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Wannabe Wired: Don’t get scammed by fraudulent phone calls | Columnists

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A few weeks ago, I told you about how you can filter out spam phone calls. This week, I’m going to teach you a few of the warning signs to look out for if you are one of the unfortunate souls who has to answer every phone call that comes through.

It’s hard to believe that phone calls still play a major role in fraud scams. But despite the fact that most people won’t even answer their phone if they don’t recognize the number, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported last year that of the more than one million fraud complaints they received, 74 percent were phone scams.

The sad truth is that people lose a lot of money to phone scams. And even though we like to think they won’t happen to us, we can never be too cautious. Over the years these scams have become more sophisticated by mimicking numbers that look trustworthy, have local area codes or even familiar names attached to them. There have even been reported instances of people receiving fraud calls from their own phone number.

The good news is, the people on the other end of those calls are using scams that aren’t nearly as sophisticated as their number spoofing software. Most scams use formulaic narratives that are easy to recognize once you know what to be on the lookout for. Below are some of the most common scams and how to recognize them according to the FTC.

The Unentered Lottery

This is one of the most common scams out there. A caller tells you that you’ve been selected for a prize or some kind of lottery you don’t remember entering. But the catch is, you have to send them some kind of cash retainer so you can claim it. That or they start asking you for personal information like date of birth and Social Security number. Don’t fall for it.

The Threat

Some scammers resort to fear to try and extort people. They will give you a call and pretend to be with some kind of authority, threatening to have you arrested if you don’t fork over payment for some amount they claim you owe. Legitimate representatives from law enforcement or federal agencies will not call and threaten you like this.

The Imposter

A scammer calls you up, complete with fake number and caller identification, claiming to be someone you know, maybe a boss, maybe a distant relative, maybe even someone from a government agency. They are always in trouble and always need you to help by sending along gift cards or prepaid visa cards. Quick tip: if someone calls needing you to send them money in a method that is untraceable and nonrefundable like a gift card, don’t.

The Charity Case

Since it’s that time of year again, be on the lookout for fake charity solicitation. Scammers love posing as charities. If you are planning to give to a charity this year, make sure to do your research beforehand and call the charity directly, or better yet go online and give.

There are plenty of others of course, far too many to list in detail here. But here are a few more should also watch out for: extended car warranty scams, loan scams, debt relief or credit repair scams, one ring scams in which your phone rings once and then you call the number back to find out it is a scam, among many others.

And if all else fails just follow my golden rule, if you don’t recognize the number, don’t answer the phone. If it’s important, they’ll leave a message.

For a complete list of potential scams check out the FTC’s website at consumer.ftc.gov.

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Lashonda Nesmith Jackson, Bryan Braddock to speak at hip hop rally Saturday | Local News

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FLORENCE, S.C. — Two candidates running for Florence City Council will speak at an event scheduled for Saturday afternoon. 

Lashonda Nesmith Jackson, one of five candidates running for the Democratic nomination in the District 1 special election, and Bryan Braddock, one of four Republicans running in the District 3 special election, will speak at the Stop the Violence Hip Hop Rally.

The rally is scheduled for 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at Northwest Community Park, located at 801 Clement St in Florence. It will also feature music, a clinic on expungements and pardons, a credit repair service and free food. 

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California Announces Plans for Reviewing Consumer Complaints

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California Announces Plans for Reviewing Consumer Complaints

California’s Consumer Financial Protection Law is in effect and the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI) announced plans for reviewing consumer complaints in its monthly bulletin for January.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom approved the California Consumer Financial Protection Law (AB 1864), which creates a state consumer protection agency before the end of the state’s 2020 legislative session. The law also expands the state’s power to target unfair, deceptive and abusive acts and practices by financial service providers, ACA International previously reported.

Effective immediately, according to the DFPI bulletin, it will “review and investigate consumer complaints against previously unregulated financial products and services, including debt collectors, credit repair and consumer credit reporting agencies, debt relief companies, rent to own contractors, private school financing, and more.”

 Under the consumer financial protection law, the DFPI will also:

  • Significantly expand the state’s consumer protection capacity by adding dozens of investigators and attorneys to supervise financial institutions.
  • Create a team to monitor markets to proactively identify emerging risks to consumers.
  • Create a team dedicated to consumer education and outreach, listening and responding to consumers in specific communities, including veterans, immigrants and older Californians.
  • Create a new Office of Financial Technology and Innovation, which will cultivate financial technology to serve consumers.

This spring, the DFPI will launch a statewide campaign to educate California consumers on how the department can support and protect consumers, according to its bulletin.

Licensing Requirements in the Works

Under a law passed last year, California is now one of 35 states to require a license for debt collection. Agencies have one year to apply.

The Debt Collection Licensing Act (SB 908), from California State Sen. Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, was signed into law by Newsom in September 2020.

It was welcome news for the accounts receivable management (ARM) industry and ACA that the governor approved both these measures, allowing for a separate licensing process outside of the DFPI.

With the governor’s signature on the licensing bill, the commissioner of the Department of Business oversight shall take all actions necessary to prepare to be able to fully enforce the licensing and regulatory provisions of this division, including, but not limited to, adoption of all necessary regulations by Jan. 1, 2022.

The California Association of Collectors (CAC) advocated to ensure workable options for consumers and the ARM industry in the licensing bill. And the Collectors Insurance Agency (CIA) licensing team had a seat at the table to negotiate the best licensing legislation possible for the ARM industry.

While a license will not be required until 2022, the state has indicated the application and its checklist should be submitted as soon as they are live in 2021. The law permits the state to use the electronic Nationwide Multistate Licensing System (NMLS) for the licensing process. There will also be a bonding requirement as part of the licensing process.

License applications will be due by Dec. 31, 2021, and the DFPI expects to begin the licensing process in late summer or fall next year. Debt collectors that apply for a license before the deadline next year would be allowed to operate pending the approval or denial of the application.

Under the law, the DFPI will also appoint a seven-member Debt Collection Advisory committee.

Even though the application is not available yet, ACA members and ARM industry professionals can contact the CIA licensing team to be added to the Licensing Service List. When the application and list of requirements is available, the team will provide more information on the service.

For more information on how the ACA licensing staff can assist with your licensing application completion needs in California as well as other states, please email licensing@acainternational.org or call (952) 926-6547.

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Industry Disruptor Curtis Ray Launches Retirement Planning and Saving Service, MPI™ UNLIMITED

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GILBERT, Ariz., Jan. 14, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Curtis Ray, retirement planning expert and creator of the patent-pending Maximum Premium Indexing (MPI™) Plan, announced today his newest company, MPI™ UNLIMITED. The company’s proprietary technology utilizes the security guarantee of permanent life insurance, the growth potential of the stock market and the power of compound interest to provide enhanced retirement income, tax-free.

“I am thrilled to announce the official launch of MPI™ UNLIMITED,” said Ray. “After years of research in the financial planning space, I realized that traditional strategies, like the 401(k) and IRA, are not providing enough income throughout retirement years. I’m looking forward to teaching hardworking people, from all walks of life, how to utilize secure compound interest to maximize their savings and achieve their dream retirement. Always Be Compounding!”

The MPI™ plan is an advanced cash-value life insurance plan specifically designed as a max-funded, increasing death benefit contract. The plan provides holistic benefits to clients which include mitigation against market risk, enhanced compound interest returns, increased retirement income, tax-free distribution and more.

Ray’s passion for retirement planning goes beyond MPI™ UNLIMITED; a best-selling author, Ray tackled the challenges of consistent underperformance in the current retirement planning industry in his 2018 book Everyone Ends Up Poor. In his most recent book, The Lost Science of Compound Interest, Ray deconstructs the phenomenon of compound interest, teaching readers to harness its power through small and simple actions.

“Learning about MPI™ and compound interest has been one of the most valuable things I’ve learned in my life. I have a master’s degree in engineering, yet I have never seen anything like this before,” said Angie Merget, Financial Engineer and MPI™ UNLIMITED client. “Taking the time to understand MPI™ is without a doubt the best thing you can do for yourself and your family.”

The purpose of MPI™ UNLIMITED is to provide services focused on the phenomenon of compounding. Within the next five years, Ray plans to expand their offerings into mortgage, credit repair, personal tax filing and other financial services to give every American the best path to financial freedom.

To learn more about MPI™ UNLIMITED and its retirement planning options, visit www.mympi.com.

About MPI™ UNLIMITED
Founded in 2020 by Curtis Ray, MPI™ UNLIMITED works to provide simplified financial education that addresses complex money topics, so that the public can understand and implement the full potential of Secure Compound Interest in their life. Ray, best-selling author and MPI™ UNLIMITED’s CEO, invented and developed the patent pending MPI™ (Maximum Premium Indexing) Secure Compound Interest Account, in order to help people maximize their retirement savings.

Media Contact:
Heather Tidwell
949-777-1333
[email protected]

SOURCE MPI UNLIMITED

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http://www.mympi.com

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