Thousands of Americans are victimized by consumer fraud every year. Residents throughout Kansas and Missouri who have been taken advantage of by individuals or business entities can turn to our firm for help. Our attorneys have years of experience in handling consumer fraud cases.
Consumer fraud can be many things, but by the principal and most basic definition, it is a product or service that involves a willful and purposeful deception that is used to exploit the consumer financially. If you have been a victim of a deceptive business practice, you may be able to take legal action against liable parties as a victim of consumer fraud. Contact one of our experienced attorneys today to schedule a free consultation.
If you are an investor and have been wronged in some way, you may have the option to file a claim for investment fraud in NASD (National Association of Securities Dealers) securities arbitration against your stock broker or investment professional. There are several reasons for which one could bring suit against a stock broker or investment professional, including the making of unsuitable investments that are extremely high-risk or over-concentrated, churning or excessive activity in a portfolio, negligence, a failure to supervise the progress of a portfolio, and a breach of a contract.
If you have been a victim of any of these activities, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your investment losses. The Federal Trade Commission and state securities regulators oversee the sale of securities and stocks in the United States to ensure that fair and legal business is being conducted. If you have been exploited, you have legal rights, and we can help you decide how best to proceed with your case.
Real Estate Fraud
According to the IRS, real estate fraud is one of the fastest growing types of white-collar crime in the United States. Real estate fraud typically involves some sort of money laundering scheme and can victimize buyers and lenders alike.
Real estate fraud can be classified under two main categories: fraud-for-profit and fraud-for-property. Common types of real estate fraud include appraisal fraud, in which a home is over-valued or under-valued; illegal property “flipping” that occurs when someone purchases a home at below-value cost by providing false information to the lender; fraudulent settlement statements; and false qualifications being prepared for a potential buyer. Additionally, you may be a victim of real estate fraud if a contractor hired for home repair or remodeling was negligent in his or her duties, violated a contract or reasonable understanding of work to be completed, or collected money without performing any duties. Our consumer fraud attorneys have the experience and knowledge needed to represent businesses and individuals who have been victimized by real estate fraud. If you have been financially exploited in a fraudulent real estate scheme, contact us today to schedule a consultation.
Fraudulent automobile scams are often related to the purchase and sale of a vehicle, or they can be designed to recover undeserved funds from an automobile insurance policy. States have laws that regulate the sale of automobiles so that fair and just transactions can be made between buyers and sellers. If a seller purposefully withholds pertinent information regarding the history of a vehicle or tampers with said vehicle, he or she may be held liable for fraud. This form of fraud can include selling a wrecked vehicle that has been issued a salvage title without informing the buyer or changing the readout on the vehicle’s odometer to give the potential buyer a false indication of that vehicle’s history.
Many states have laws, typically known as “lemon laws,” regulating or prohibiting the sale of wrecked or salvaged vehicles and vehicles that have been illegally tampered with. Sellers, most notably dealers, can also exploit a buyer by exaggerating the value of a vehicle or by issuing an illegal or fraudulent loan; these loans may include hidden costs, exorbitant early termination fees, or disguised variable interest rates.
Automobile insurance fraud is perpetrated by individuals who deliberately aim to recover funds from their insurance policies or those of others by cheating the system. This practice may involve, for instance, filing a claim under a comprehensive insurance policy for theft after removing items from a car, recovering financial compensation for these “stolen” items, and then re-installing them, or it can involve purposefully abandoning, destroying, or burning a car with the intent of recovering funds after the insurance company declares the car a loss.
Some individuals seek to involve other drivers as well, with the aim of recovering financial compensation not only from the individual’s insurance company but, in some cases, from civil litigation against the other driver as well. These con artists may use tactics such as deliberately cutting off a vehicle and slamming on the brakes to cause a rear-end collision or claiming to be a pedestrian injured by a passing vehicle in a parking lot or slow intersection. If you believe that you have been a victim of automobile fraud, we may be able to help.
Covering such activities as lottery and contest scams, travel and timeshare fraud, and magazine subscription scams, entertainment fraud is a term used to describe a category of consumer fraud that relates to leisure activities and products.
Among the more popular types of entertainment fraud are scams involving timeshares. Timeshares are co-owned vacation properties that are used for allotted amounts of time by each of the owners in turn. Many timeshare developers hold presentations, often with big incentives for attendance, to sell their products to customers. However, the incentives for attending are often misrepresented or entirely false, and the timeshare company itself may be illegitimate as well. Many victims of timeshare fraud report that they were promised that their current timeshares would be purchased by the developer only to find that they had become owners of not one timeshare, but two. Other fraud victims have reported that, upon receiving a deposit or first month’s payment, the timeshare developer filed for bankruptcy or went out of business.
If you have suffered financial hardship as the result of a timeshare fraud or have been a victim of an illegitimate contest or lottery scam, you may be eligible for damages for your losses. To learn more about entertainment fraud or to discuss your case with one of our attorneys, contact our office today.
Unfortunately for victims of internet fraud, it is often very difficult to identify an individual suspect who can be held liable for the scam. Internet fraud involves identity theft and investment scams, and often is initiated via spam email. Internet identity theft is becoming increasingly common because of the ease with which spam emails can be sent out. These spam emails often pose as legitimate queries from a company that the victim may be familiar with and ask for individuals to update or verify private user information, such as social security numbers and credit card numbers.
Among the more popular companies impersonated in these types of scams are PayPal and eBay because they store sensitive user information. This information is then used to obtain money from the victim’s financial accounts or to make fraudulent purchases. This type of email scam is commonly referred to as “phishing” because it is, in many ways, like casting a line and seeing who will swallow the bait.
If you have suffered identity theft, it is imperative to contact your bank or creditor, law enforcement, and one of the three major credit unions. By making the pertinent parties aware of this issue, you can limit the amount of damage caused by an identity theft. Banks and lenders will often reimburse customers for any money lost as a result of identity theft, and filing a formal record of the occurrence with both the police and the credit unions can help protect your credit score. If you have been taken in by an internet investment scam, an attorney from our office may be able to help. Contact us today to learn more.