Revisiting Sungame And Credit Card Signup Farms; What Is Your Social Security Number Worth?

40

A few years ago I wrote about 2 “deals” that weren’t deals at all.

MosheP helped expose Sungame on DDF which led to the first half of that post.

After the post, a woman who invested in Sungame left a voicemail saying that it was a real deal and threatened that the article would “come back to haunt me” as there were “very very expensive and high class lawyers” who were going to “close down my whole page” as it was “costing them a lot of money.”

Well Neil Chandran, the CEO of that company, was indicted last week for fraud and bilking “investors” (suckers?) from hundreds of thousands of dollars.

And another get rich quick MLM bites the dust.


For the past several years since that post there have continued to be ads on various websites and Twitter accounts promising up to $10,000 for handing over your social security number and letting a faceless company have their way with your credit. On DDF we call them credit card signup farms.

Based on the number of ads they target it seems that they’re wildly successful in luring people in, but personally I’m flabbergasted that anyone would ever hand over their social security number to anyone other than their spouse or their financial institution. If anything goes wrong it’s you who will be on the hook and that can affect everything from future car and home purchases to even job applications. When I’m asked for a social security number at the doctor’s office, school, insurance agent, or anyone else, I just leave it blank. They don’t need that information and it can lead to endless months of torture if it falls into the wrong hands.

Not only that, but these farms also require your mother’s maiden name and literally everything else to take control of your life.

 

DDF member Mutty91 shares that he was promised $7,200 by a farm in exchange for handing over his and his wife’s social security numbers, mothers’ maiden names, and other personal information and letting them apply for cards.

Last year the farm then proceeded to apply for credit cards using the information. Afterward they told him that he didn’t qualify for the full payout as he was “only” approved for 5 cards, so they could only pay him $1,600.

The farm promised to use acceptable spending methods and that he would be able to open cards in the future, but they proceeded to spend money using very shady tactics that have been known to cause banks and airlines to shut down the accounts of violators. After the fake spending they proceeded to quickly close down all the cards opened in order to avoid the annual fees.

The farm promised to cut him a $1,600 check but never did. Eventually the farm just stopped answering his emails and calls, so he posted on DDF asking if he was scammed.

After I took a look at the emails and his statements, the farm clarified to him that a mileage broker bought the farm’s miles and didn’t pay up some $90,000 of bills, hence the non-payment of his funds. They said that they hope to have a check for him in 30 days.

He’s not holding his breath.

 

-It seems to be a common practice for some of the farms to promise to use only regular spending but then proceed to generate fake spending to earn signup bonuses. The farms are not accurately representing the potential risks and fraud involved that are being committed in the victim’s name. That is simply irresponsible and inexcusable.

One DDF member sent me information about farms using even more nefarious methods to multiply the points balances of their victims before cashing out and leaving victims with massive negative balances that can affect their ability to get credit cards in the future. One of the farmers even bragged to him about how much he abuses his victims accounts as if it’s all just one big game. If the account holder knew the level of fraud that was being committed in their name they would likely have never allowed it, but they’re simply not informed of what’s actually going on.

 

-DDF member Saulius writes that he knows a teacher in Lakewood, NJ who gave his social security number to a farm for a lump payment. He also knows the broker that bought $4,000 of miles from the farm that opened credit cards in the teacher’s name. The broker was told that no shady tactics were used to generate the miles. The broker booked award tickets and paid more than $1,000 in taxes from miles from the account but the tickets were voided and the mileage account was closed as it turned out the farm did use shady spending tactics to generate the miles. The farm has refused to reimburse the broker for his losses.

 

DDF member Aaaron shares that his friend gave his personal information to a farm that also promised to pay him some $7,000. The farm applied for 14 credit cards and managed to get him shut down by the bank. No surprise that they didn’t like seeing 14 applications come in like that. He didn’t get paid.

 

There are countless more stories like these in this 1,300+ post DDF thread. Even when people are approved for all the cards that a farm applied for they still report not getting paid what was advertised.

 

I’m sure some people will comment that they deserved what is coming to them for acting out of laziness to apply for their own cards and do things the legitimate way without handing over their personal information to a farm.

But I understand where the victims are coming from. I’m sure many see a promise of a $10,000 windfall as a lifeboat that can change their lives and they act out of desperation. Still, the naivete of handing over all of your personal information is a bit shocking.

Even if you do get paid something from one of these farms, it most likely won’t be what was advertised and promised. Plus you’ll have to live with the risks of whatever may happen to your credit history and your relationships with the banks and airlines. Even a rogue employee at a farm can do a world of harm with all of your personal information.

 

Are bad things guaranteed to happen to you if you sell your social security number for this? No. But I do think that people should be properly informed of the risks and potential fraud involved and hopefully this article helps with that.

 

Did you or someone you know give over the keys to their credit to a signup farm? Share your story in the comments.

Leave a Reply

40 Comments On "Revisiting Sungame And Credit Card Signup Farms; What Is Your Social Security Number Worth?"

All opinions expressed below are user generated and the opinions aren’t provided, reviewed or endorsed by any advertiser or DansDeals.

Sort by:   newest | oldest
David

“When I’m asked for a social security number at the Doctor’s office, school, insurance agent, or anyone else, I just leave it blank.”

Thanks for this info!

When then is it absolutely necessary?

Israel

Good Points, Just Dont love this being aired out in public. Granted, How else will you inform your readers but this has a major chance of going viral around the web. Plus this can endanger us innocents who play the game and help our siblings and close friends. Banks will likely see this and take steps to curb this practice which cant be good for us.

J

Many doctors office need your s.s. When they verify the insurance with insurance companies, most times they are asked for the s.s I do billing and I’m asked it all the time by the companies- but your right, never give your s.s out, unless its someone you really trust

rachel

i was under the impression that all these company’s have closed down.

John Doe

Thank you very much for this post. I would add the much advertised scams of making you rich through so-called “forex” and other “investments”.

moses

Rabbi dear!!
what took you so long to come out with this?
this is the basics in the CC world!!

yossi

There was a few years ago an honest and ggod company doing it that knew how to do it properly without getting shut down etc and also paid everyone however he stopped years ago and there is currently no place that should be trusted as it has become much more difficult and I have several friends that got messed up with these guys. STAY AWAY

hvaces42

In the old days a social was worth 25k and was used to take out a mortgage on flipped properties that sunsequently went into default after the mortgage was taken out. Those guys are now doing 4 years in federal prison.

SOS

Thanks Dan!!!!
@Israel It’s important we should know to watch when playing these games even with friends and siblings….

@dan

y the vagueness…
if the companies are doing such harm, u should publicize them specifically, by name and #, email addres, etc

Work-for-ur-muny

Great post, Dan!
Love the way you protected yourself in the last paragraph from all the potential snarky comments, like “…I did it and it worked. I even got paid in full.” etc.

Emjee

Mazel tov . The post is up and beautifully written

Medicare

@David:
Just an FYI, a persons Medicare # alot of the times their social plus a letter after it so when you hit that age there’s no really getting out of it at the Doctor’s office.

yelped

Thank you Dan. Great article! Leaps and bounds from the DDF preview article posted yesterday. May you save many more people from these scammers!

aygart

Great post. Keep up the good work!

@Work-for-ur-muny:

:pats self on the back: 🙂

Joe

Dan – I admire the high road you continue to take that allows you to condemn these scammers safely. Most of your readers probably don’t know how many advertisers you turn away or how many income opportunities you avoid because they are shady. Running a business that caters to people who are looking for deals and giveaways automatically puts you in close proximity to practices that cross lines, and I can imagine its not always easy to stay on the right side of it.

Keep up the good work and be proud of your ethics. You are a role model for kosher deal hunting.

Anonymous

Thanks, for the right up. I would love some of the people that actually got scammed to come up and post it here. I know it might be degrading, but it will help a lot of others not fall into the same trap.

🐞

Not כשר not ישר
חילול ה
Lakewood, get a parnassah yeshara

Elil

@J: I do billing for a medical office. Have never had to use a SSN for insurance but we collect them like everyone else. Only time it’s useful is to send the account to collections if you don’t pay.

Elil

@Medicare: Medicare is transitioning out of SSN to Id numbers in the next few years

Shimmy

Schools and colleges will require a social if you want to file a FAFSA or claim any financial aid.

Charles

Maybe I am older than most DansDeals readers!
I spent years trying to refuse to give my SS# to Empire Blue Cross. Every phone call turned into an allout argument. A decade later they are paying penalties for saving all those old SS numbers and getting them hacked A DECADE after the relationship stopped.

Thomas W

@dan, Let me start by saying that I am a big fan of both this site and the DDF. You do an amazing job enlightening people on how to save their hard earned dollars on a daily basis, and you should keep up the good work.

However, do you ever stop to wonder at what point business ethics should come into play? Your line is drawn higher than publications & blogs that advertise MLM & CC Farms, but do you think posting glitches that lose companies & their stakeholders millions of dollars is ethical? You have definitely gotten people at United (Denmark glitch) JetBlue (package glitch) & Delta (Hawaii glitch) demoted, severely reprimanded, or even fired. Do you not have an interest in promoting CC’s that offer you referrals – a form of MLM – knowing that not everyone will get away with the AF (also unethical) or maybe spend more than they can afford to? Your business is very shady indeed, and while you do have higher standards than others, you’re not clean yourself. For heavens sake you have an MBA – go become a Financial Adviser and give back to the community that so adores you. And if you’re after the big bucks then go to Wall Street and screw the population from behind a desk at Goldman instead of targeting our community online, and even be able to actually pay cash for all your travel!

Point is, all the churning, Bluebird, Mint Coins etc. while they were not illegal per se (as neither are MLM or CC Farms) screwed many a person and organization. So I don’t think it’s right for you to be waving the bat at others (competitors maybe?) in your industry, who have found a way to turn this into a revenue generating service – as unethical as they may be.

That said, continue posting deals and savings, but steer clear of price mistakes and glitches which when end up here explode exponentially and then no-one is left with anything. Although that begs the question, how many glitches does Dan keep to himself in order to actually have them honored, lol?

Everyone should get a real job real soon, and an education if necessary. CC points are a bonus – nothing more.

Sincerly,
A Fan

Eli

I have my opinions on ethics and yashrus and where to draw the line but why drag that in here; this is not the time and place to discuss. Cant you give credit where credit is due? Dan is addressing a real and significant problem that targets some of the most financially vulnerable people. People are being defrauded and suffering sometimes severe financial repercussions as a result. Kudos to Dan for a well written and much needed post.

Cast The First Stone

@Thomas W:
Thomas, I’ve been an avid Dan’s Deal reader for years, and I usually don’t post much, but I feel as though it’s time to stray from that habit in this instance.

You mentioned many things in your post, but let me conjure up a scenario that happened just today. I went to Walmart to get my oil changed. Upon checkout, they incorrectly charged me for the number of quarts of oil that were put in my engine. The assistant manager happened to be working the desk at the time, and he was checking me out when I mentioned my concern. I didn’t complain, I just said ‘what is written here is not possible.’ He checked his sources and we even went with a tech to go inspect the car. Then, as we were inspecting it, he showed me that in truth, I was incorrect and the paper was right. Immediately though, he said, ‘due to the mixup and the paper not being what you expected, I’m going to take care of the whole oil change today.’

In your comment you spoke about how Dan has had some CSR’s demoted or fired- but let me tell you this, if I went online to Walmart.com and explained my story about how utterly impressed and amazed I was with this specific employee because of his actions, what makes you think he would meet any different fate than those CSR’s you speak of?

Also, calling Credit Card referrals a form of MLM is interesting. You seem to think that the annual fee is a requirement, but it is a fee for a service. Like shining shoes, if they only shine 1 shoe, you shouldn’t fee rude when asking for a 50% discount. So when, for instance, Capital One charges me my annual fee on my Venture card, but they couldn’t expedite a replacement piece of plastic to me, and gave me the 7-10 business day lingo just like they do to the regular, non-fee accounts, you bet I asked for a discount on that annual fee. An annual fee is a fee for a bundle of services, not a fee for the account.

I have 3 degrees including an MBA, and guess what, I completely disagree with your recommendation to become a financial advisor. If Dan wanted to work for a flat fee in exchange for repeating consistent advice to multiple different well off clients, how would that not be simply him figuring out what worked once, and selling it to multiple people over and over? I’ve had a financial advisor. His advice was the same for my whole company! Yet, we all paid him individually. Where’s the honesty in that? Why do you revere a job like a financial advisor so highly? Maybe you don’t know what they really do.

Plus, Dan is a financial counselor to those that need it the most, those who can’t afford people in fancy suits. Those that are just starting off with no credit. Yes, some might overspend, but they will learn their lesson in time. For some people, some debt is a way of life. There’s no shame in that. Have you ever bought a car? A house? Had education expenses? Had kids? Medical bills? Also, Dan’s advice is dynamic. Changing literally daily to enable a best set of outcomes. Show me literally 1 professional financial advisor that pays such good attention to the banking industry.

If Dan wanted the big bucks, he could easily make them elsewhere, but there is something much more valuable that he earns here, a love for this community and a love of his job. It is amazingly rewarding to own a small business and there is great pride in helping others.

I get paid in karma, kindness, amazing interactions, and experiences at my small business plus I make a living from it.

Get a job you say-Why? So you can just make money? There are things much more valuable than money in this world.

-Cast The First Stone

A good yeshiva bachur

Thanx Dan!! as always, really appreciate the time and effort, (even thought you know that the “smartest” people on the planet are gonna comment!!!)
(Can’t believe people have such “smart” things to say and aren’t afraid of writing such “intelligent/intellectual comments)

Yair

@Thomas W let’s ask another question. If you go to a restaurant and the waiter spills soup on you, does your bizzare notion of business ethics require you not to say anything about it because if you complain about their “glitch” you might get them reprimanded or fired?

ss#

Dan, while I agree with the post, in the insurance world giving your ss# can mean getting a better insurance rate. Especially if you’re newly married with different last names. The ss# is input directly into the computer and not stored.

yankel

i called by mistake national grid upstate electric number and because they didn’t have my account number on file they ask for my ss# is that ok to gave them ?

fjdo

Thanks Dan! IMHO I would consider this to be 1 of the most imp posts. Perhaps stickied to the top in big bold letters for the rest of the year! I’ve heard of so many good people getting scammed and it takes a huge toll on their lives..for a very long time. (My grandparents got scammed decades ago and lost all their savings in a minute and never quite got over it 🙁 ) Kudos to Dan for saving even 1 individual from losing their hard earned money!

Judah

This post seems so compelling to weigh in with a comment. Alas, I am too lazy to put together a cogent thought to post… 🙁

Agreed

The Mishpacha magazine has started a monthly column dedicated to this topic: http://mishpacha.com/Browse/Article/7409/The-Money-Trap-Bitter-Brew

Medicare Reform

@Dan: The good news is that those Medicare numbers are being reformed so they stop using social security numbers in the very near future.

Moshe

Amazon business can be profitable. I made an initial investment on $7500 in inventory. Made over $450,000 over 2.5 years. I NEVER SPENT MORE CASH THAN I HAD IN MY ACCOUNT.
As the market tightened up I lost $25,000 over 6 months. I got out and never looked back. (Okay I looked back a few times…but never did anything)

The low margin, high volume, high priced items don’t justify the risk. (Especially on someone else’s card)

wpDiscuz