Shop-at-Home or catalog fraud is a scam done by certain small businesses to make money. The distinguishing aspect of catalog fraud is the importance of finding new recruits to participate in the club. The scam artists that facilitate this scheme require that potential buyers subscribe to a catalog buying club for a discounted price. However, the upfront costs are enormous. Many subscribers never see the products they were promised and lose hundreds of dollars.
Why Are Shop-at-Home/Catalog Clubs Successful?
These clubs are successful because many potential buyers become enamored with the great deal promised. There are many willing participants who write checks in large amounts in order to receive years of products that are delivered to their home at a reduced price.
What Steps Can I Take as a Victim?
People should be aware that these clubs are a type of fraud. Therefore, it's a criminal offense to knowingly participate in a catalog fraud. There are steps victims can undertake that include:
- Contact the Police: Because catalog clubs can constitute fraud the local law enforcement officials may be able to obtain the founders of the scheme to return money to the rightful owners.
- Contact the Federal Trade Commission: The FTC regularly helps the Justice Department to prosecute catalog shopping club fraud. If catalog shopping club frauds have reached across state lines the federal government has jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute these individuals.
What Should I Do If Suspect Shopping Catalog Fraud?
Individuals should remember that shopping catalog club fraud can extend to all different types of areas. Therefore, ask questions about how the proposed offer works. People should think about whether the promise of a great return is feasible and possible. There are countless situations where asking yourself good questions and thinking about what a person is offering you can prevent you from being defrauded.
Should I Consult an Attorney?
Shopping catalog clubs are a fraud and an attorney can help advise you on a course of action. A civil suit against these operators would require a strong attorney experienced in consumer fraud cases. In addition, a criminal attorney can help you to recover money from fraud scheme operators, assuming that they can be found.