Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The latest scam...

A couple of years ago, I wrote an article for Yahoo! Voices about a potential scam letter I received promising me free tickets on "U.S. Airlines".  That article got tons of hits and comments.  I could write another article for Yahoo! on today's mail, but instead I'm going to post here on my blog.

Today, I received a strange letter from an outfit called "DA", which stands for Debt Arbitrators.  The return address on the letter was from Addison, Texas, but the postmark was from Santa Ana, California.  The letter was regarding my "renegotiated credit card balance".   In bold type, it read "Your credit card balance mediation program has not been activated".  I was immediately confused, since I didn't remember ever requesting any mediation program.  I have excellent credit, though I owe more than I'd like.

I read on, suddenly worried, since I did have an issue with Adobe systems, which recently got hacked.  I enrolled in credit monitoring on their dime, but hadn't gotten any notifications that anything fishy was going on.  Bill used to get scammy letters about ten years ago from junk debt buyers because he had credit issues years ago with his ex wife.  But together, we've been squeaky clean and never make late payments on anything.  I decided to check my credit report via annualcreditreport.com, just to make sure I wasn't a victim of identity theft.  All of my reports are all still clean and my accounts are in good standing.

I did a quick Google search and came across this thread…  These folks apparently got the very same letter and a couple of them actually signed up for the "service".  The lady who started the thread discovered that this business was not legit when she called the law firm mentioned in the paperwork she received when she signed up.  Turns out the owner of the law firm was not at all involved with DA and was appalled that DA was using the name of her firm to promote their shady business.  Later, she got a phone call from a DA employee who was pissed off that she'd contacted the law firm, since the firm had plans to sue them.

Further investigation revealed a "Rip-Off Report"

A photo of the letter I received… based on what I read on a Consumer Affairs Web site, this is the same letter a lot of other folks have received… most of them also supposedly owed the exact same amount I do… (although the figures on this letter, in my case, are wrong).

Their catalog, which curiously offers products like magicJack Plus!, wall clock safes, stainless steel wallets, caller ID with phone ring controller, illuminating magnifiers, fire resistant document bags, trunk organizers, and a coin counter bank…  If I had just looked at the catalog first, I probably would have known right away this was an ad…  magicJack Plus! is offered for $69.99.  Amazon is selling it for about $45.

Getting this letter totally creeps me out and reminds me why I hate our new neighborhood, though living here probably had nothing to do with my getting this letter.  It's pretty obvious that they didn't do any checking of my credit reports, though creepily enough, the Estimated Program Payment is the exact same amount as the car payment Bill and I used to make on our now paid off Toyota.

At the bottom of the page, there's a Web site and phone number where you can call or sign up to "opt out" of their mailings.  I hesitate to call or sign up because I fear that would only prove to them that I exist and got their letter.  Based on what I've read so far, I will probably get more letters from these scammers, which may then prompt more blog posts.

Anyway, I thought I'd post about this here to warn anyone who gets one of these letters.  It appears to be fake and will separate you from your money in a hurry.  Always check out these offers before you take the plunge.  


  1. These sorts of matters make me extremely nervous. Whay did DA contact the woman regarding her contacting the law firm, anyway? It almost sounds threatening, which spooks me a bit, as they obviously know the woman's address.

    1. If you click the link, there's a better explanation. Apparently, she decided to sign up and they sent her paperwork that listed some law firm that turned out to be bogus. She had given DA her contact info when she signed up, so they called her back and yelled at her or something.

      The law firm is supposedly suing and wants her to be a witness.


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