, Newburyport, MA

May 13, 2014

Police urge caution over 'vault bag' ads

By Paul Leighton

---- — Police are cautioning people to be wary of a newspaper advertisement promising “vault bags” of money in exchange for a $99 fee.

The full-age ad, from a company called World Reserve Monetary Exchange, urges people to claim the money within three days by calling a hotline telephone number. It appeared in several newspapers yesterday, including The Daily News of Newburyport.

Beverly Police Chief John LeLacheur said the company has been investigated by some states and has been the subject of warnings by the Better Business Bureau.

“Look into the company’s practices before making any type of purchase,” LeLacheur said. “Like the saying goes, ‘If it’s too good to be true, it may be.’”

A person who answered the phone number listed in the advertisement referred questions to the company’s customer service line.

That line was not in service.

The company has advertised the offers in local newspapers.

The ad says the “vault bags” are “loaded with real U.S. Gov’t issued money” and can be claimed by residents of 12 Massachusetts counties.

The ad guarantees that each bag contains 11 U.S. government-issued notes, but those notes only add up to $19, while the fee to buy it is $99. Customers who want a refund have to pay shipping, return postage, and a 15 percent “restocking fee.”

The attorney general of Nevada warned residents of that state about the advertisements in 2012, calling them “misleading” and “confusing.”

Also in 2012, the Santa Cruz County District Attorney’s Office in California announced a $223,000 settlement with World Reserve Monetary Exchange over deceptive ads that offered consumers free gold coins.