This type of scam targets consumers who are past victims of fraud. Consumers find themselves being conned a second time by asset recovery companies who promise to recover money lost in the initial fraud. A third party asset recovery company charges a fee to assist individuals in recovering money that was originally lost in a scam. Scammers often target older consumers who have been victims of fraudulent timeshare investments, bogus promotions, in-home business opportunities and money-making schemes.
Often times, victims of fraud are added to a “suckers list” and the list is then sold to different con artists. Asset recovery companies may use these lists to cold-call once defrauded consumers. The asset recovery company may offer to investigate, provide legal services, and almost always promise to recover a consumer's invested money. The company claims it can get the consumer's money back for an upfront fee of several hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. Once the upfront fee is paid, the consumer then finds out they could have completed the same tasks the company provided on their own for free.
Tips to Protect Yourself from Asset Recovery Scams:
- Be cautious if you receive an unsolicited telephone call from an asset recovery company who promises to recoup your lost investment.
- Research companies requiring an upfront fee to recover money, most often you can fulfill the same process they will for free.
- Be wary of high pressure sales tactics, demands of secrecy or discouraging you from seeking additional information or advice before making a decision.
- Question claims from the company stating they have insider information, connections or special government access to file complaints. They may say they will file the necessary complaint paperwork with government agencies; all of which the consumer can do for free on their own.
- Read the fine print of any service contract before you provide any money. Ask them to provide specifics on what they are going to charge, what information you will receive from their investigation and what exact services they will be providing.
Unfortunately, most defrauded investors rarely recover their original funds. Ask yourself whether you can risk losing more money for the small possibility of recouping your original investment.
You can also verify if you have any unclaimed property with the Colorado Department of the Treasury. Consumers can conduct a free search of any unclaimed property in the state of Colorado using The Great Colorado Payback Program, administered by the Colorado Department of the Treasury.
As a consumer, you can also submit complaints to federal and local agencies, such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Complaint Assistant, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Colorado Attorney General’s Office for free.
If you believe you have been victimized by an asset recovery scam or if you wish to report suspicious activity, please file a report here.