Attorney General Hardy Myers today announced that a Canadian company selling credit card protection services has agreed to cease doing business in Oregon. Named in an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance is Fraud Watch Services, Inc. of White Rock, British Columbia. The company also does business as American Fraud Watch, Inc. from an office in Bellingham, Washington.
"Most credit card protection offers are at the least misleading," Myers said. "Telemarketers selling credit card protection exaggerate the need for the service and rarely inform consumers of their limited liability under the federal laws."
The Department of Justice received 28 complaints from Oregonians concerning telephone pitches from the Canadian company. Consumers found the callers "threatening, degrading and coercive." Consumers also complained of refusing the offer only to find charges on the following month's credit card bill.
Under the agreement, the company must permanently cease doing business in Oregon, provide full refunds to all Oregon customers that request their money back and pay $2,000 to the Department of Justice consumer protection and education fund.
Consumers can avoid credit card protection fraud by being wary of promoters that:
Tell consumers they are liable for more than $50 of unauthorized charges on credit card accounts;
Tell consumers that computer hackers can access credit card numbers and charge thousands of dollars to accounts;
Announce on the phone that they are calling from "the security department" and want to activate the protection features on a new card.
Oregonians are cautioned not to provide personal information including credit card and bank account numbers over the phone or online unless they are familiar with the business and have initiated the contact. Finally, if unauthorized charges appear on a credit card bill, consumers should not pay it. Only pay what is owed and include a letter of explanation to the company
Consumers may call the Attorney General's consumer hotline for information concerning fraudulent credit card protection offers at (503) 378-4320 (Salem area only), (503) 229-5576 (Portland area only) or toll-free at 1-877-877-9392 or write Financial Fraud/Consumer Protection, 1162 Court Street, N.E., Salem, Oregon 97310. Online information is at www.doj.state.or.us.
Jan Margosian, (503) 947-4333 (media line only) firstname.lastname@example.org