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This Just In: November 20 - 27

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Suck on This

Summary: A Lower Burrell woman ends up on a "suckers list" and warns others of a lesson learned the hard way. Reporter: Rick Earle, WPXI Channel 11 Airtime: 2 minutes, 2 seconds on Nov. 13 Visuals: * The woman who is the focus of the story re-enacting a phone call. * A business card for Foreclosures Solutions, LLC, the company that allegedly screwed this woman over. Highlights: * When Earle contends the woman "was having financial trouble and faced foreclosure. She paid a company more than a thousand dollars to help her. ... [Eventually she] contacted a local attorney. He ultimately helped her save the house. But, she says, the company refused to refund her money. She filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania Attorney General -- and Target 11 discovered that the same company has been prosecuted for similar practices in Ohio and Illinois." * When Earle tells us about the next scam: "Just last month, a woman called to say a mortgage company had hired her and she needed [the victim's] personal information." * When the victim asserts, "She wanted that documentation right then and there. In fact, she left me a fax number to fax that documentation to." * When Earle claims, "Because she was scammed once, [the victim's] name may have landed on a special list -- a list the Better Business Bureau is very familiar with." * When Warren King from the Better Business Bureau purports, "She was put on the sucker list. And once you're on that list, you just have to be very careful in who you deal with. * When Earle explains, "It's a list of people who have been taken before, and those names are then circulated among thieves." * When King explains how it works: "In most instances [a person's name and information] will be sold. And the con artists, they all know, who do the same kinds of promotions and scams and schemes, and they'll either sell it or provide it to an affiliate or a division of their particular company." * When King cautions the unwary, "If is sounds too good to be true, don't believe it." * When Earle says, "As for [this woman], she learned her lesson the hard way, and she now has a lesson for others." * When the older-but-wiser victim warns, "Don't find someone believable because they call you and tell you." What We Learned: There's a local news story about scam artists born every minute. Unanswered Questions: How can someone get off this list? Are there steps being taken by the government or advocacy groups to stop this? News Value: 1. A painfully generic story, and one you can draw out whenever you have a couple minutes to fill. It's probably an excellent bet that crooks have been compiling lists like these ever since man learned he could take advantage of his fellow man.

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