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Zoey_JD
Zoey_JD, Criminal attorney
Category: Fraud Examiner
Satisfied Customers: 23543
Experience:  Active member of the NYS bar since 1989
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I have been scammed for $10,275.00 by a company who

Customer Question

I have been scammed for $10,275.00 by a company who mis-represented themselves as another company. I am seeking a total refund for this fraudulent action.
JA: Oh, dear. I'm sure the Fraud Examiner can help you. Please tell me everything you can so the Fraud Examiner can help you best.
Customer: A person claiming he was a recruiter for Amazon, recruiting people to become affiliates. The $10,000.00 was to drive 10,000 contacts to my website.within 45 - 60 days I would be earning $3-$4K. He knew of some affiliates earning 6 figures. That was in June and I have yet to see any income. This is fraud and I want all of my money returned and the appropriate agencies take action against the companyh
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Fraud Examiner should know?
Customer: No I have hit send
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Fraud Examiner
Expert:  Zoey_JD replied 1 month ago.

Hi,

I'm Zoey and I'll be assisting you. I'm reviewing your question now.

Do you have a website for the company that approached you, which was not Amazon? That is, what contact information do you have for the man who contacted you? How did you send the money?

Expert:  Zoey_JD replied 1 month ago.

I'm sorry to hear that this happened to you. You are one of many customers who have contacted us because they were suckered into thinking that they were going to be making heaps of money by selling Amazon products.

Amazon does have affiliate programs where you can offer their goods on your website. As you have probably found out by now, however, they do not contact people at random and solicit them to become affiliates. You have to have a website to become an affiliate, but once you've got one,

Amazon does not charge you anything to be an affiliate. Amazon itself will NOT design your website. So, if this man claimed that he was Amazon and charged you to design a website for you, he was lying to you. On the other hand, if he did design a website for you, you did get something for the money you paid. The problem is that to make money on Amazon, it's not just the development of your website that will allow you to succeed. It's the search engine optimization and the marketing that will put yourself out there as a presence on the web, so that someone will choose your affiliate site to make a purchase from Amazon, instead of going to Amazon itself or to someone else's site.

Affiliate work can generate money, but those who do best at it have a site that already draws lots of traffic so that people can do one-stop shopping. We get a lot of complaints from customers like your who were promised to be set up to make big bucks on Amazon, where, in fact, you are far more likely not to make back the cost of your investment, because nobody is ever going to find your website.

If a company that really exists breaches a contract and engage in fraudulent behavior with you, that's one kind of scam for which you could exercise legal remedies. If the company was never a real company but was just a phony business site set up to steal money, however, that's another kind. In this second kind, while you would still have the right to sue or prosecute the person behind the scam, without police assistance you are never going to find out who or where they really are.

But here are your legal remedies:

If the person who contacted you was an agent for a real company, you'd first need to contact hiim and see if you can get them to address your concerns. If he's disappeared or if he is just lying to you and stalling you, there are other things you can do.

-- If you paid for the website by credit or debit card, you could then contact your credit card carrier and ask them to do a chargeback as you did not get what you contracted for and have learned that you have been defrauded by a fraudulent vendor.

-- From there, if your card carrier won't assist you, the next step would be to contact a lawyer and ask them to write a strong letter to the person you dealt with, listing the various ways he has breached their contract with you and misrepresented his services and telling him that if he is not willing to resolve your problem or refund your money then you will have no choice but to take him to court and sue for breach of the contract and for their fraudulent and deceptive trade practices.

You can do this for yourself without a lawyer, though it has more teeth when the letter is on a lawyer's letterhead. A successful suit involving fraudulent and deceptive trade practices would entitle you to an award and triple damages. If the company is real, that threat coming to them on legal letterhead should make the person who contacted you think twice and, hopefully settle up with you.

Meanwhile, you can file complaints with the US consumer protection agencies we have, as they are free. Go to the Better Business Bureau's site and lodge a consumer complaint against them. You can do that right on the BBB's website. As a non-profit organization committed to protecting consumers, the BBB will try to intervene on your behalf and to resolve your problem if they can locate the company and the company is willing to work with them.

From there, you want to file one with your state attorney general's office.. Again, you want to emphasize that the agent and his company has breached its contract with you and engaged in fraudulent, unfair and deceptive practices.

Finally, you can involve our Federal consumer protection regulatory agency, the Federal Trade Commission by filing a similar consumer complaint with them also.

These government agencies may not usually intervene on any one person's individual situation. But when they get enough complaints to see a pattern and practice of unethical or fraudulent business dealings they can, and do step in. They haul the company into Federal court where the companies usually settle for enormous fines and heavy government sanctions. The money the government collects is distributed among those defrauded by the company. So even if it may take a while for you to recover, you want to file these complaints.

Finally, you can hire a consumer rights lawyer and take your scammer to court. But this means finding him and knowing who and where he really is.

If you cannot do that, because this is an out and out fraud, then the matter is one for law enforcement, and you are the victim of a crime. Report the crime to your police and to the FBI at IC3.gov, because only if your scammer is found by the police and brought to justice will you be able to recover anything.

I can give you one piece of positive news however. In the worst case scenario, if the police come up with nothing, you're the victim of a crime. Losses when you're a crime victim are tax deductible. So you'll get something back in the form of a refund when you file your 2016 taxes, even if your phony Amazon agent has disappeared completely into cyberspace.

You also can hire a consumer right's lawyer and sue for fraud and/or breach of contract, and one might be willing to take the case on contingency, meaning that you would only pay the lawyer if he wins your case or gets a settlement you approve of. Then he gets about 40% of your award. Alternatively, since the debt is relatively small you can sue in Arizona Small Claims court and do it yourself without a lawyer.

If the company is a complete fraud, none of the above will do any good until they are found, so you will have to report the crime against you to your police and to the FBI at IC3.gov so they can be brought to justice.

It is unfortunate but if they are a complete fraud, the possibility of recovery is very, very low. There is one somewhat brighter note if they are total scammers, however: when you are the victim of a crime your unreimbursed losses are tax deductible, so you will be able to have a write off when you prepare your 2016 taxes.

Expert:  Zoey_JD replied 1 month ago.

Just checking in to see if you need more help or any clarification of my answer. If so, please reply here on this question thread.

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