First Capital Consumers Group Credit Card Offer Scam
Lulled Into Losing
I came across your website while trying to locate a credit card company by the name of 1st Capital Consumers Group. I have been waiting 5 1/2 weeks for credit cards which were promised to be received within 2 weeks of my authorizing withdrawal of $189 from my checking account.
They gave me a phone number of 416-488-4664 to call in case of questions or concerns, but I have never been able to get through. I either receive a message that "their customer service representatives are busy" but there is no option to leave a message only to keep calling back or the other message of "the mail box is full".
I have even tried every 30 minutes in case they were just busy, to no avail. I was wondering if you have ever heard of this group or has anyone ever had the same problem and is this fraudulent. I have contacted my bank for information in connection with who may have pulled the funds or possible fraud, but I am still awaiting information.
Do you have any information on this company? I reviewed your site, but could not find an identical situation. If you have any information, please email back.
Rachel Padilla of AZ 01/02
Another reader writes "I also recently applied for two credit cards with this company for which they were going to subtract $199 from my account. I found out that they had subtracted twice and caused my account to be overdrawn."
"Like Rachael said, they are impossible to get a hold of. They say they are busy, leave your name and number and they will try to return your call in 24 hours. I called them last week, and left my number, but they have never returned the call."
Yet another laments:
I think that my family has been the victim of a phone scam by a company called First Capital Consumers Group. We allowed them to take $199 out of our checking account on 2/5/02 and were told we would receive credit cards in 10-14 days but we still have no cards after 6 1/2 weeks.
We have been making calls daily to this company however each person we speak with tells us a different story.
We will now lose our car because we took it to the shop after we had been told that the cards would be here in time to pay the bill. Now the mechanic is going to auction the vehicle because we cannot pay for the repairs.
Karl & Melissa Wooden 03/23/02
The Calls Keep Coming
I am also a victim of First Capital credit company. I got a call from them on 3/14/02. They offered me two credit cards with no fee and a very low APR. As a result of accepting they took $199 from my bank account as a processing fee.
I've got two numbers 1-416-488-4664 pin 2828 and 1-416-363-5296. I've called the last number a few times to cancel but was told it is impossible until I receive my cards, which of course have yet to come.
Once when I called they did not answer as a business but just said "Hi, who is it?" and only acknowledged it when I asked. I also asked them about their location and they said that they are situated in New York state close to the Canadian border which was a lie, because I tracked their numbers to Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
I told them that, but they denied it. When I reverse traced the number 1-416-363-5296 this is what I came up with, though it may not be accurate as numbers change often and directories are rarely current.
The Printing House
Contact: Janice O'Born, Chairperson, Charitable Office
15 Stanley Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M6J 1A4
Tel: (416) 363-5296 Fax: (416) 363-0300
The number is also linked to:
RAHMAN Azizur R. (Prince) & Nazneen (416) 363-5296 in Bangladesh Directory Canada.
Sent in by Vasyl Sendeha 04/08/02
I ran across your website in hopes of NOT finding 1st Capital Consumers Group mentioned but I see they managed to tap me for $198.00 as well.
I sort of put myself out on a limb as well. I also found the phone number (416-488-4664) is listed out of Toronto, Canada. Who do I contact about this?Brian Williams 04/08/02
I also think I was scammed. The caller from 1st Capital Consumers Group said I had been pre-approved for a MasterCard with a $2500 limit and 14% interest rate, plus a Visa card with $1000 dollar limit and 0% interest. All that was required was a one time fee of $199 with no annual fees.
When I questioned him about which bank sponsored the card he inferred that they were a subsidiary of Capital One & GE Capital.
"Matt" gave me their customer care # and a PIN # which I would need to activate these cards when they arrived in 10-14 days then indicated security for the company would call in the next 15 minutes.
A woman called back and stated the call was being recorded for security purposes, verified my personal information and made sure I had both the PIN and phone numbers.
The $199 was taken from my account immediately on 3/26/02. I cannot reach this company and when I looked on-line I found your site.
I am concluding that they are preying on people who have had recent credit problems, which I have had, since September 11th. I was waiting for the cards so that I could visit my son overseas.
I really thought I would be the last one to fall for a scam. I hope these people can be brought to justice as this is a despicable crime.
A girl named Faye from First Capital Consumers Group called me and told me I had been approved for both a Visa and MasterCard. She said it would only cost me $199 and I would have a credit limit of $2500 on both cards.
I thought this was a little odd because I have horrible credit and the only card I can get is a secured card so I told her I wanted her customer service number so I could look further into the offer and call back.
Surprise! She didn't even know the number. She said she had to check with someone else for it then gave me the number to her desk which was 416-921-0871.
About an hour later I called back and she just says "Hello." Now, to me, if you work for a bank you answer the phone with the name of the bank but it sounded like she was at home. I heard the T.V. going and kids playing in the back round.
DO NOT TAKE THIS CREDIT CARD IT IS A SCAM!!!
Kristi Page 04/24/02
Your site is great... I only wish I had seen it earlier, as I was also ripped off by First Capital Consumer. They wanted $199.00 processing fee for a $2500 Master Card ... and like an idiot! I went for it.
I got an information package in the mail, with no credit card. There was an application for a stored value Master card, but certainly not a credit card as promised. I cannot get through to them at all, I have contacted my bank to see if they can get the money I lost back ... but I doubt it will happen.
Mary Carpenter 06/12/02
I too had the same problem with First Capital Consumers Group. The only difference being that after my husband took the offer he called to cancel it but 2 months later they went into our bank and took the $199 anyway..
It is now a month later and we have not received anything and though we have called the the number it is always a recording. Has anyone found a way to get their money back cause I am now at my wits end?
Sandra Mayotte 06/20/02
Me too! I was scammed by 1st Capital Consumers Group last Wednesday the 12th, and told I would receive my credit card via Federal Express on Friday the 14th!
The "follow-up" call denied this stating the cards would not be sent until they received my $199! This made me suspicious, and though sorry I waited a week to search the web, thank goodness I found your site!
I'm off to the bank with a printout of the complaints against them from your website to put a stop payment on the transaction.
Heather Rendon 06/19/02
I too am experiencing the identical circumstances though I was given a direct number and address of the solicitor who called me:
FIRST CAPITAL CONSUMERS GROUP
30 or 36 EGLINTON WEST
TORONTO, ON M4R 1A1
(416) 488-4664 (800) 310-6616 (416) 488-8103
|SOLICITOR - FIRST CAPITAL
593 YONGE ST
TORONTO, ON M4Y124
I was told they were an agency that matches people up with credit providers and they specifically named Capital One and Bank of America as two of the companies they deal with.
I requested further information and was referred to Capital One's website but found it didn't reflect what 1ST CAPITAL CONSUMERS GROUP was offering.
I contacted my bank to stop payment but it was too late. My account had been debited under the name 1st CAPITAL CONSTELLEPHONE 020315.
I am almost sick, reading your article, praying I would not see this company listed, but there it was. Along with identical stories of mine. I have had $199.00 deducted from my checking account and I too am waiting for my credit card. Please tell me what can be done?
Thank you so, so much for your website! If it had not been for you, we would have lost $200.
This First Capital Consumers Group called me, telling me that I had recently been approved for a MasterCard, with a $2000 limit. Since I had recently sent away for a MasterCard, I instantly thought that it had something to do with that but the $2000 astounded me, as my credit is not that great to deserve such a high limit. However, I stupidly gave "Laurie" my bank account number and other personal information and as soon as we hung up the phone, I had reservations.
That evening, when I got home, I had received the credit card in the mail that I did apply for, but it only had a $300 limit. Then I really knew something was fishy.
I called the next morning and asked this "Laurie" some more questions about the company, and she told me that we would be receiving a Visa Card as well as a cell phone with 3000 local minutes, all FREE!
I am a firm believer in If it is too good to be true, then it is probably false so I did an internet search on "First Capital consumers group" and was horrified!
I immediately called my bank and they immediately froze my account and then gave me a new account to prevent this company from taking our money. Then I called this "Laurie" at 416-485-8203, and told her the joke was now on her, and that they would get no money from this sucker.
Four days later I receive ANOTHER phone call from the same number! This time, she identified herself as "Faye" with "American Capital" offering me a Visa card with a $2500 limit. When I told her that their company is a scam, she proceeded to argue with me and told me she did not appreciate my comments. Needless to say, she was hung up on.
I cannot believe the nerve of these people!
Have you heard of any scams related to the First National Bank of Marin, in Nevada? They offer a Visa for an partial and initial fee of $49. For that you get your card, but then they bill you the balance of the fee, which is $50 (for a total of $99), and the security deposit, which is $200. Depending on income, you can get up to an $800 credit line, so the deposit and the fees would decrease any available credit.
Tracy E. Fontecchio, FL 05/13/02
I received a phone call from a person by the name of Jacinta at First Capital Consumer Group who also convinced me to take a card.
After giving me a pin # and her "direct line" of 416-488-4820, she said I was to receive a call back in a few minutes to verify everything.
I gave the verifier my bank information and even asked a number of questions which he answered to my satisfaction but still the small voice within me kept telling me something was wrong so I decided to check them out on the internet which was the best thing I did since your site came up.
I immediately called my bank and put a "Stop Payment" on the electronic transfer. It cost me $15.00 however, I feel this is a small price to pay for my ignorance. You try to have confidence in people and think they will have a conscience and not do this type of work but were it not for your website I would have lost my $199.00. Thanks, and keep up the good work!
Cynthia Lazaro 05/15/02
I too feel as if I have been scammed by First Capitol Consumers after my account was debited 4/1/02 for $199.
I actually managed to speak with a live person on 4/20/02 who said they were integrating their system and the packets were late. I informed them that I suspected fraud but he assured me otherwise.
A week later I received a packet - not the credit card as promised - but an application labeled Stored Value MasterCard Activation Kit to be mailed to CCPC Activation Center, P.O. Box 935, Bel Air, MD 21014.
To date I still have not received any cards so I am trying to get my bank to reverse the charges because of suspected fraud.
Pamela Reynolds, Florida 05/22/02
On May 25,2002 I was interrupted by a phone call from First Capital Consumer Group stating they had reviewed my credit from a previous credit application and that I was approved for two credit cards with a limit of $2,500 apiece..
I suppose the offer was too good to be true even with the processing fee of only $199 which was to be debited from my account on June 3,2002.
The man who called and approved me, Rocky Davis, gave me his personal line to contact him if I wanted to cancel but when the verifier finished his spiel he asked me what number I had for customer service then stated that Rocky Davis had given me the wrong number and to write down 1-416-488-4664 which is the voice mail that never calls back within the promised 24 hours.
I checked them out and would have lost my money if I hadn't closed out my account before they could access it.Serina Mims
Oh well, call me gullible number whatever. I too am a victim of 1st Capital Consumers Group. Get this, they even promised me a new computer. I fell hard. They got me for $219.00.
Phoenix, Az 06/24/02
I too have been a victim of these phoney DONKEYS!
Since they came into my life I have also had $14.95 taken out of my account once a month from, based on my statement, a company called VVX.
I have had my account closed, but these people managed to take out 14.95 per month seven times and are still trying to take out $200-249 every two weeks or so.
N Rivera 06/26/02
I am horrified by what I have been reading about this company.
I am glad I found your site so I won't be running to the mailbox each day looking for the promised card but would like to help stop this scam and possibly get my money back.
I do know from experience that they listen to the messages left at 416-488-4664 because I was supposed to be debited on June 21 but left a message with my pin #1515 requesting they hold off on the processing fee until the 28th due to a shortfall.
Lo and behold my account was debited on June 26th and my bank thought they would do me a favor and cover the overdraft until my paycheck came the next day.
My electricity has been cancelled due to this until my next pay in two weeks. There has to be a way to sue or stop them.
Jenny Brewer 6/29/02
I found your website concerning this company. I too was scammed by them and my story is very similar to those I read on your site. A week after they debited my account for the $199 I called back and they told me they had no record of the transaction. I was told it would take a week for them to get confirmation from my bank that the money had been pulled.
I found out that this company banks with Pacific Mercantile Bank (714-438-2500) so I contacted them and asked the girl who answered if she had ever heard of First Capital Consumers Group.
She immediately asked if they had debited my account; I told her yes and that I thought it was a scam. She told me that they bank there and gave me a recording about going to my bank and signing an affidavit for a refund if the transaction has been in the past 60 days.
I went to my bank and, without charge, signed an affidavit for a improper/unauthorized ACH transaction. The lady at the bank says that since I gave them my checking account number with the promise of a card that I never received, I was entitled to a refund.
She told me that the funds would be back in my account within 24 hours and despite the credit card company already having the money, my bank can deny the transaction. So hopefully this will help some of your other readers in getting their money back.
I have also started steps to file a complaint against First Capital Consumers Group with the Illinois Attorney General. I advise others to do so with their state's Attorney General.
Monique in Illinois 07/11/02
For info on Reversal of an ACH Transaction.
I too have been a victim of of this so-called company which phoned to say I had been approved for a $2000 MasterCard with access to $500 in monthly cash advances up to a total limit of $25,000...all for the one time activation fee of $219 to be taken from my bank account.
"Sam" even gave me a pin # and a toll free # that I could call to ask for an extension on the debit date so that I would actually receive the card before money was taken from my account. I was very skeptical and asked many questions before finally being lulled into a false sense of security and saying okay to the application.
I was then passed on to his "Supervisor" who confirmed the information I gave and was told that my account would be debited $219 on June 27th (which it was) and that I would receive my MasterCard in the mail 7-10 days later.
On July 19th I got a package in the mail with an activation for a Stored Value MasterCard and a variety of other things as well but no card..
I tried to call the Customer service number on the welcome sheet to ask a few questions but got a recording saying this was NOT a valid number.
It has been an expensive lesson for me but one I will always remember. I just wish I had found your site before this happened.
Jenni Vahle 07/19/02
As a follow up, I never did get hold of the company. Every time I got the same tired message of "We are experiencing a high call volume... blah blah blah... call back later".
Thanks to your site I immediately went to my back and explained the situation. They had me file a fraud complaint and within 10 days the money was back in my account. I'll bet you have helped more people then you know!
Now anytime I get a call about applying for a credit card over the phone I give them the click treatment!
Laura Gorden Tucson, Az 07/18/02
I was contacted June 13 by 1st Capitol Consumers Group under the guise of Capitol 1, the credit card company and received their "welcoming package" 5 1/2 weeks after they took my $200.
They have stolen my money and have also changed their name to U.S. Guardian.
It makes me sick that a company that outright lied to me is still in business and there is nothing I can do to stop them.
Glen Ferguson II 07/20/02
I have a feeling I have been scammed. It all started out when someone from Toronto called about a credit card offer.
At first I was a bit skeptical because I wasn't interested in any special deals but after about 45 minutes the guy on the phone convinced me that it was the credit card for me. He threw in so many perks that I went for it, hook-line-and sinker!
The verification guy Jason was very business-like and indicated that the call was being recorded. I was told that I would receive my card within 3 weeks and my starter package in a couple of weeks and that I needed to sign the card so that they would have me signature on file.
I didn't have to give my social security number, he just verified my billing address and told me that the one time processing fee of $249 could be debited from my checking account in two weeks. I didn't think anything about it again until I started reading about credit card scams which sounded similar to my situation.
I decided to call the numbers I was given and found that the number that the guy called from : 416-847-0014 was a home number and had just got them out of bed. The customer service number that I was given: 1-866-646-2246 says it is only available from the hours to 10-5 Eastern , but leave a message and someone would get back to me within 24 hours.
I tried this number several times today and was unable to get through. Richard, the telemarketer, told me that if I ever needed to get in touch with anyone regarding the account that I should call and leave his representative number which was 9921 and he would get back to me.
Richard provided me with an address that didn't seem to coincide with Toronto:
1 Hanford Plaza
263 Tressor Blvd, 9th Floor
Sanford or Hanford with a zip code of 06901
After reading the horror stories I am at a loss. This has
never happened to me before and the only reason I consented was
because I had obtained a legitimate credit card that way once before.
I'm not a rich person so having someone take my money on a fraudulent basis is disturbing. Please help!!!!
Cynthia Papin 08/06/02
Thanks to your site I now know that 1st Capital Consumers Group is a fraud.
I was ripped off on Oct 26 , 2001 when $189 was taken out of my savings account in return for nothing. I finally got through to someone and they told me due to 9/11 mail had been slow. Stupid me believed it.
I called back a month later and kept getting a machine that said the voice mailbox was full. I ran up my phone bill to an unbelievable amount and one day finally got through to them and told them off, but it did no good.
Finally the Hammer Drops
Washington/Ottawa 10/22/02 - The FTC filed charges in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago accusing a Toronto company of using a bogus credit card scheme to take from $6-$20 million from tens of thousands of people in the United States ( close to 100,000 by some estimates ). The court issued a temporary restraining order to prevent false claims and freeze the company's assets.
The numbered company, in addition to operating as First Capital Consumers Group, also used the titles U.S. Guardian United Consumers, Trans America United Benefits Group, Transglobal National Consumers Group and First Guardian National Benefits at 1992 Yonge St., Suite 201, Toronto, Ontario.
Four principals, David Dalglish, Leslie Anderson, Mark Lennox and Lloyd Prudenza also face Canadian charges that include making false or misleading representations in a material respect; conspiracy to commit an indictable offence; fraud; and possession of property obtained by crime. Additional charges are expected as the investigation continues. They are all out on bail.
The charges which have been laid under the Competition Act and the Criminal Code, stem from a bureau investigation, aided by a joint police-government unit called the Toronto Strategic Partnership, into cross-border deceptive telemarketing practices carried out by 1492828 Ontario Inc.
Telemarketers with First Capital Consumers Group targeted people with poor credit histories, offering a major credit card in exchange for an advance payment of between $189 and $219. No consumers received the promised cards nor were the companies authorized to market or issue such cards.
The FTC said that while many people received nothing from the company, some got promotions for other products or services such as cell phones, magazines, legal services, discount prescription programs, car loans, free vacations and occasionally coupons related to travel, entertainment and miscellaneous products or services. Other consumers received "stored value" cards, which they could only use by depositing money into an account to pay for purchases.
Between October 2001 and July 2002, the Competition Bureau received about 1,200 complaints from various sources, including the Phonebusters National Call Centre and Consumer Sentinel, a call centre maintained by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.
Three of North America's five "hot spots" for telemarketing fraud are in Canada, operating out of Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, said police who estimate there are currently 300 to 500 telemarketing "boiler rooms" operating in the Toronto area alone.This firm alone was said to have employed up to 400 people in eight different locations.
The police operation was billed as the "largest criminal takedown" ever for the Toronto Strategic Partnership, a coalition of law-enforcement agencies from both sides of the border dedicated to wiping out consumer fraud which includes Ontario's Ministry of Consumer and Business Services, the Ontario Provincial Police, Phonebusters, Toronto and York Region police, the Competition Bureau, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
Steve Baker of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission described such boiler-room telemarketing firms as sophisticated, organized con groups that prey on the disadvantaged. "It is big, it is organized, it is not just some guys in a motel room."
Note: Victims of this operation seeking restitution are asked to file a complaint with PhoneBusters at 1-888-495-8501.
C M S CONSUMER SERVICE ( Credit Card-Protection Service
FIRST CAPITAL CONSUMER MEMBERSHIP SERVICES(Credit Card-Offers & Plans)
1685 Elmwood Ave. Suite 214
Buffalo, NY 14207
Soliciting for credit cards for an advance fee. BBB file opened 1998. 370 complaints in 36 months. See FTC and Attorney General of Minnesota complaints below.
FIRST CAPITAL CONSUMERS GROUP ( Credit Card-Offers & Plans
229 Genesee Street Niagara Square Station
Buffalo, NY 14201
Imply consumers were approved for a credit card for an advance fee of $219 but do not send cards or refunds.
FTC v. FIRST CAPITAL CONSUMER MEMBERSHIP SERVICES, INC., No. 1:00cv00905 (W.D.N.Y)
|First Capital Consumer Membership Services, Inc.,|
|Louis Giambrone, Charles A. Barone|
|Deceptive practices in violation of Section 5 and the Telemarketing Sales Rule in connection with the sale of credit card loss protection services.|
|Complaint 10/23/00, TRO with asset freeze 10/25/00, injunction 11/8/00.|
|Motion to intervene by EPX filed 6/7/01.|
First Capital Consumer Membership Services
The State of Minnesota, by its Attorney General, Mike Hatch, alleged as follows re 1999:
1. First Capital Consumer Membership Services uses high-pressured fraudulent, misleading and deceptive telemarketing pitches, followed by packets of deceptive written materials, to offer and sell credit card protection and credit information to cardholders for $259 or more each for its credit card protection and low-interest debt consolidation programs.
2. With respect to its credit card protection program, First Capital "guarantees" that cardholders will not be responsible for charges made on lost or stolen cards that are registered with them... misrepresents that cardholders will be liable for all unauthorized charges up to their credit limit, and omits the material fact that cardholders’ liability is statutorily capped at $50. Defendant further misrepresents that it is associated with Visa and/or MasterCard, and that cardholders are required to purchase their programs. Finally, Defendant induces sales of its program with a deceptive "30-day trial period," and then fails to describe or honor the 30-day trial, cancellation and refund procedures in its written materials.
3. With respect to its low-interest debt consolidation program, First Capital claims that it will help Minnesota cardholders consolidate their credit card debt into one low-interest credit card, yet fails to provide such a low-interest credit card. Instead, First Capital provides Minnesota cardholders with merely a list of banks offering low-interest credit cards which are available to the general public, with no "guarantee" that any such card will even be issued to the particular consumer or their debt consolidated.
Moreover, First Capital is a "credit services organization" under Minnesota law because it purports to provide advice and assistance in obtaining credit. As such, First Capital has unlawfully debited the accounts of Minnesota cardholders before providing any program or service, referred Minnesota cardholders to banks offering credit on terms available to the general public, and failed to make and honor written contracts for services with rights to cancel within five days and to a refund within 10 days thereafter.