Consumer News Release
For immediate release -- February 2, 2001.
Beware of SchemeTargeting African Americans by U.S. Attorney Don Nickerson and Attorney General Tom Miller
We urge people to be extremely cautious about providing their most important personal information -- such as Social Security number, date of birth, name and address -- to persons who claim they can assist in obtaining "government program" benefits. The latest version in Iowa claims to help people apply for a so-called "slave reparations" fund.
Our offices just learned of a program promoted in Iowa by a Las Vegas, Nevada, company called Capital Connections Inc., or CCI (not to be confused with Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, also known as CCI). Capital Connections CCI claims to help people apply for a federal program that has "billions of dollars set aside" and is "aimed specifically at people of African-American descent." The talk is that it is a kind of "slave-reparations" program. The paperwork asks for people's key personal information - and also asks people to sign "power of attorney" forms.
We believe this a hoax. There is no IRS tax credit or refund program related to slave reparations, and we know of no other U.S. slave reparation program. This may well be a consumer fraud scheme designed for "identity theft" -- using people's personal information to open credit card accounts, get into tax records, or even obtain people's tax refunds. We are working with IRS and other authorities to look into this situation further.
We suggest people take these actions:
- Do not provide the requested personal information, if you have not done so already.
- If you have provided the papers to Capital Connections CCI: consider filing a form to specifically CANCEL the IRS power-of-attorney authorization. (Call the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division at 515-281-5926 for forms.)
- If you receive future solicitations from Capital Connections CCI or others asking you to PAY for program filings, be very skeptical and decline it. (The good news is that the promoters in Iowa so far have NOT asked for advance payments, as promoters have in other states where variations of this scheme surfaced.) Also: watch your future credit card and other bills to be sure no one is making unauthorized charges.
For more information, or to file a complaint, call the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division at 515-281-5926.