Crooks using the good name of a local business to trick victims -

Crooks using the good name of a local business to trick victims

CLAYTON, Mo. (KMOV) -- Unknown scammers are using a local company's good name in an attempt to steal from people who are trying to sell a timeshare.

The scammers spoofed the name of a Clayton-based financial services firm. Universal Financial Group has been in business for 27 years and has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. The company does not buy or sell timeshares, yet an unknown person used the company's name to steal from people across the country.

The crooks contacted people who were trying to sell a timeshare, claiming their company is called Universal Financial Group and that it has an excellent BBB rating.

The crooks were inviting victims to check out the company through the Better Business Bureau. The problem is the real Universal Financial Group had nothing to do with timeshare sales. At least five victims took the criminal's invitation at face value.

The real Universal Financial Group says it started getting calls from people about three months ago, inquiring about the sales. Universal Financial Group's President Larry Lock says one of the first calls came from a woman on the east coast, who realized that the scammer gave her a contact number that did not match the phone number given on Universal Financial Group's website.

"She was astute enough to check out the information and realize that the phone number they were giving her to contact them back... was not our phone number," said Lock.

The St. Louis Better Business Bureau says none of the victims were local. A man in Texas reported losing $5,000 and a woman in Florida told the BBB that she lost $2,800.



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