PHOENIX -- For Debbie Oliver, the past few years have been a real financial struggle.
"I was one of those people that the economy hit and it hit hard so ultimately, I lost everything," said Oliver.
Oliver said she was wiped out and her credit was destroyed. Luckily, bad credit isn't the end of the world and Oliver knew there were ways to improve her credit history over time.
"One of those steps is getting a secured credit card," said Oliver.
When Oliver went to her mailbox recently she found a company called Freedom First National Bank offering her just that, a secured credit card. Oliver thought the offer was perfect.
"Well, I thought it was great because I wanted to get a secured credit card," says Oliver.
According to First First National, Oliver had to mail the bank $900 and in exchange, she would get a $4,500 credit limit. However, after mailing in all that money Oliver never did receive that card. When she calls Freedom First National's toll free number, the number no longer works. As for the company's website, it's been taken down. Oliver says she suspects she lost her $900 to a well-organized scam.
"It's like I've been struggling, struggling, struggling to put money together and it's gone," explained Oliver as she was choking back tears..
3 On Your Side got involved and the first thing that got our attention, misspellings on Freedom First National's application. For example, "Chose" instead of "choose" and "Than" instead of "Then."
And although the website is gone, a background check on who registered the site is deemed "private," something big financial companies usually don't do.
Oliver said what looked like a legitimate financial company has turned out to be nothing more than a scam and realizes she'll never see her $900 again.
"I want to make sure that this doesn't happen to someone else," said Oliver.
Again, secured credit cards are good idea if you're rebuilding your credit, but only if you're dealing with reputable financial institutions. With that in mind, always research a company before sending money.
For information on how to get a secured credit card, click here.