Consumer Protection
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How to Protect Yourself: Recovery Room Scams
Source: The Florida Attorney General's Office

This is an actual letter received by the Office of the Florida Attorney General: "I was contacted over the phone by a company called Certified Consumer Protection located in Las Vegas, NV. They told me that if I would send them a "finders fee" they would collect thousands of dollars in refunds for me. I sent them my money and now realize I have been scammed. They led me to believe that they were part of the government."

How the Scam Works
Consumers who have previously lost money through phony prize promotions, merchandise sales, and charity solicitations are placed on "sucker lists." These lists have the name, address, phone number and some information about money each consumer lost in the past. These lists are sold to dishonest telemarketers. The dishonest telemarketers try to convince the consumer that they can get the return of their lost money for a fee. Therefore, the term "recovery room" scam. To get you to believe them, they often misrepresent themselves as government agents. Government agencies do not charge a fee or tax for the return of your own money.

Be Skeptical
Be skeptical when you receive a phone call from a business offering to recover your money, previously lost, for an advance fee. Often the business is very pushy in demanding that the fee be paid immediately. Don't be pressured. Do not send any money until you check out the business.

Beware of Advance Fee, Tax, and Donation Requests
Government agencies, national, state and local consumer enforcement agencies do not charge for their services. They do not request tax payments for prior losses and do not require a donation.

Before You Purchase Any Recovery Services, Check Them Out
Before you purchase any recovery room services, ask what services the company provides and the cost of each service. Ask the business to send you written material about its operation.

Research the Company
Find out how long it has been in business and research its past successes and failures. Call your Better Business Bureau and government agencies (such as, the Office of the Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission) to learn whether any complaints or lawsuits are pending.