RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – That next phone call you get could end up cost you thousands of dollars. The Better Business Bureau is warning about a company "cold calling" the elderly with work at home offers. We investigated and discovered what you should look out for.
Be on the alert if you get a phone call from a company called Franklin Financial Solutions. It offers a number of financial services and opportunities, including the chance to work at home. Tom Gallagher, with the Better Business Bureau, says one elderly victim in Petersburg is out of at least $15,000 after taking the company up on its offer.
"If we have received one contact like this, there are others out there. I know, I know it, I have been doing this too long," he said.
Gallagher says the company is randomly making calls, hoping someone takes the bait. Victims complain to the BBB that once they pay, they never hear back from the company. The pitch is you can make thousands of dollars by selling credit card processing machines. But the only thing the victim in our story received was a list of sales leads. Essentially, a list of names for which she was charged thousands of dollars.
"She gave them a couple of credit card numbers, on one she put $18,000 on, another she put $2,000," Gallagher told us.
There is a twist to this story. The out of state company, used a local taxi company to deliver contracts. Both the victim and the taxi company didn't want to talk on camera. In fact, the taxi company claims it was duped too. It says the company never paid for the courier service.
"The cab company was very cooperative. We tracked back through them. They hadn't been paid, they were supposed to be paid $100 for things and before we even got to them, they had called the police," said Gallagher.
The BBB says it is not unusual for taxis to act as couriers. But we wanted to know more about the company who hired the cab service so we started digging for answers. Franklin Financial Solutions has an "F" rating with the BBB for advertising and sales issues.
"We know there is a Wyoming address that is given, I don't think they are there and the phones or the boiler room is located in Arizona or at least that is where the calls show they are coming from," Gallagher said.
We checked with the BBB that covers the Wyoming area, it confirmed that the P.O. Box the company is listing, doesn't exist. A spokesperson says, "Bottom line: We have not received a response to the complaints and continue to be very suspicious of any company that is not transparent about its physical location."
We also called and sent emails to Franklin Financial Solutions in hopes of getting some answers. We never got a response. We even posted a message on the company's Facebook page, within seconds it was deleted. The BBB is concerned there may be more victims.
"Anytime you get a call where in order for you to earn money, you have to spend money, back off," Gallagher said.
The BBB says, usually people never strike it big with these work at home -- get rich -- offers. In the end, most likely, you're out of more money. The BBB says because the victim used her credit card, she can dispute the charges and likely get her money back.
Here are some helpful links:
Copyright 2012 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.
WWBT-TV NBC 12
P.O. Box 12
On Your Side
Video and Pics