I Got Scammed.

No one likes to admit they got scammed. More so for me since I blog about personal finance! But here’s an old story I think is worth writing about. This happened a few years back …

Here’s what happened. I signed up for a new credit card and the card provider automatically put me on a trial offer for a id protection service called PrivacyGuard. I did call to cancel at the end of the trial, but they convinced me this was a useful service. They charged, I believe 89 bucks a year. I received nothing in mail or otherwise and I forgot about it. Then the next year I got a mail from them stating the fees are going up to $97. So I called and tried cancelling again. Got a very pushy rep and she tried hard to not have me cancel. Finally she gave a confirmation number and told me the service has been cancelled. I wrote down the number in my gmail window that happened to be open.

Fast forward a year. I see a charge on my credit card for another $97 from PrivacyGuard! I was livid. I called them up and the rep said she doesn’t have a record of me canceling hoping I would’ve forgotten the number! But I did, since I had written down the number in Gmail, it had autosaved the mail draft. I told the rep the confirmation number, there was a pause and then the rep tells me she has to transfer me to her manager. The manager comes on line and claims the confirmation number is invalid!

Now if the number was invalid, the previous rep would’ve known that – it was as though they knew very well that they were pulling a scam. No matter what I said, she insisted there is no record and the confirmation number is invalid but she can cancel the service starting the current year. So I asked her how will I know they won’t pull the same crap next year? She had no answer. I told her to send me a written confirmation that the service has been canceled. The rep actually refused! She said she can’t. I stood my ground and made it clear I’m going to dispute this with my card provider. Finally she agreed. Within 10 days, I did receive a written confirmation.

So I googled to find if others have been scammed – sure enough there were tons of complaints! Numerous lawsuits by various states. The scam is pulled by a company called Trilegiant. Here’s a ConsumerAffairs link – notice that the number of complaints run to more than 100 pages!

Lessons learnt:

  • Be vary of signing up for trial offers.
  • Look out for similar offers when signing up for a credit card.
  • Never pay your credit card without going through the charges.
  • Always google to see if an offer is a scam.
  • When you cancel, ask for it in writing
  • Note down the confirmation number. Wait a week and cancel again. If the rep tells you the service has already been cancelled, you’ll atleast know this was done. If not you know you are dealing with a company similar to PrivacyGuard.
  • If you don’t receive a written confirmation, email your credit card company and let them know. Indicate the cancellation number. You can refer to this if you get charged again.
  • Opt out of pre-screened offers. That’s the advice my credit card provider gave me when I asked them why they put me on trial offer without my consent

What is scary is people trust this company with their identity. As of this post, the company is still operating.

Were you scammed by anyone? Do you have a story to share?

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5 thoughts on “I Got Scammed.

  1. oh my gosh, I am so mad on your behalf. I actually have a post about a similar topic next week. I hate when you sign for something, and it is near impossible to cancel. Unfortunately it has happened to me too…
    .-= everyday tips´s last blog ..The Toyota Highlander – Please Don’t Fall For Its Latest Marketing Campaign =-.

  2. Looking forward to the post Kris!

  3. You’re right; it is scary that the company is still operating. I have a whole folder in my office for “confirmation numbers,” just for the situation you spoke of. I had the same thing happen to me about three years ago, and I was simply LIVID! Now when I sign up for ANYTHING, I always write down and save every number and name they mention.
    .-= Jessica07´s last blog ..Five Reasons For Moms Not To Be Afraid of Finance =-.

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