fee to obtain their million-dollar inheritance. There are endless variations on the theme.

Once the victim sends the money, another excuse or emergency will pop up. The scammer will always claim to need more money before the lovers can finally meet. The first request for cash is just the tip of the iceberg. The scammer won’t stop until you do. And you won’t stop until you realize the love of your life duped you. The bottom line is that the scammer manipulated your emotions right from the start.

Extortion in the Guise of Love

Another approach used by online romance scammers is extortion. For example, romance scammers will eventually entice their victims into sending selfies. Sometimes, the requests will specify that the victims pose in some sort of compromising position. Or that the photos or videos be explicit. Even if they’re not, they can still show something that is potentially embarrassing. Or even illegal. Once in possession of the photos or videos, the scammer will blackmail the victim. If you don’t send money, the scammer will threaten to make the material public. After all, by now, the scammer knows who your relatives and friends are. So you believe the threat is real. And you pay up.

Don’t even try to threaten the scammer in return. The photos he sent you of himself, or she sent you of herself, are all fake. They are copies of photos of other people he or she found online. And where is the scammer? Good luck in bringing him or her to justice. The name he or she gave you is phony. A mere alias. And whoever they are, they’re certainly not where they claimed they were. They’re almost certainly in some far off country that has little interest in bringing them to justice. But you have a phone number, right? Sorry, that won’t help you either. With internet telephony, anyone can get a phone number in virtually any country he or she wants. The scammer disconnected the line the same day you realized it was all fake.

But what about the money? Don’t you at least deserve to get it back? If you are a victim and paid the scammer by credit card or wire transfer, it may be possible. Unfortunately, the process of opening and winning a dispute in cases like this is weighed down with an unbelievable amount bureaucratic red tape. Fortunately, you have someone to help you.

If you believe you have been the victim of a romance scam, contact MyChargeBack today to receive a free consultation.

Don’t Become a Victim of the Plague of Online Pharmacy Scams

The internet changed shopping habits to an extent and in ways that were unimaginable 25 years ago. Few would disagree that overall the change is immensely positive. Consumers now have access to a wider variety of products at more competitive prices than ever before. A global marketplace indeed. But the global marketplace is also the incubator of the plague of online pharmacy scams.

Online pharmacies (e-pharmacies) are just one example. Authentic licensed online pharmacies provide a wonderful service. Especially for people who are unable to travel to a physical location due to disability, illness, or distance. Many e-pharmacies also allow a greater selection of choice or price compared to what you can find at the corner drug store.

But there’s a dark side. The billions of dollars flowing across the internet have attracted every kind of criminal enterprise. The promise of quick riches inspires new ones all the time. That is what fuels the plague of online pharmacy scams. It’s a diverse and expanding illicit business involving hundreds, even thousands, of enterprising criminals.

Pharmacy Scams and Pharmaceutical Scams

One of the most popular sorts of online pharmacies (both real and fake) is the Canadian variety. People, especially Americans, assume an e-pharmacy with a Canadian pedigree is going to be legitimate. On the one hand, Canada is a developed western country and next door to the U.S. It has comparable laws and regulations regarding the pharmaceutical industry. On the other hand, pharmaceutical prices are much lower than in the U.S.

But when you go onto a website, do you really know where it’s based? Just because it says “Canada” is no guarantee that it’s really there. And even if it is, do you know who manufactured the pharmaceuticals?

In fact, there are numerous scam sites that sell counterfeit medicine manufactured in India, Turkey and Southeast Asia, among other places. The scammers behind those counterfeit drugs know that you wouldn’t shop for them there. So they ship their contraband to a partner in a trusted country like Canada, or the UK. And then someone sticks convincing labels on them before reshipping them to customers from a Canadian or British address.

And What’s Really in the Bottle?

There are countless, real world, verified cases of medicines ordered from online pharmacies that expired long ago. Or were diluted. Or over-concentrated. Some scam pharmaceuticals don’t even contain active ingredients. Others may contain harmful ingredients. Or are contaminated with bacteria. Another reason why the plague of online pharmacy scams is so nefarious.

Some scammers spoof actual Canadian pharmacy websites. They are criminals. They make their profits by shipping drugs that would be illegal to sell in real Canadian pharmacies. Other sites claiming to be Canadian simply are not. They’re based half-way around the world and operate under the legal radar. In some cases, they may use names and website addresses that are confusingly similar to those of well-known authentic pharmacies. Even major American chains.

Are you or a loved one the victim of an online pharmacy scam? Aside from the ongoing health problems that it caused, don’t you at least deserve your money back? Unfortunately, the process of opening and winning a chargeback dispute in cases like this is weighed down with an unbelievable amount bureaucratic red tape. Fortunately, you have someone to help you.

We at MyChargeBack have the experience and expertise to guide a dispute to maximize the chances of success. And we have the tenacity to never get discouraged or give up on our clients. We guarantee 100% effort to get you your money back. We’re an international fund recovery service that has retrieved millions of dollars for scam victims the world over.

If you believe you have been the victim of a scam related to an online pharmacy, contact MyChargeBack today to receive a free consultation

The Rise of Gift Card Scams

Throughout human history, one of life’s greatest riddles has been “What do you get the person who has everything?” Well, a couple of decades ago, some enterprising retailers finally solved the riddle. With a gift card, redeemable for goods and services at your favorite establishment, you can pick your own gift and thank the giver later. Perfect, right?

Almost.

As with every other new invention, it seems like shady individuals have just been waiting and pondering how to take advantage of it unscrupulously. Welcome to the brave new world of gift card scams.

Some features of gift cards make them irresistible to fraudsters. Unlike credit cards, they are anonymous. On the other hand they, or the networks their information are saved on, store real monetary value. And also unlike credit cards, the data security on gift cards is often a bit more lax.

So what are the scammers up to?

Some of these people simply walk up to a gift card display case at the local store, take a few cards to where they can discreetly copy the information on them (card number and security code), then quietly return them to the rack. They are able to use specialized software to determine when the card has been legitimately purchased and activated, at which point the criminal is able to use his stolen information to spend all the money on it.

Another scam that takes advantage of the relatively low levels of security protecting the data on gift cards is the automated bot attack. This is a “brute force” type of attack by which a computer logs into a card vendor’s online system and automatically tries numerous random card numbers and security codes in hopes of finding a winning combination. According to some estimates, upwards of 90% of logins to these websites are bot attacks.

For the less technically-inclined criminal, a more traditional con has been updated to take advantage of the anonymity of the stored value in the gift card. An innocent person gets a threatening call from someone purporting to be from the IRS, police, or some other frightening government agency. The “mark” will be told that hey have an outstanding debt that will lead to very serious consequences if it isn’t fixed immediately. Then the scammer gives the victim a quick and easy solution: they can make the problem go away if the victim goes to the store and buys enough gift cards to cover the “debt”. The unfortunate prey then gives the trickster the card numbers and security codes over the phone, and the scam is complete.

So what can you do to avoid becoming a victim? First of all, always make sure you buy your gift cards from authorized reputable dealers. If possible, it should be a card that was kept out of the hands of others (e.g., not hanging on a checkout rack). If not, at least make sure there are no signs of tampering on the packaging. And finally, remember that nobody will ever demand to be paid in gift cards for any valid legal debt. If anyone does, hang up and report them to the authorities.

Happy shopping!

Do You Regret Your Transplant Tourism?

Organ transplantation is the most complex and challenging of all surgical procedures, and is successful in saving thousands of lives around the world every year. The most commonly transplanted organ is the kidney, due to the possibility of using live donors, but livers, hearts and many other organs have successfully been transplanted, adding decades of life to otherwise terminally ill patients.

Before the biology behind organ rejection was understood and anti-rejection medicines developed, the possibility of widespread transplantation was widely believed to be unrealistic. But since the first unqualified successes in the 1950s, it has become a standard and widespread practice: one of the great miracles of modern medicine.

The great unsolved problem that still has no clear solution is the tremendous disparity between need and supply. Put simply, there are not nearly enough donors or available organs for the millions of people who urgently need them to survive.

In addition, virtually all countries and many intergovernmental organizations have banned the buying and selling of human organs, an activity widely perceived to be unethical and ripe for exploitation.

This situation has led to a number of diabolical solutions by bad actors. In certain countries with insufficient government oversight (or even unofficial government collusion), organ transplants take place in which foreigners are brought in to receive the organs from highly questionable sources. The recipient pays huge sums of money to the broker and the medical team that performs the operation. The “package” often includes airport pickup and dropoff, hotel and, occasionally, other benefits.

There are often two victims in such an arrangement. Organ recipients are desperate people with a life-threatening illness, typically with just months left unless they receive a transplant. They will often do anything, pay any price, even break any law in order to live. And the organ trafficker knows exactly how to take advantage of them.

The other victim is the donor. That unfortunate soul is typically an impoverished resident of a Third World country. The donor is recruited with an offer of enough money to get out of poverty in exchange for their “extra” kidney. In other cases, particularly in China, organs are harvested from executed prisoners, some of whom are no more than political or religious dissidents. This ghoulish scenario, in which teams of doctors stand by while a person is being killed in order to excise living organs for profit, is, of course, widely condemned.

In such a situation, an unscrupulous broker stands between two desperate people, and he can easily abuse them. Donors often gets far less than what they were promised, and the substandard conditions and lack of after-care often leave them permanently disabled and financially worse off than before, assuming they even survive.

But the recipient is often not any better off either. The operating conditions at black market transplant centers rarely meet international standards of safety, hygiene or skill. And the screening of donor organs for compatibility and disease is often less than thorough, sometimes leaving the patient with a rejected organ, or even infected by AIDS, hepatitis, or another serious disease. Add to that the stress of international travel while critically ill, and as you can imagine, the survival and recovery rates for transplant tourism are well below the norm for standard care practices.

Have you or a loved one been the victim of unethical transplant brokers? Aside from the ongoing health problems that it caused, don’t you at least deserve your money back? Unfortunately, the process of opening and winning a chargeback dispute in cases like this is weighed down with an unbelievable amount bureaucratic red tape. Fortunately, you have someone to help you.

We at MyChargeBack have the experience and expertise to guide a dispute to maximize the chances of success. And we have the tenacity to never get discouraged or give up on our clients. We guarantee 100% effort to get you your money back. We’re an international fund recovery service headquartered in New York that has retrieved millions of dollars for scam victims the world over.

If you believe you have been the victim of a scam related to transplant tourism, contact MyChargeBack today to receive a free consultation.

Scam Forecast for 2019

Scamming will not come to an end on New Year’s Day. Although many such frauds, such as the infamous binary options scams, are being tightly watched, variations, will continue and be joined by brand new ones. As scammers are now more sophisticated more cunning and more technologically advanced, the public needs to be increasingly alert and attentive.

Let’s consider some scamming trends that we should be on the lookout for in 2019.

From Binary Options Scams to Cryptocurrency Scams

Binary options are notoriously problematic financial trading instruments. Many traders are drawn to binary options because of its simplicity, but as they are highly speculative, many regulated exchanges are careful to keep their distance. Thus, most binary options trading is conducted on unregulated trading platforms. And this resulted in an online explosion of fake brokerages.

As the appeal of binary options dwindles and as the ban (imposed by pan European financial regulator ESMA) on providing binary options trading products in the EU continues through to January 1, 2019, another financial fad has gained momentum; cryptocurrencies. Since cryptocurrencies remain decentralized, creating regulations for this industry has become a pressing issue for authorities around the globe. Many crypto traders complain of price manipulations and funds stuck on exchanges. Threads on the internet are filled with new grievances on a daily basis.

Given this, regulatory rules on the cryptocurrency have become essential. But an absolute ban would have a negative impact on the economy because of the participation of institutions and retail investors.

Co-founder of ThatSucks.com, Martin Kay, reported: “Bitcoin is a dream come true for ex-binary options scammers; not only they continue to make hollow promises of getting rich quickly, now they take your money and process it through crypto wallets which could never re-trace.”

Real Estate Scams are on the Rise

Meanwhile, according to the FBI and other law enforcement authorities, real estate scams are becoming more prevalent. Cybercrimes have become so widespread that the FBI has established an Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). Its website states that “from calendar year 2015 to calendar year 2017, there was over an 1,100% rise in the number of BEC/EAC [business email compromise/ email account compromise] victims reporting the real estate transaction angle and an almost 2,200% rise in the reported monetary loss.” According to the IC3, in 2017, there were as many as 9,645 victims of real estate fraud.

Generally speaking, a scammer will hack into the email account of a real estate patron and observe it. When the scammer identifies email correspondence between the real estate agent and the buyer, they send the buyer a fake email that appears to have been sent by the real estate agent. That email requests that money for the real estate purchase is wired to a different account (belonging to the scammer). At times, scammers are also able to hack into the email account of a real estate professional, if security measures are lacking.

Dale Dabbas, CEO and president of EZShield, a firm that deals with identity protection stated: “These transactions involve a lot of money and a lot of personally identifiable information exchanged…And that’s worth a lot of money to a scammer.”

Time Share Scams Continue and Advent of the Sanctuary Belize Scam

Consumers continue to report receiving offers to buy into various vacation accommodation opportunities, including discount holiday clubs, timeshare and holiday ownership deals. Britain’s highly regarded Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI), among other organizations, warns consumers about attending presentations where they may be pressured into purchasing such deals. Also, consumers should know that timeshare offers involve continuous ongoing payments that can increase over time.

One particular real-estate scam that has made headlines is the “Sanctuary Belize” scam. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) shutdown this scam, noting that it robbed consumers of more than $100 million. “Sanctuary Belize” enticed Americans with the assurance of retirement in a Caribbean paradise. The reality was a sham luxury development.

Many small-business owners, close to retirement age, invested their retirement savings in this scam. They were convinced to buy plots of land that cost between $100,000 to $500,000. Promotional offers assured a “no-debt” business plan, prompt construction and a good financial return. Over 1,000 lots were sold, however, only 10 percent have finished homes and amenities. The promised hospital, airport and golf course will never be built. Many buyers lost all their investment or were required to sell their properties back to the scammers and forfeit their money.

Fake Securities Regulators

At MyChargeBack, it’s not uncommon for clients to tell us that they were sure the binary options, forex or CFD site they signed up for was legitimate because it was a member in good standing of some sort of professional oversight association, or even was licensed by a government regulator, even though it turned out to have been a scam.

When that happens, one of the most important tools of our trade is to refer to the checklist published by the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO). For those who are still uninitiated in the scamming world, IOSCO compiles an authoritative ledger of companies claiming to be investment firms that have been the subject of warnings issued by the world’s national financial regulators.

But let’s just say that a novice online investor stumbles onto a broker who claims he is a member of the Hong Kong Financial Services Authority. Sounds pretty official, right? Someone you can certainly trust.

Or what if there is a nice logo appearing at the bottom of the home page in the shape of an official looking emblem that says the brokerage is a member of the “International Exchange Regulatory Commission.” Safe as the bank, right?

And how does the “Securities Regulatory Commission” sound? Are we getting any safer?

Or this one, which certainly has to take first place in any contest for maximizing official-sounding pomposity: “A member of the Worldwide Securities Investment Commission.”

To someone who is new to all this, all of these forums sound professional and legitimate. Except, in reality, they’re not. As a matter of fact, they don’t even exist. They are as fake as the investment scams that claim membership in them. And they are all listed on a list of about 80 phony securities regulators that appear on the website of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), the government financial regulator Down Under.

The people who come up with these deceptive-sounding names know what they’re doing. They choose a combination of words that reminds you of real institutions. One scam site, for example, claimed to be regulated by the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, which really is an American government regulator. But the link to the website they provided was www.cftc.org.au, which doesn’t exist. No American government agency based in Washington, D.C., of course, is going to have a URL that uses an Australian domain. But the scammers assume you’re not going to catch that, especially if you’re in Australia. (The website of the real Commodities Futures Trading Commission, by the way, is www.cftc.gov.)

Scammers are criminals. They’re unethical. They’re liars. Their entire business model is built on deception. And they’re good at what they do. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, therefore, that they will have spent significant time and energy on covering their bases. Fake securities regulators are only a part of it. You’ll also find fake review sites (“prepared by experts,” one of them touts), fake customer satisfaction scores, and fake testimonials (featuring stock photos of fake investors). Even fake licenses from real regulators, and, most of all, real licenses from impotent regulators in small, underpopulated island countries you’d probably not be able to find on a map.

Don’t take chances when it comes to your money. Scammers will stop at nothing.

“You Have Won a Vacation” Scams: What They Involve and How to Spot Them

You are at a coffee shop, waiting for your caffè latte, when you impulsively decide to fill in a form promoting a free vacation. Or you are relaxing in front of the TV when you receive a telephone call saying you’ve been selected to receive a travel vacation free of charge? Unfortunately, these scenarios are very common. And the harsh truth is that everyone who fills in a form and everyone who receives a phone call is told they have been “selected.” You may believe you have “won” a free holiday, but the reality is that the trip promoted will probably end up costing you a lot of money.

This telemarketing scam has existed for a long time, and it seems to be very successful. According to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, millions of dollars are made on telemarketing schemes such as this every month, leaving unwitting consumers well out of pocket.

These types of scams are generally conceived of in “boiler rooms.” A boiler room is a euphemism used to describe any place where highly skilled salespeople call lists of possible buyers in the hope of selling them fraudulent products, services or securities. These lists are often referred to as “sucker lists” for obvious reasons. These salespeople deliver sales pitches about travel deals that appear to be genuine, but more often than not are scams.

So what should you look out for when you receive a call from someone selling you a “free” holiday? Here are some tips:

  • The salesperson may request your credit card details. The second you hear the words credit card number, you should become suspicious and may want to end the telephone conversation then and there.
  • If you do unknowingly go ahead and give your credit card details, you may be sent a set a list of steps you need to complete to confirm your reservation. It may cost you even more money to make and finalize your reservation. By now you should be feeling worried. Your “free” vacation is already costing you a small fortune. Moreover, the conditions placed on the vacation could be so restrictive that you can never actually take the trip. Or, the reservation may not even be approved.
  • Another trick scammers use is to present you with rather convincing deals. They will often try to sell club memberships or discounted vacations, rather than trying to scam you out of all your money. Because they sound believable such fraudulent deals can be difficult to spot. Keep your eyes open for restrictions, hidden fees and fees to upgrade.
  • Be wary of any travel offers that do not openly disclose information about the company offering them, such as its name and location. It is also a must to receive everything in writing before you pay anything. Before you commit to anything read the cancellation policies carefully and review all terms and conditions.
  • These expert salespeople also use high-pressure tactics and tend to say something along the lines of “If you don’t accept our offer immediately it will expire” or “Don’t miss this one-time opportunity.” Also, they generally dismiss or overlook any concern you may have.

If you believe you’ve been the victim of a telemarketing travel scam, contact MyChargeBack for a free consultation. We’ll let you know if we can help you recover your money.