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Re: Scam of the day
Chapman, Spira & Carson - Disscusion

From: National Consumers League, Consumer Protection Agency
Date: 4/24/99
Time: 9:35:37 AM
Remote User:

Comments

Scams come in all sizes and shapes, this one though is different than almost anything we have ever seen before. Chapman

Thursday, July 2, 1998 PRIVATIZED CONSUMER PROTECTION? It sounded like a case of government privatization gone wild. Robert Oliver of Panama City, Florida, offered franchises to "individuals interested in owning and operating a local agency," - the U.S. Consumer Protection Agency (USCPA). For only $6,000 Oliver promised to provide training, licensing and certification so the purchaser could operate the "Consumer Protection Agency" for the city or county of their choice. According to materials posted on the Internet, the franchise would earn large sums of money by selling memberships to local business ($149 to join plus a yearly fee of $250).

But according to the Federal Trade Commission this wasn't the next wave of privatization - this was a scam. Yesterday, the FTC filed in federal court for a permanent injunction to stop the sale of these business opportunities. In the complaint the FTC said that Oliver violated section 5 of the FTC Act by falsely representing that his business was a government agency and, in violation of the Franchise Rule, by not making required disclosures.

"Just when you think you've seen it all, someone tries to scam consumers by passing themselves off as a champion of consumer protection," said Jodie Bernstein, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. "The FTC is committed to protecting consumers from fraud and deception - especially from those whose conduct destroys the public trust."

If someone offers you the opportunity to provide services for the government, check it out. Contact a competent government authority to make sure that it's real. Remember, it's illegal to impersonate a government agency.

And there are regulations governing the sale of business opportunities. Make sure you understand your rights and protections under those regulations by reading the FTC's brochures and IFW's tips on business opportunities and franchises.

For more information on the FTC's case against Robert Oliver and USCPA, check out the FTC press release.

If you have any questions or would like to report an incident, please call NCL's National Fraud Information Center/Internet Fraud Watch at 1-800-876-7060 or use one of our online forms.

NOTE: The Federal Trade Commission authorizes filing of a complaint when it has "reason to believe" that the law has been or is being violated, and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The complaint is not a finding or ruling that the defendant actually has violated the law. The case will be decided by the court.

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