Mugged by masked cybermobster!


Shame on me.  I don’t want you to make the same mistake so please read about my debacle.  I’m so mad I’m shaking.

I just got robbed, flogged and defrauded, and I’m furious.  Write this name down and don’t EVER deal with them:

After you’ve been robbed by these people in cyberspace, you have no recourse, because no one in the company speaks English!

Here’s what happened:  I was reading a testimonial from a woman in Nettleton, Mississippi, who was raving about a tooth whitening project she had ordered and had wonderful results.  I figured a “Sustah” wouldn’t lie. You could order a trial size for only $4.99 to cover the cost of postage and handling.

Stupid me – but $4.99 sounded like it might be worth the risk.  NOT! The project came a couple of weeks ago and I haven’t even opened it.  This morning I was paying some bills on line and discovered the “advanced wellness research center” had drafted my account for another $78.93!

I haven’t even ordered anything else and didn’t intend to.  I called three times and each time got some Eastern or Asian person who didn’t understand me and I couldn’t understand him.  In fact they had added an interesting touch – there is a three second delay, so you hear yourself repeat what you just said while the operator is blabbering away in some unknown, probably dead, language. Very confusing and probably designed to be so.

They won’t even offer a refund if I return the unopened package.  Supposedly I signed something that said I had 14 days to try the project.  My stupidity for not reading more carefully, but I never heard of any company that wouldn’t refund your money if the product has never been opened.

Bottom line, I’m out $83.92 and I’m probably going to have to close my bank account which means it’ll take forever to reload my automatic drafts.  I pay everything on line.

Hell, I may go back to using paper checks or keeping money under my mattress.  This company markets all kinds of “wellness” projects – but as far as I can see they are the only ones getting well by extorting $80 from honest people.

For sure I’ll never order anything on-line again and certainly not with my debit card.  That was beyond stupid.

Please forward this to everyone you know and let me know if you know of someone I can report this to or if you’ve had similar experiences.  It’s “companies” like this that give reputable firms a bad name.

5 thoughts on “Mugged by masked cybermobster!

  1. Emily, so sorry! I don’t know what recourse you have since you used a debit card instead of a credit card. Don’t let it sour you completely on shopping/banking online, though. I used to use my debit card for everything and recently learned how unsafe it really is. Now I use my credit card that offers rewards for everything and just make sure I pay it off each month. It’s safer and I get money back, to boot.

    When I buy anything online, ESPECIALLY those kinds of things that offer “free samples” for just the cost of shipping, I use a “virtual account number” generated on my Citibank credit card website. The virtual account number expires at the end of the month so the merchant can not reuse that number and since it’s a credit card I have recourse should something go wrong with the transaction. ( has more information on virtual account numbers with Citi. I’m sure there are other credit cards that offer the same kind of protection; I’m just familiar with Citi since that’s who I use. )



  2. Good information Sonya – thanks much. I was wondering why I used the debit card for an on-line order which I’ve never done before. I think it was the day Congress passed that credit card legislation and the news hounds were warning about how fees for those of us who pay off our credit cards were about to go up to pay for those who are in trouble and defaulting. I think I’m going back to good old cash – Do they still take that?

  3. Bummer, Emily!

    Not very helpful for this problem, but I heard just tonight that it’s a good idea to change your credit card no. about every 6 months.

    Also, (my idea) you can put your hand over those little boxes when punching in numbers in places that require you to punch in your pin number, etc. This keeps the cameras from seeing what you are punching in, and later, thieves playing back the recording to copy your number down.

    Watch out for gas stations that require you to come inside when the credit card won’t work outside at the pump or a sign says to go inside.
    Most of the time, they have a good reason, but I watch what I do with my credit card in those places, IF I have to use one (don’t want to be seen flashing cash around either, particularly a large bill (even $20 bill), and most especially, outside the building). This can happen anywhere, however.

    Think there are cameras that are able to get the numbers off your card, and also, think that now, they actually have some sort of magnet that can steal your number when you run it through one of those machines that require you to swipe your card through them to pay for something.
    Not sure what can be done about that, but perhaps changing your credit card no. every 6 months might help in lots of cases. It’s much harder to catch the thief 6 months from when the card was used. I’ve always heard that 6 months was when funny things would start to show up on the statement. Check your statements as soon as you get them for anything suspicious and report it immediately!

    A friend who had a second retirement at the post office told me to always take mail INSIDE the post office to mail it. We’ve had a mail delivery vehicle robbed in our area a few years ago, and the outdoor boxes can be robbed as well. I’ve found that most everything I mail has personal information in it that could lead to a theft, so if I don’t pay something by phone (most are automated systems, it seems), I just take the payment to the post office.

    Also, when mailing something, like a copy of a tax return, in the mail, I use white strips of paper to cover information that isn’t needed by the recipient, and xerox the whited out form, paper, etc. to mail. (This was just the only example I could think of at the moment as the need to do this is fairly rare.)

    A biggie is that NO ONE should ever need to write your driver’s license no. down on the back of a check or anything else, unless it’s something very obvious! You don’t have to make their policy your policy!! It’s easy to get just about anything one might want to access online or as a matter of government record by using that number. Just use it when a photo ID is required, not for writing down your no. I’m careful to avoid giving out my phone no. as well, and I don’t typically give out my e-mail address unless of course there’s a good reason.

    If you go to a grocery store that requires your drivers license, you can always remove from your purchases the amount that’s under the limit that requires the drivers license or just pay cash for the whole thing, or even leave if they are obnoxious about it, and don’t shop there anymore.

    The MOST likely place for your identity to be stolen off of a check loaded with information is at the place where the checks are destroyed (don’t think anyone mails the orginal cancelled checks back to you, do they?)

    Just think a minute…how much skill, education, or experience would it take to work at a place where all you did all day was to destroy used checks? Crooks know that working in a place like this gives them more access to everyone’s checks than any place else they could work. Never mind that they might not make any money doing their work — big bucks lie in what they steal from the checks.

    Think by now ya’ll all know to check with all the credit rating agencies annually — it’s free if you only check with ’em once a year. Make sure you have their real contact information as other crooks may fool you into thinking they are the credit rating agency in order to get your credit card no. or other vital information.

    I’ve noticed that banks will often have a flier, either in the lobby rack for the taking, or you can ask the clerks or tellers for fliers that give all sorts of helpful hints to prevent identity theft. I try to do all of them, but am constantly hearing new things to do. Crooks change their tactics, so we have to as well. This is WAR!

    I would list some other safety measures, but I think ya’ll probably already know about those by now. Will add more later if I think of anything else.

    If anyone else has more ideas, I’d love to hear about them.

    Thanks, Em, for putting out the warning from your bad experience!

  4. Did ya’ll know that those credit cards that give money or goods/services back as rewards make the business with which you are dealing pay extra for your use of that credit card to pay for their goods or services? I just recently learned that, and it makes me furious with the issuers of those cards!!! Guess it’s the other people’s money game, and I’m getting sick of it!

    From now on, I’m going to try not to use a credit card at small businesses, particularly for routine medical services at primary care physicians offices where the reimbursements and price controls are already hurting people who are working their tails off, and at local grocery stores that operate on very small profit margins, etc.

    I had thought that the banks issuing these cards were doing it to make money by increased use of their cards for purchases, not socking it to the businesses over and above what they were already charging them to begin with (to much).

    I hope all-a-ya’ll are paying your local primary care docs with checks. Credit card fees just add insult to injury to these medical providers, and in alot of places, they are having to just quit practicing altogether and their offices are now gone.

    Soooo…what do the banks get — big bail outs! Let’s see if they really do pay back what they owe!


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