Fraud - Are You a Victim?
Like most states, Ohio has a long and technical definition for "fraud" but, really, fraud is just a lie that costs you money.
Generally, there are three kinds of fraud.
- Outright Fraud - This is where you ask a question and they give you an answer and, when they do, they know they are lying to you. This is generally known as a "bold faced lie."
- The half-truth fraud - This is where you ask a question and they give you an answer and, when they do, they really do not know if their answer is true or not—they just don't care. In other words, a "sin of omission."
- Fraud by concealment - This is where you may not ask the right question and they certainly don't give you the answer because they know that if they did then you wouldn't buy what they are selling. This is another way of hiding the truth.
Any one of these can be an act of fraud and fraud can cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars.
When the fraud involves a car dealer, we usually call it "car sales fraud or auto fraud" and car dealers have a hundred ways to do it! Browse through our car dealer dictionary for a real eye opener on what car dealers call their customers and the slang terms they use every day when they rip off a consumer.
The 5 Finger Close—A Car Dealer Clever Ripoff Scheme!
Other businesses commit fraud on consumers, too but car dealers take the cake. And one of their most clever schemes is the 5 Finger Close.
This is really sneaky, folks. When it comes to signing the paperwork, the sales person usually turns you over to the so-called Finance Manager. But do not be fooled. This is just another sales person whose job it is to now sell even more stuff to you - one way or the other.
Then they get out the sales paperwork and point to where they want you to sign, often saying something like this is your sales contract, just sign right here and I'll give you a copy in a minute. Then they do the same thing with one document after another. At the end, they tear out your copies and fold them up and put them in an envelope and tell you something like "these are important papers on your car so take them home and keep them someplace safe."
You just got ripped off and did not even realize it, folks.
When that helpful Finance Manager put their hand on the contract form to hold it still for you to sign, and said to just sign here, pointing to the line with their other hand? They gottcha. One hand was hiding the numbers they added to your contract while the other distracted you by pointing to where to sign. Talking with you at the same time? That is a technique they use to further distract you from what they are doing. Then when you get home, if you are lucky, you sooner or later look at the sale papers and find out what the dealer really did to you. Personal Assistant charged on your deal for an extra $100? See that ProPack charge of $1,299? You did not notice that Easycare Gap charge of $900 did you? And the Etch Theft Guard, what was that $299 charge for? Did you know they stuck an extended warranty in your contract and added an extra $2,000 for it?
You think it won't happen to you? Well it can. Our law office has represented people from all walks of life who were treated unfairly or lied to by car dealers, sometimes with the five finger close scheme and sometimes in other ways. Factory workers, store clerks, even doctors and lawyers and judges. It can happen to you too.
You have to be extra careful when you walk onto any car dealer lot, but some even more than others. No matter how shiny the sign is, no matter how many new cars they have on the lot, no matter if they have a sign that says they sell new cars, you just have to watch out so you do not get ripped off. Be extra careful - or expect to pay extra money for not watching out.
Focus on Fraud—Protecting Yourself from Fraud!
Other businesses commit fraud on consumers, too. Internet scams, repair shops, time share rip-offs, telephone solicitors, door-to-door salespeople—just about anybody can rip you off if you're not careful. And rip off artists count on you not being careful.
To learn more about these types of frauds select an area:
- Identity Theft
- Mortgage Fraud and Mortgage Scams
- Telemarketing Fraud
- Corporate Fraud
- Health Care Fraud
If you've been the victim of fraud, and complaining on your own doesn't work, then contact us for help. We know how to deal with ripoff artists who are out to steal your money.
For more information, call 1-888-331-6422, or email us for a free Fraud Case Review.
For more information about Ohio Consumer Law and consumer fraud visit our Ohio Consumer Law site.