More than $723,000 being returned to consumers

Seal of the United States Federal Trade Commis...

Seal of the United States Federal Trade Commission. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Federal Trade Commission mailed more than 13,000 refund checks to consumers who were allegedly deceived by a company that claimed it would negotiate with lenders to change the consumers’ mortgages and make them more affordable. To resolve FTC charges, First Universal Lending and its owners agreed to an order banning them from the mortgage relief services business.

The FTC alleged that the operators of First Universal Lending encouraged homeowners to stop making mortgage payments. The defendants charged consumers up-front fees, but then did little or nothing to help them, the agency charged.

The checks were mailed by an administrator working for the FTC. More than $723,000 was returned to consumers. The amount varied based upon the amount of each consumer’s loss. Those who receive checks from the FTC’s refund administrator should cash them on or before October 6, 2012. The FTC never requires consumers to pay money or provide information before redress checks can be cashed. Consumers with questions should call the refund administrator, Gilardi & Co., LLC, at 1-888-251-6825, or visit www.FTC.gov/refunds.

To learn how to avoid mortgage help relief scams, read the FTC’s Mortgage Assistance Relief Scams: Another Potential Stress for Homeowners in Distress and Mortgage Payments Sending You Reeling? Here’s What to Do.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.

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Protecting People From Scams – Sweepstakes

Seal of the United States Federal Trade Commis...

Seal of the United States Federal Trade Commission. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Federal Trade Commission mailed 503 refund checks to consumers who were allegedly tricked into paying a fee to collect a fake multi-million-dollar sweepstakes prize. The FTC alleged that operators of the scam, collectively known as Prize Information Bureau, sent personalized mailers, some with fictitious government agency names and official-looking seals, to hundreds of thousands of consumers.

The refund checks were mailed by an administrator working for the FTC. More than $183,000 was returned to consumers. The amount varied based upon the amount of each consumer’s loss. Those who receive the checks from the FTC’s refund administrator should cash them within 60 days of the date they were issued. The FTC never requires consumers to pay money or provide information before redress checks can be cashed. Consumers with questions should call the refund administrator, Gilardi & Co., LLC, at 1-888-251-6826, or visit www.FTC.gov/refunds.

To learn how to avoid these kinds of scams, read the FTC’s Prize Offers: You Don’t Have to Pay to Play.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to give information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.  Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

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