I was a victim of this scam!

I was a victim of the Google Treasure Chest Scam. I can tell you from experience that they are unscrupulous con artists and my advice is "Stay Away from them". Do be very wary of any offers that toot the "Google" name as part of their offer as they are not connected with the "Google" search engine.
Please read about my experience with "Google Treasure Chest" so you will be better informed about how these scams work.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Steps to Recover your money

Steps to Take to Recover Your Money

1. Cancel your credit or debit card--Get a new card with new number! Your financial information has been compromised and you will be getting further debits to that card , If not now then they could come back later when you are unaware.
2. File a fraud charge with your credit card or bank and let them sort it out. They have more muscle to go after this sort of crime. Explain to them about all the consumer complaints that are on the internet and insist that they do charge-back or file a fraud charge. Your bank or credit card organization has all the tools necessary to find out where the charges are coming from, what business is involved, addresses and phone numbers connected to the charge and etc. You may not know or have access to this information. The banks and credit card org have all this at their fingertips and are obligated to handle the problem that has resulted.
3. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. Their job is to monitor and go after these types of scams. http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/cmplanding.shtm
4. File a complaint with your state Attorney General and also with the Attorney General of Utah (where a lot of the phone numbers seem to be located)
5. Filing a complaint with the BBB is toothless as the scam already is rated with a "F".
6. File complaint at http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx This is a place to report internet crime and is a combination gov agency of FBI, White collar Crime and Bureau of Justice Assistance.
7. After you filed with all the above agencies feel free to call any numbers you may possess that are connected to the "unauthorized debit to try and recover your money but take their word with a grain of salt. If you succeed in getting your money returned you will have still taken steps to put their scam out of commission.
Read about my experience with GTC scam on my personal blog

Subject: Google Treasure Chest,
970 W. Broadway,
Ste E347,
Jackson, Wy 83001

Mon Fri 9 to 5
866-951-1406 (support)
866-957-0020 UT (for refunds)

The best and most efficient way to throw a monkey wrench into this scam machine is to immediately cancel your debit or credit card to stop any future debits to your finances. Get a new card with a "new" number. It is a hassle but not as much hassle as dealing with trying to chase after the scum that do this scam. This is also a sensible step to take since you cannot be sure who might have your financial information now as it has clearly been compromised and could lead further to identity theft. Notify your bank of the reason why this is necessary and have them monitor your account for future activity coming from this scam. File a fraud report with the bank if they insist. Then feel free to start calling Google Treasure Chest phone numbers to regain your money.

Don't give up and don't take NO for an answer. Let them know that you have canceled your cc or debit card and that your intentions are to file charges against them with the Federal Trade Commission and your Attorney General for their unethical, fraudulent business practices if they do not immediately return all your money. If you are still under the 30 day money back guarantee use that for leverage. They will try to insist that you must return the DVD before you get a refund. This is not so, as you have been enrolled in a membership without your permission and you are legally entitled under the law to keep anything received because of it . Know Your Rights. Businesses must obtain your consent before enrolling you in a negative option plan. This is because, under traditional contract law, businesses cannot charge you for goods that you do not order. In fact, you are legally entitled to keep any unordered merchandise that you receive. If they do not accept this explanation then agree to return the DVD after you obtain your cancellation number. Be sure to record all information ,such as who you are speaking with and all the numbers given to you.

If you did not receive your DVD let them know that you are canceling (asking for your money back) because you have not received anything for your money and that you will be contacting the FTC immediately. Let them know that many other consumers are complaining about not receiving anything for their money either and that should not and can not be used for an excuse not to return your money when you are plainly letting them know that you are not satisfied with their service or business practices. After all, they do state a money back guarantee -->(At any time during the first thirty days, if you are not fully satisfied with your purchase, you may call customer service at 866.951.1406 for a refund of your monthly subscription and the shipping fee.) You cannot be held responsible if you did not receive the DVD. That is their responsibility to see that it should have reached you in a timely manner, especially since in their terms and conditions they seem to want to make an issue of the trial time period you have to review it. The time limit they have put on the trial period is laughable as it sometimes takes longer than 7 days for a product to reach the consumer after it is mailed by a business. (if it is mailed). Tell them that the FTC would be interested in that type of business practice. If they try to talk you into waiting to see if the DVD will show up tell them you are not interested in having any further dealings with them as they have not fulfilled their obligation to you in a timely manner .and insist they return your money as they guaranteed.

When I was hit by this GTC scam I canceled my debit card immediately and alerted my bank about the scam and asked them to monitor my account. Fortunately for me, the 30 days had not elapsed and I was able to use the GTC 30 day guarantee to recover my money. When I was able to reach someone at the phone number being listed for refunds coming from this "unauthorized debit" by GTC, I informed the person (Rachel) that answered that I was calling to get my guaranteed 30 day refund. She asked "do you want me to cancel your subscription so you won't be charged anything further?" ( well, duh!!!)and I replied "yes, cancel that "fraud" and you will no longer be able to debit any future finances from my account as I had canceled my card and put my bank on fraud alert for future activity coming from your company." She pretended to have to go check my records to see if I could be given a refund and I was put on hold. When she came back her manner was gruff and frosty and she said I could have my refund, and she was canceling my subscription and I would not need to return the DVD to get the refund. I guess they did not want to mess with returning the original $1.97 shipping charge that I paid for the DVD. She gave me a cancellation number and I read it back to her, she checked my address for accuracy and said I should have my refund in 5 to 7 days. I followed this up with a letter in the mail to the GTC address with all the necessary information concerning my dealings with them stating that since they had all the necessary information about my account that I was expecting them to expedite the return of my money immediately. That letter was returned as "undeliverable", but it curiously looked as though it had been slit open on one end and re-sealed. It was well over 10 days before the $72.21 showed back up in my account. They are not as speedy to return your money as they are on taking it.

GTC did not answer any of my e-mail. They were extremely hard to reach on both phone numbers --I mostly got a message mumbling what their hours were and a cutoff, or a voice and then a cutoff and a voice with an "ominous" cutoff click. The voice sounded like the same person on all the connections. I had to be persistent to reach a real person and I was mad enough to do so. I figured they would have to eventually answer the phone to conduct any business. The phone number that worked for me was the refund number listed above (866-957-0020). I reported them to the Utah BBB and when BBB sent copy of my complaint to GTC it was returned back to BBB as undeliverable.

Most all of these type scams are trading on the “Google” name as this places their ads and websites high on the search scale to be found, plus, most surfers trust that the “Google” name connection, (or for that matter any other well known company with logos such as CNN, etc) means that it is legitimate. What these scams have in common is that they bait you with some kind of “DVD” which you think is your only cost. What they are really selling is membership in worthless websites filled with ads and software that can be found for free anywhere on the internet. What they are neglecting to do is inform the consumer that their intent is to enroll you in a monthly membership and then pass your financial information on to other cohorts.

Another wrinkle in these membership scams is they are making their websites look like a newspaper article that endorses the scam, but if you look closely at all the information on the webpage you will see that they do it like all "bait" web pages. They cut off consumer comments, supposedly due to spam and leave their t/c or disclosure in very tiny print at the very bottom of the page and they have plenty of links to click to sign up for the scam being offered. Check out this website
and notice the fine print immediately under the "Miami Gazette News" headline

That article was created using a wordpress template.

I was exploring and researching some of those scam money maker websites offering glowing wealth or just information in a kit and you know how one of those popup chat windows come up when you try to leave and they try to talk you out of leaving before you sign up? Here is some of the dialog I had with one of them:
Kelly Says: Wait! Don’t Leave! My name is Kelly and I have just been authorized to give you a CHAT ONLY DISCOUNT!

CLICK HERE now to get $0.99 SHIPPING!

Kelly Says: Just type 'HI' or 'Hello' in the space below to let me know you are there.

Kelly Says:Anyone with a computer and basic typing skills can Earn up to $943 Per Day!

Kelly Says: Whenever you are ready, just type 'HI' or 'HELLO' and we can get started...

You: How much does this cost me

Kelly Says: When you order right now, you will get your Risk Free Trial Kit and all you have to pay is the Chat Only Discount price of shipping of just $0.99! CLICK HERE to get yours now!

You: Is there further cost than the .99

Kelly Says: This amazing offer is only available through this chat and for a limited time. CLICK HERE to take advantage of this deal.

You: Is there a further fee than the .99

Kelly Says: You will get Real, Live support to answer any question and help you every step of the way! CLICK HERE now and get your kit for just $0.99 Shipping!

You: you are not answering my question ---is there further cost than the .99?

Kelly Says: I am sorry, but I only have limited information. For more questions or information, please email us at support@googletreasurechest.com to contact customer service.

You: Why do you you not have your terms and conditions out in plain site for the consumer to read instead of hiding them in obscure linK FTC says that that kind of information should be near the submit financial button and it is not

Kelly Says: No, this is not a scam! We are so confident that this will help you make money that we are offering a 100% satisfaction guarantee!

You: I have seen by all the complaints that you do not always live up to the guarantee and I also see that Texas has a lawsuit againt you

Kelly Says: My name is Kelly and I'm a live virtual agent.

You: I'll just bet you are. When the questions get too tough or personal you turn into a virtual agent. Now where have I seen that before?

Kelly Says: Please allow 5-7 Business days for your Free Trial to arrive if you are within the United States.

You: You have not made satisfactory answers to any legitimate quetions so I conclude that you have something to hide

Kelly Says: I'm sorry, but I only have limited information on our products, and the ability to offer you this discount. For more questions or information, please email us at support@googletreasurechest.com to contact customer service.

You: email don't answer, the phone numbers don't answer so how can I find information about this offfer on whether there is further fees involved if you won't answer'

Kelly Says: I’m sorry I don’t have a phone number to provide to you. For more questions or information, please email us at support@googletreasurechest.com to contact customer service.

You: any legitimate agent for a company should have that information at hand

Kelly Says: Our fine-tuned, proprietary software is 100% Guaranteed!

You: 100 per cent guaranteed for you if I am stupid enough to go for it

Kelly Says: OK to end the CHAT simply CLICK on the "X" in the upper right.
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