When financial plans go wrong, local I-teams and consumer reporters have an opportunity to shed light on issues affecting everyone’s wallets – and even lead to change. Take a look at three Murrow Award-winning examples of how digging deep into money issues helped news consumers better understand and protect their finances.
Credit Cards for Sale
Despite banks encouraging people to sign up for credit monitoring services, the banks do nothing to retrieve stolen credits card numbers when they are being sold openly on sites on the internet. We bought some credit card information on a Russian run credit card market place and found the people who’s credit cards we have bought – boy were they surprised.
I-Team Analyzes Baffling Bills, Gets Results
This year-long investigation is focused on Maine's largest utility company and a mysterious spike in usage. Thousands of customers said their bills doubled or tripled and they couldn't figure out why. We asked customers to send us copies of their bills so we could build a database and conduct our own analysis. Our reporting triggered internal company audits, state investigations, and a class action lawsuit. Legislators noticed and passed a law to help protect Maine consumers.
Hardwood Dreams Destroyed: Telfair Basketball Scam
Shunda Tucker-Johnson saw the dreams of her son, 18-year-old son, Demarkeus King coming true. A basketball recruiter contacted Demarkeus through his trusted high school coach and offered a him scholarship to play ball. Demarkeus was set to be the first in his family to attend college. All the family had to do was pay for housing and a meal plan. When move-in day arrived, their excitement was met with profound disappointment. The college, the campus, the scholarship; none of it exists.
In fact, the Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office believes as many as 20 families may have fallen for the same promising scam. Reporter Zach Merchant tracked down the man at the center of the scam: Keith Graves. Reaching him by phone, Graves denied everything. The sheriff’s office says Graves is under investigation for theft by deception.
Johnson says she asked for a refund, but she’s not counting on it.