Sherry Malone says she's received telemarketing calls before, but none that offered a package like this from a company named Consumer Rewards Network. "If I accepted it they would give a 3 day, 2 night stay in Branson, Missouri and a $700 shopping spree," says Sherry. On top of that, discounts on doctor visits and co-pays.
Sherry says the operator told her all she had to pay was $4.95 for shipping and handling. And that's when they tried to close the deal. "She said 'Do you still bank at...' and then she named the bank that I banked at and that kind of lit up another flag. So she spit out my routing number. [And] it was correct!"
So Sherry called "7 On Your Side" and we found out the Attorney General in Michigan says this a scam and that Consumer Rewards Network has been calling people, pretending to be Wal-Mart claiming you've won a $500 shopping spree, all you have to do is give them your bank information and pay a $4.95 shipping and handling fee. Some residents in that Michigan found out the hard way when they later discovered unauthorized withdrawals from their account. In one instance causing overdrafts and hefty bank fees.
We also contacted California-based Consumer Rewards Network who said they offer "shopping rebates" but none from Wal-mart. They said if a person does not want the offer, all they have to do is say no. In Sherry's case that just made matters worse. "Now why did you not give me your $4.95," says Sherry describing the telemarketer's reaction when she declined the offer. "That's all I need from you is $4.95, will you please give me $4.95 cents, can't you afford $4.95. So I said maam, you're not very professional. If you were professional you would say 'ok maam, thank you very much, thank you for your time and then hang up."
The incident has prompted Sherry to call the local media, the Better Business Bureau just to get the word out about this company. "I think they would have took every thing in my checking account," says Sherry. She hopes that the people who will really listen are viewers like you who may be on the other end of a solicited phone call.
Christine Nelson reporting. firstname.lastname@example.org