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The FTC’s has filed a complaint that accuses Sitesearch Corp., doing business as LeapLab, its founder, and affiliated companies of buying hundreds of thousands of payday loan applications that contained consumers’ account numbers, Social Security numbers, and other private information, the majority of which the company then sold to unaffiliated nonlenders for about 50 cents each. Those nonlenders, which the FTC said had no business seeing the private information, included fraudsters, spammers and telemarketers, some of which then made unsolicited sales offers to consumers via email, text message or telephone call. In other cases, the nonlenders used the information to swindle millions from consumers by falsely claiming that the consumers had signed up for financial products. One of those companies was Ideal Financial Solutions, which is named as a defendant in another FTC suit currently pending in Nevada federal court. According to the FTC’s Monday complaint, LeapLab provided Ideal with financial account information for at least 16 percent of Ideal’s victims. Ideal then allegedly debited at least $4.12 million from consumer bank accounts without authorization. This is alleged to have occurred between 2006 and 2013.

These debits and charges appeared on consumers’ bank and credit card statements with a telephone number and the name of one of more than 50 billing campaigns the defendants ran, each with multiple mail drops and addresses, including Debt2Wealth, Funding Assurance, and Avanix. Usually these charges appeared as a $30 fee. Many consumers did not notice the debits and charges, which often caused them to incur bank penalty fees or overdraft charges due to insufficient funds. Others complained to their banks and often had the charges reversed, which was reflected in very high return rates – the rate of transactions rejected and returned by consumers or their banks. If you have suffered this type of fraudulent charge please contact Jamie Sheller Esq at 1 800 883 2299.

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