With a recession still gripping the economy, millions of Americans are still struggling to pay their bills. Making matters worse are scammers who target those who have fallen on hard times.
At 6 p.m. on Tuesday Oct. 4, will host a screening of the documentary, Stealing Trust: Marylanders Speak Out Against Fraud, Scams and Financial Abuse.
The film features 10 stories of Marylanders who have been victims of financial scams in recent years.
The Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition (MCRC), a consumer rights advocacy group, produced the film. MCRC spokesman Franz Schneiderman said the documentary focuses on three areas of concern for consumers: debt settlement companies, mortgage lenders and home improvement contractors.
The MCRC advocates in Annapolis for better protection of Maryland consumers.
Schneiderman said he hopes this film sends a message to lawmakers.
“Legislators are always asking, ‘can you show us actual constituents who were harmed by this?’” he said.
The MCRC looked through complaints filed with the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General’s office, to find participants for the film, said Schneiderman.
He said there are a variety of people featured in the movie from different economic and social backgrounds. “It doesn’t just affect a certain kind of person,” he said. “Even those who have done their homework and researched the contractors or companies they’ve hired are still scammed.”
Schneiderman said he also hopes the film will help educate the public about the risks scammers pose.
“In part it’s a consumer-education tool,” he said. “It’s a way to get people together and talking about these issues.”
The film will be shown in the Kittleman Room as part of the college’s regular “Triple D” series, (Documentaries, Discussions and Desserts). A discussion on the issues raised in the film will begin following the screening and representatives from MCRC will be on hand to answer questions.