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At the Oscars, the best acceptance speeches are those with the story behind the thank you. Which is why, when we’re thanking all the legal services attorneys we get to work with, I’m going to tell you a few stories, rather than simply list the dozens of names.

In 2010, the FTC launched a Legal Services Collaboration: holding Common Ground conferences to bring together law enforcement and legal services; rethinking our consumer education to better serve legal services clients; talking regularly with our legal services colleagues – and getting their case referrals and help.

Not every referral becomes a federal case, though we looked into every referral. Here’s what happened to some of the referrals:

  • A heads-up from AARP’s Legal Counsel for the Elderly led to an FTC win against Real Wealth for peddling bogus work-at-home offers. 50,000 refund checks went to scammed consumers.
  • The FTC’s case against Loma International came from a referral from the Esperanza Center, an office of Baltimore Catholic Charities. They also found victims of the scams, and got their stories. FTC attorneys won at trial and the judge ordered the defendant to repay up to $616,000 to immigrants they’d scammed.
  • Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid identified the problem with Freedom Companies – a company supposedly offering mortgage relief services to Spanish-speakers – and helped get a consumer declaration. The FTC was able to shut down the business and seized all the remaining assets.
  • A report from Arkansas Legal Aid led to a series of FTC undercover investigations and 11 warning letters to used car dealers about abuses, and a case against Abernathy Motor Company for failing to display the required Buyers Guide at its Jonesboro, Arkansas location.

Before the orchestra plays me off the stage, I’ll mention that tips can turn into education – as in the heads-up from Community Legal Services in Philadelphia about calls targeting Bhutanese refugees with a government grant scam. And not all help is in the form of a referral. The Northwest Justice Project, for example, was instrumental in helping build the case against foreclosure rescue scammers Hope Services, including giving the FTC a declaration to support an emergency motion to halt the company’s deceptive practices.

This small sampling shows how successful this relationship has been – and, I hope, conveys how grateful we are to work with our wonderful colleagues on the front lines of legal services to lower-income communities. They make a difference in their communities every day. We hope that, through these collaborations, the FTC helps amplify the good they do – and continues to help every consumer in every community.

Comments

I really appreciate the work you are doing. Since I setup the online e-letter with FTC (and other government agencies) I am much more well informed.

Thankyou for being available to do what you do!!!

thanks for that info on Hope Services who has targeted me too. I saw your info and didn't proceed any further with them. Thanks for saving me dough.

Very well written thought jump starting thoughts and actions. I would very much like to be given a chance to participate in above described item as above.

I find this information very interested and helpful for the elderly like myself who are strugging wth the creditors that do not appreciate our many attempts and efforts to pay off our accounts. I am currently struggling getting someone to can help me upgrade my credit score. Due to the creditors who agree and accept our small payments, they don't care and continuously increase their rates and late fees. I am a victim of their many false practices. Thank you for your services.

If you're having trouble with debt collectors, you can contact a legal aid lawyer or your State Attorney General's Office.

Reply me now... Please..u r not clearly giving my answer... Let me send $100 today to get my ATM DONATION / ATM CARD... which they offering me... Because I am in too much economically in hurdles.. Badly feel to attempt to suicide.so I need relief from it.. I like to take credit $100 to pay from somewhere to get ATM DONATION card.. If it is a true... But you not cleared me... Its true or fraud... Clear me . reply now please. .

If someone wants you to pay before they send you an ATM card, it could be a scam. They could take your money and not send you what they promised. Use the internet to check on the company. Type the company name into your search, and see what other people say about the company.

There's a solution to everything except death please don't be selfish and think about your loved ones And have and believe in God he is right next to you and he'll never give us more than we can handle he is testing your faith I will send you a $ I don't have a lot but I'll gladly help you

There are other lawyers that scam elderlys in auto accident cases and disability insurance that goes unnoticed. My lawyer won a $1million dollar suite for me and all I ended up with was $50,000. He forced me to sign a document after the case and said that insurance does not pay more that $50,000 for accident cases and he would help me to get disability insurance if I sign. He also promised to send me a copy of the letter he forced me to sign and never did. I am still in severe pain to this day.

If you have a complaint about a lawyer, contact the state Bar Association in the state where the lawyer practices. You can find contact information for a state Bar Association online.

Thank You all for the hard work that you do catching these scumbags.

I appreciate what you do and want you to know it. I am just a regular person that these scumbags would probably love to get a hold of. Because of the work that you do I have been lucy to learn from you what to look for so that I might protect myself but in case I should end up getting hurt from these scumbags I know where to go for help. Again Thank You!!!

Good morning, I've read the I'd Like to Thank... by, Jessica Rich: Yes I too find ways to participate with our legal community. Whether in Utah, Texas, or Pennsylvania State recently. All in a days work keep it up!

I had 4 banks trying to collect on one mortgage. To this day not one of them have produced the original promissory note as required by law. This company also got a final judgement and I was never served. The attys also "swear" that I signed the note. I did not sign because of my student loans. So they have produced an electronic version and it's very clear it is not my husband's handwriting. It's close but not the same. What can I do?

If you want to talk to a lawyer, use this state-by-state list from the American Bar Association or this site from the State Bar Associations to find someone in your area.

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