An exposé about much more than just Suze Orman
From Fraudulent FICO Fables to Corporate Cons, How Suze Orman and Her Crooked Cabal Manipulated the Media, Plundered the Poor, Stole from the Middle Class, Damaged the United States Economy, and Hijacked a Political Party
A Citizen Journalism Public Service Offering
This online multimedia book is based on the documentary film:
How Suze Orman SCAMMED the World (2016)
A comedy, tragedy, and IQ test all in one
Click here to download the free ebook
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Suze Orman SCAMvenger Hunt
1: From Waitress to “Financial Expert”: Orman’s History of Shams and Shenanigans
2: Seducing Corporations, Banks and Billionaires
3: Trumping Up Her Bank Account with a Gold “Pump and Dump” Scheme
4: Distortions of the “Queen Of Crisis”: Damaging the Economy for Personal Gain
5: The “Approved” Card Scam and Media Wide Fraud
6: Capitalizing On The Financial Illiteracy of The Poor, Minorities, and the “Occupy” Movement
7: The Scam-Ridden Card’s Demise and Cover-Up
8: Sociopathology and a Twitter Meltdown
9: And The Scams Go On…
This is an online multimedia book -- throughout the text, you’ll find underlined links to videos, articles, and other supportive documentation.
The “Approved” Card Scam and Media Wide Fraud
If anybody cannot feel the negative energy coming from this photo, it may be time for an intuition tune-up.
Previous to 2012, I had created an online blog to warn people about Suze Orman’s scams, shams, and shenanigans, using whatever examples I’d notice from Orman’s ubiquitous and unavoidable media presence, which I would save into a computer folder named, “Lucy.”
I already knew Orman was a crook and a sham, but proving that to people who have been convinced to look up to her as an extremely knowledgeable expert with integrity was a different matter altogether. Then came Orman's “Approved” prepaid debit card scam fiasco, which gave a clear and extensively well-documented view into Orman's scamming ways.
Some shysters who successfully plunder the public time and time again simply can’t stop and enjoy the tens of millions they’ve already got. They feel the need to flaunt their liberties with more deceptions and keep pushing the envelope and pushing their scams too far to be ignored, as it seemed Orman did with her obviously fraudulent media appearances for the “Approved” card, beginning in January 2012.
With her prepaid debit card scam, Orman took advantage of the very same financially strapped people she was claiming to help. The card was laden with fees at every turn—including two dollars for each call to customer service, which card users had to do over and over when Orman’s incompetent employees (intentionally) charged inappropriate fees, locked people’s access to their own money, and completely lost many users’ accounts.
When’s the last time you had to pay two dollars to call a bank when they charged improper fees or lost your account? With Orman’s “Approved” card, it happened all the time.
The card came with Orman’s most audaciously deceptive misinformation campaign yet. The snake-oil pitches you will see her spew throughout the media landscape in our film included several completely false claims that she repeated endlessly, including the lie that using her fee-infested “Approved” prepaid debit card was likely to improve card users’ FICO scores, and her confident promise that the card would never cost them more than three dollars a month, notwithstanding the card’s twenty fees, from one dollar to thirty dollars a pop.
Even with such an obvious ploy that anyone educated in finance would know was illogical at best, Orman nearly shouted the same deceptive and blatantly false phrases throughout the media and political landscape. Her passionate, evangelical flavored lies were hosted by some of the top journalists of our time.
“This card will never cost you more than three dollars a month, if you use it like how I tell you to.” “This is the first prepaid card IN HISTORY that will be sharing information with one of the three credit bureaus, TransUnion.” “You can get a FICO score! You’ve got to join me on this people!”
Orman called her scam a “Financial Revolution,” and introduced it at the prestigious National Press Club, compliments of Hilary Rosen, the PR tycoon, political lobbyist, publicity strategist, CNN commentator, media broker, and corporate damage control expert who represented and used her abundant contacts to push Orman and her prepaid card scam.
Orman’s repeated media-fueled emotings about the card were clearly intended to fool and exploit especially middle class and low income people who weren’t financially savvy. She used a truly absurd latticework of obfuscations to fool her soon-to-be financial fraud victims into thinking that moving their money onto her prepaid debit card was going to improve their FICO scores.
Financially savvy folks would know that a debit card cannot and indeed should not be used to determine credit trustworthiness, since prepaid card use tells creditors nothing that would have any relevance for calculating someone’s credit risk for a mortgage or loan.
Actual experts in the industry have been looking for alternative credit risk data avenues for some time. What they’re leaning toward, and what makes much more sense, is to take into account how a person pays their utility, cable, phone, and other bills, which is closer to a credit lending situation than being foolish enough to move your money onto Suze Orman’s fee infested card.
In fact, using a prepaid card when there are so many far better, usually free alternatives, would more appropriately be a strike against someone’s credit score. It either shows how uneducated the person is about the financial services world, or that they’ve destroyed their credit so much, or have legal judgments against them that cause them to want to hide their money on a fee-laden, bottom of the barrel predatory financial product like Suze Orman’s prepaid card.
Repeating her well-rehearsed repertoire, Orman incessantly rattled off the list of things that having a bad FICO score would effect in one’s life, with the promise that her card was the answer to those problems. With her scare tactics drama turned all the way up, Orman rightly said that FICO scores may affect whether a landlord will rent to someone, or could determine car loan or mortgage rates. However, she often repeated that employers were using FICO scores to decide who to hire, in spite of journalists pointing out that her assertion was false.
From “Credit Scores and Employment Screening: Dispelling the Credit Myth of the Decade” on the CreditSesame blog:
In January 2012 Suze Orman introduced her prepaid debit card, The Approved Card, and went to the airways to sell the plastic. Unfortunately included in the marketing pitch was a ubiquitous suggestion that if you don’t have a FICO score it can cost you a job.
The three main credit bureaus gave their positions on Orman’s frequent scare tactic:
Equifax: “Credit scores are not sold for employment screening purposes.”
Experian: “Credit scores are never used for employment purposes.”
TransUnion: “TransUnion does not provide credit scores for employment purposes.”
With FICO selling the Suze Orman FICO kit, and her incessant pitching of the importance of FICO scores, at times with false, Orman had FICO by the same greed-based avocados that have kept many others, including the United States’ government, from protecting the public from her deceptive schemes.
Remember how in Chapter Two we saw that Orman actually helped to put Fair Isaac’s “experiment” of the FICO score on the map, which garnered her serious corporate sponsored cred?
Orman really put the FICO folks in a bind with this prepaid card scam. She had already pushed the limit several years earlier, by offering a “FICO 4 You” kit on QVC that she touted as offering the full FICO scores one would get in her kit with Fair Isaac, but which only gave TransUnion’s scores (yes, TransUnion helped her with another scam!) Orman’s “FICO 4 You” kit garnered many complaints and one–star reviews on QVC, until the product was eventually pulled.
Here’s one of many QVC customers who were fooled by Orman and TransUnion into putting more money into their accounts.
With that and many more shams behind her, con artist Suze Orman was back to milk her partnerships with TransUnion and FICO for a much bigger, bolder, and more devious deception, her “Approved” card scam that, if successful, would result in millions of Americans moving their money from banks into her pockets and the coffers of Orman’s partners, Bancorp and MasterCard.
Here’s how finance journalist Tim Chen described prepaid cards in his Forbes article, “Suze Orman And Lil' Wayne: A Match Made In Heaven” (Link 5-1)
With the Kim Kardashian debit card long dead, we can all have a good laugh at the memory of that prepaid monstrosity. But don’t think the terror is at an end. Rising from the smoldering crater of the Kim card are two new celebrity abominations: the Approved Card by Suze Orman and the Young Money Card by Lil' Wayne.
Celebrity prepaid debit cards are both hilarious and horrifying. Hilarious because they are an excruciatingly obvious ploy to feed the greed of money-bloated fame-mongers. Horrifying because they prey on the poor and financially illiterate…
In reality, prepaid debit is nothing short of extortionate chicanery. You might as well send your life savings to a stranded Nigerian prince who chanced upon your e-mail address and relayed a desperate plea for financial support. Prepaid debit will eat your money, lick its lips and ask for more.
These were the official fees for Orman’s “Approved” card:
That list does not include the fees people had to pay to load money onto the card, which cost from $3.95 to $4.95 for each deposit, or all the lost accounts and improper charges from Orman’s super-shoddy “Approved” card customer service center in the Philippines.
In gangster brilliance, the card was set up so that every little technical glitch in the card brought another windfall of fees into Orman's pockets.
Even journalists who had stayed silent when they should have exposed Orman's previous shenanigans finally spoke up, en masse. Well over one hundred articles by financial journalists top to bottom, warned consumers about this card, with flavors that ranged from gentle political correctness to blunt criticisms calling out Suze Orman's “Approved card scam.”
More warnings from the press:
In spite of all the bad press for Orman’s most deceptive and predatory scheme to date, nearly the entire mainstream media hosted her fraud, acting as though they believed it was a valid movement to help the middle class and poor.
The “Approved” card scam was pushed by many television shows, print and online articles, radio interviews, and in a poverty conference, where Michael Moore praised Orman’s prepaid card as “revolutionary,” and said she was putting her life at risk to undertake this great effort. Orman was given full reign to con attendees at the NCLR Latino Conference, on many CNN news shows, and at the National Press Club, where Tavis Smiley read Orman’s script and pledged his undying support to any and all of Orman’s “endeavors,” past, present, and future.
Watching all this, I could only wonder if these journalists, celebrities, and activists were really too foolish and lazy to even look at the card’s website or notice the over one hundred articles published just in the first few months of 2012, warning people about Orman’s prepaid card scam. Were these hosts ignorant, lazy, foolish, or complicit? What other option could there be? Perhaps some were bribed or blackmailed into giving up their integrity?
Interviews with Orman about her prepaid card were featured on National Public Radio and by satellite linkup by local news stations across the country. The card was enthusiastically recommended by Wendy Williams, advertised by Anderson Cooper with incorrect information on his show and website, and endured by Barbara Walters, who was obviously uncomfortable while allowing Orman to fool the audience of The View.
Orman ran her obvious scam in an awkward but revealing Huffington Post interview about the card with Arianna Huffington, who just nodded through the con as though in a trance, and with George Stephanopoulos as he tried to make sense of her snake oil tomfoolery on Good Morning America. Orman somehow managed to get Juju Chang to laugh at her flagrant con game and blatantly lie to viewers of ABC News on Orman’s behalf. You’ll see clips of all these examples in our documentary film, “How Suze Orman SCAMMED the World.”
Orman was on a cocaine-style overdrive frenzy, emphatically speaking with wild gestures and over the top inflections and slogans to give the impression that this low-end, predatory financial product that should be someone’s last recourse was the financial messiah itself. “We can change America, everybody, you’ve got to join me in this!” “This card will NEVER cost you more than three dollars a month.” “You can get a FICO score!” “I want to change your life!” And compliments of the Jerry Macguire’s screenwriter, “Can you just help me help you?”
It was during this part of my research into Orman’s shenanigans that I saw a much more troubling view of the behind-the-scenes media and political corruption and complicity that has supported and protected the likes of con artist Suze Orman and others who look to make a profit from plundering the well being of the public, the economy, and our world.
Watching political lobbyist Hilary Rosen push the “Approved” card scam as Orman’s publicity strategist, political lobbyist, and damage control expert was all I needed to know about any of Rosen’s other associations, and that includes Hillary Clinton, who Rosen helped run dirty tricks on Bernie Sanders during the 2016 democratic primary, and Senator Elizabeth Warren, who you will see in our film watching like a schoolgirl in love as Orman lies, then admits lying, and then tries to excuse her association with a for-profit school that paid Orman big bucks to lobby congress and fool the public into thinking their predatory school was a good investment.
Watch the Warren-Orman love fest here: Link 5-2
Many viewers who watched Senator Warren’s actions in our film have been just as shocked as I was, including this YouTube commenter:
Maybe those beholden to Rosen and the Orman cabal know that she’s dirty, but would rather have her on their side. As the Eagles band members once said about their ruthless manager, “He’s Satan, but he’s our Satan.”
The cabal webs go on and on, but let’s get back to looking at Orman’s “Approved” card scam. In our film, you’ll see Suze Orman committing blatant fraud throughout the media landscape as she emphatically spewed completely false claims that her prepaid card would raise poor and middle class users' FICO scores and would only cost $3 per month.
Orman repeated these same false talking points in appearance after appearance and interview after interview, along with the same confusing distraction of bragging about the incredibly brilliant design of her card, which was just a basic purple card.
Orman tossed out the same mumbo jumbo to Barbara Walters and Nate Berkus, explaining that this purple color represented a merging of democrats and republicans, red and blue, because “money should be there for everybody to enjoy and better their lives.”
Watch Orman pull her ridiculous purple card shenanigans with legendary journalist Barbara Walters on The View: Link 5-2b
Watch Orman’s purple card snake oil silliness on the Nate Berkus Show: Link 5-2a
Berkus: So Suze, you just launched a new prepaid card, this is a debit card. I’ve seen you do some interviews where you were a little bit defensive about people saying, “Oh, why is Suze Orman launching a credit card? Does she need more money? What’s this all about? What’s the real story with this?
Orman: Well, before I tell you the real story with it, I have to ask you what you think of the design of it?
Burkus: I think it’s great.
Orman: ‘Cause KT designed it. (Orman’s partner and wife)
Burkus: KT? I love this!...So I love the design, I think it’s great, I love that it has your name on it, it’s the Approved card.
Orman: Do you know why it’s purple?
Burkus: No, why is it purple?
Orman: Ready for this, everybody? When you mix red with blue, you get purple! So, do you get it, politically? The red party, the blue party.
Burkus: Oh! It’s like we’ve just gone on a tangent that I’m not following, and it’s my show.
Orman: If the world simply didn’t care about politics, they cared about merging politics so that all of us could be taken care of, and that our needs were put in front of their re-election needs, we would all be purple!!!
Orman also gave this telling vision of the poor and middle class having nothing to do with material possessions, while she’d obviously keep filling her life with more luxuries:
Orman: I want the new American dream to have absolutely nothing to do with material possessions. I want it to be that you have self worth, and because you have self worth, you have net worth. (cue the applause sign)
Burkus: Good advice, that’s good advice.
Too egotistical to hide the spoils of her scams, Orman bragged on Good Morning America, ABC News, and other outlets that, because she wasn't just endorsing but had personally created and invested her own money in the card, she expected to “make a fortune” off of it. In our film, you’ll hear her say to George Stepanopoulos, “Do I hope to make money off this? You betcha I do!”
Here is Orman’s deceptive Press Release, calling her fee-laden prepaid debit card—the kind of product any good financial advisor would advise staying far away from—a “Financial Revolution.” Orman would also call her card a “grass roots project,” with those old Ma and Pa corner store companies Orman partnered with, Bancorp and MasterCard.
From Orman’s “Approved” card press release:
NEW YORK, Jan. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Suze Orman, American personal finance icon, best-selling author and Emmy-award-winning television host, today launched The Approved Prepaid MasterCard®. The Approved Card™ isn't just another financial product or a normal prepaid card. It's the start of a financial revolution to enable Americans to empower themselves. Orman, the longtime financial crusader, is inviting consumers to join her “PEOPLE FIRST” movement with her Approved Card. Suze didn't just endorse this card – SHE CREATED IT from the ground up to change the way people think about and use their cash.
Suze Orman said: “For me, The Approved Card is a mission. It's the single most important thing I've done in my whole career. This is my answer for all those who are looking for a better way to bank, use plastic and feel secure knowing that their interests are being put before fees and profit motives. People are tired of not getting fair financial deals.”
Regarding Orman’s claims across the media landscape that using her card was going save America and give card users improved FICO scores, the otherwise silent Fair Isaac Corporation gave only one response to one of the journalists who were asking for clarification, Eileen Ambrose for the Baltimore Sun.
Ambrose first said that “TransUnion did not return phone calls seeking information about the pilot program,” then went on to quote FICO spokesman Anthony A. Sprauve in the only quote anyone from Fair Isaac gave to any journalist about the card: “In our experience, spending is not actually a great indicator of the thing that the FICO score tries to measure, which is the likelihood you're going to default on a credit bill,” or, in other words, Orman’s big “Financial revolution” to get her card to create and improve users’ FICO scores was complete nonsense, dead in the water, put forth only to improve her bank accounts.
While Orman was spewing all kinds of deceptions about TransUnion’s involvement and excitement about using the “Approved” card to get users improved FICO scores, TransUnion issued only a single short and vague response to many questions by many finance journalists who were writing articles to warn their readers about the card and wanted to know where TransUnion stood in the matter.
TransUnion’s one official response, given to a journalist who was less critical about Orman's card than others, was emailed to her with these carefully crafted words:
“TransUnion is committed to supporting Suze's efforts to understand the impact of pre-paid card use on an individual's credit health. Our goal is to help Suze understand whether including this data in a consumer's credit report would impact access to credit products.”
It doesn't say a word about being interested in the research themselves or about any interest in this information from FICO. Rather, TransUnion is “supporting Suze's efforts,” and “helping Suze understand.” See the scam?
Anderson Cooper jumped aboard the “Suze Orman infomercial train” by hosting her scam on his show and putting this misleading information on his website:
“With this new debit card, Suze wants to help build FICO scores for those making the responsible choice to use cash instead of going into debt with credit cards.”
Perhaps one could posit that saying, “Suze wants to help build FICO scores,” is accurate, since it didn’t indicate that there’s a chance it might happen, which there wasn’t.
Maybe it was like saying someone wants world peace. In this case, there was no indication that Orman even thought there was a remote chance that her proclaimed mission might ever happen, or that she really cared about the welfare of the poor and middle class card users she was pretending to support.
Anderson included Orman’s quote, “For me, The Approved Card is a mission. It’s the single most important thing I’ve done in my whole career. This is my answer for all those who are looking for a better way to bank, use plastic, and feel secure knowing that their interests are being put before fees and profit motives.” This hogwash was hosted on supposedly trustworthy and intelligent journalist Anderson Cooper’s show and posted on his blog.
Here is a sampling of how widely Orman’s prepaid card misinformation fraud spread through social media by many who were not only fooled by Orman’s fraudulent FICO claims, but deviously conned into spreading the predatory deception to their family and friends:
Like lambs to the slaughter…
This is simply a PR media-fueled fraud. Orman saying over and over that her “Approved” card will send your personal buying information to TransUnion, a “major credit bureau,” would be like telling someone, “If you pay me a long list of fees to help your writing career, I'll send your writings to top publishers,” and just putting the pages into an envelope and sending them off to be tossed on the slush piles with all the other unsolicited documents.
At least in the manuscript analogy, there is a small percentage of chance that one of the slush pile interns might notice their writings in the recycle bin and find them worthy of showing someone at the company, whereas Orman’s “Approved” card sending anonymous information about whether you used your card to buy coffee or dog food was never going to do a thing to help any one’s FICO score.
If Orman were really offering this debit card as a genuine movement to help consumers and change the credit score system as she proclaimed, she wouldn't have been asking some of the poorest people to pay big fees to give their personal information for her so-called “experiment” that considered only information from her flash in the pan card, when there are already many established prepaid cards in use that could have been studied, if Orman’s “People First movement” was anything more than a fraudulent mirage.
Someone who really wanted to change the FICO scoring system might lobby for reporting companies to look at a person’s history of paying for rent, utilities, and other bills on time—payments that might show the person's trustworthiness more accurately than having TransUnion look only at where defrauded victims spent their money with their Suze Orman “Approved” prepaid card.
Along with FICO and TransUnion, Orman’s spokesperson also gave only one shady response to questions about the card, also only to one finance journalist.
With not a shred of accurate information to refute criticisms about Orman’s prepaid card scam, because the whole “Approved” card was nothing more than a case of greed-fueled snake oil smoke-and-mirrors, this is what Orman’s spokesperson, Jill Zuckman, managing director specializing in strategic communications for Hilary Rosen's SKDKnickerbocker, said to Bloomberg: (Link 5-3)
Through her spokeswoman, Jill Zuckman, Orman declined to respond to a list of questions. “Suze is very proud of her work to create the Approved Card and she is gratified by the overwhelming response to the card and her effort to overhaul the way credit is scored in this country,” Zuckman wrote in an e-mail statement. “We’re going to let others debate the questions that you raise.”
As for what TransUnion might have gotten from this deal, aside from access to a whole lot of free personal spending data, “Mr. Consumer,” Ed Dworsky points out, “If you only read the headlines about the free TransUnion credit score, report and credit monitoring benefit, you may miss the fact that the service is only free for the first year. After that, if you want to keep it, it is $143.40 a year.”
Again, this $143.40 per year charge is for credit score information that can easily be accessed for free on sites such as Credit Karma, which also gives access to the other two main bureau scores, along with TransUnion—all 100% free. It didn’t take too many uneducated users of Orman's card trusting her enough to pay this ridiculous, completely unnecessary annual fee of $143.40 for Orman to plunder more big profits from the poor and uneducated for herself and TransUnion.
“Mr. Consumer” also noted:
Conspicuously missing from their fee list is the cost to deposit money onto your card at an ATM or in person at a store.
Apparently you can only add money at locations that support either Moneygram or Western Union payments. The cost, they say, is typically $3.00 – $4.95. Whatta deal.
No government agencies to date have taken proper steps to refund victims’ money from Orman’s blatant fraud, or to question TransUnion or FICO about their role in the scam.
Financial Journalists Finally Speak Up
If well over one hundred journalists had not spoken up to warn the public about Orman’s prepaid card scam, millions more who have been incorrectly convinced by Oprah Winfrey, Larry King, John King, Barbara Walters, Anderson Cooper, and other major media figures into believing that this woman who has almost zero credentials or education in the field of finance is to be trusted as some kind of financial “genius” “wizard” and “guru,” may have fallen for Orman's misleading, fevered pitches.
If Orman had been totally successful with her “People First Financial Revolution Movement,” which was more of a “rip-off poor people and the middle class” fraud campaign, she might have moved perhaps hundreds of millions or billions of dollars from their bank accounts onto that stupid prepaid card.
This next video link shows an overview presentation of some of the problems with Orman’s card by finance experts John Ulzheimer and Ryan Mack. Mack used to be an Orman fan until he saw her making this move to swindle the poor and middle class with a fraudulent misinformation campaign. The clip includes a telling Freudian slip by Orman as she pitches her card at the National Press Club, and in a rare slip of honesty says, “The intention behind this card is to give people the least cost-effective way for them to be able to pay online, to be able to have a card to access things, because it's very dangerous today sometimes to carry cash around.” It really would be hard to find a less cost-effective way for people to access their own money than Orman’s card. Link 5-4
In an article on African American Money, Mack gave several reasons why Orman’s illogical claim that her card was going to improve users’ FICO scores was a bunch of baloney:
- If organizations thought it would be useful to gather data of the use of those who use prepaid debit cards as a referendum of responsibility they could have done so already with information that is currently available from other prepaid debit cards on the market.
- The data is only being shared with TransUnion which has agreed to collect specific data to determine if it can relate to the Vantage Score. FICO is not involved at all in this research and the primary tool to rate credit by use of lenders is FICO. Therefore, Vantage scoring is essentially useless and does little or no good to the consumer.
- Prepaid debit cards are the same as cash and therefore will never have any bearing on credit. When you attempt to purchase a home, a lender’s primary question is “how responsible were you in paying back your debt?”
The data gathered from a prepaid debit card that shows a consumer has an ability to spend money is pointless; everyone has the ability to spend money but not everybody is responsible in how they repay money.
For many financial journalists who had either trusted Orman or gone along with her previous shams for various possible reasons, this obvious scam was a real challenge.
Here was this supposedly trustworthy financial advisor that many of them had recommended to their readers without properly investigating her behavior, advice, and almost complete lack of finance credentials. And now, after all these years of earning tens of millions of dollars, this supposedly trustworthy “finance expert” Suze Orman was doing something that any honest finance expert would know is a complete sham.
Fortunately for individuals and the United States economy, financial journalists finally spoke up en masse, with various levels of bluntness, gentleness, and trepidation. Here are just a few of those articles:
“Suze Orman and Lil' Wayne: A Match Made in Heaven,” Forbes
“In their eagerness to capitalize on a trendy and morally dubious market, Suze Orman and Lil' Wayne will only deepen the financial woes of the unbanked. Spread the word. If enough truth proliferates, these prepaid atrocities will succumb to the same embarrassing fate as the Kardashian catastrophe.”
“Beware of Suze Orman Card!” Fox Business
“Look, by Suze’s own standards, pre-paid debit cards are a waste of money because of the fees they charge. But, to me, the problems are even bigger than that. I've been highly critical of the nation’s largest banks. But that doesn't mean I want consumers to leave the banking system.
“Suze Orman Debit Card Raises Many Doubts, MarketWatch
“So when the biggest name in personal finance announced “The Approved Card from Suze Orman,” you can bet that her legion of adoring fans, primed by her massive media reach, were thinking “If Suze approved it, that’s good enough for me.” It isn't.
“Pre-paid Debit Card: Is Orman's Evil?” CreditSense
“The bottom-line to all this noise is Suze Orman sold out what she has preached for years, for the almighty dollar. She sold out to line her pockets.
“Suze Orman's Cream of the Crap,” SheBloggs
“Suze states that her card will help your credit score because she’s collaborated with one of the credit bureaus and your transactions will be reported to that credit bureau in order to build your credit. I can’t think of anything else more misleading than this.... They benefit from the use of this data not you.”
“The Troubling Fine Print of Suze Orman's Prepaid Card,” Reuters
“If Orman “hates extra fees,” as she says in the advertising, then why promote a card that's loaded with them?”
“Suze's Prepaid Card: Can You Afford It?” AP distributed to USA Today, Seattle Times, CBS, and other newspapers
“Don't choose a prepaid card just because it's from Suze Orman.”
“Young, Gullible, and Broke: Suze Orman's Debit Card FAIL,” So Over Debt
“My thoughts on Suze's fee-riddled card and crappy attitude? DENIED!”
“Suze Orman Card: Rip-off or Righteous?” CBS MoneyWatch
“Most people could do better - much better - elsewhere... At the same time, she has a loyal following of people who appear willing to take her advice, no matter where it leads. In this case, her advice would lead you to buy a piece of purple plastic that comes with a load of little “gotcha” fees and few unique benefits.”
“Suze Orman, Debit Card Dealer,” Bloomberg Businessweek
“Orman dismisses the criticisms, saying the card reflects her understanding of people’s financial habits and needs. “I am the personal financial expert of the world,” she says. “I know what I am talking about.” Publicly, Orman lashed out on Twitter against the naysayers, calling them “small thinkers,” “idiots,” and “Suze haters.”
“You Don't Need Suze Orman's Prepaid Card,” Personal Dividends
“In the middle of the furor surrounding Occupy Wall Support, Suze Orman has been using code like “99%” as part of her marketing blitz to drum up support. The problem that many personal finance blogger types have with the card is that Suze is marketing it as a viable alternative to banking — even for those who are able to get a checking account.”
“The Approved Prepaid Debit Card: Suze Orman Falls Short,” Nerdwallet
"It’s puzzling (and disturbing) that a supposed finance guru would advise her followers to embark on such a foolhardy journey. Orman knows cardholders can easily accumulate over $100 in fees every year. She knows her card won’t help improve anyone’s FICO score. She knows the backlash and criticism incurred by similar celebrity money pits. And yet, she’s pushing through proudly. “I didn't just approve this card. I created it,” she boasts. How long before the condemnations of the financial experts shame the Approved Card into submission? We’re expecting devastating critical repercussions, and if Orman wants to maintain her status as a financial authority, you can bet she'll rethink her profit strategies."
“Suze Orman: Advisor or Pitchman?” Consumer World
"As she admits in smaller print, debit card purchase information is not part of anyone’s credit report and does not affect your credit score. She merely has a desire to see whether providing card use and purchase behavior to Trans Union will be considered in the future as a predictor of creditworthiness. Put another way, Suze has put a clever spin on the fact that she is sharing your purchase history with an outside company."
“Suze Orman’s Prepaid Card Will Not Affect Your Credit Score,” Credit Services Blog
"The biggest misunderstanding to which many of our Twitter friends seem to have fallen prey, unfortunately stoked up by Orman herself, seems to be the notion that the Approved Card, as it is called, can help users improve their credit scores. So let’s set the record straight: the Approved Card does not affect your credit score in any way."
If not for the media backlash against her card, this fraudulent scheme may have been successful, with tens of millions of people who blindly trusted and followed Orman’s advice moving their money out of the banking system and onto her shoddy prepaid card.
That could have potentially caused even more collapse to the economy and subsequent damage to individuals than Suze Orman had already caused with her reckless and tainted advice.
All these articles criticizing Orman’s card were still detailing much less than the bigger problem. Some even suggested that her three dollar per month charge was better than some other prepaid cards.
Yet, not a single journalist properly reported on the fact that Orman’s “Approved” card was sopping up improper funds left and right from clients who had been convinced to put their money on the card and pay all the usual fees in hopes of improving their FICO scores. Not one journalist that I know of reported on how the card was locking out access, losing accounts and charging inappropriate fees, while making a mint by charging two dollars for every call to the card’s completely incompetent customer service center, leaving many card users without any money to pay their rent or feed their children.
Amy’s plight points out another part of Orman’s predatory scheme that took place after the articles had their run on Orman’s card. In 2013, bank transfers stopped working with the “Approved” card, with no notice to card users. Bank-to-card transfer and direct deposit were the only two ways card users could avoid several of Orman's twenty fees.
Remember that all this thievery came after Orman lied across the media landscape, promising her card would only cost three dollars a month, “if you use it how I tell you to.” Unfortunately, Orman never told anyone how to use it without pouring their hard-earned money into her offshore bank accounts.
With this unannounced change by Orman’s card, any customers who did not have direct deposit set up with their jobs had to start paying $2 to withdraw money even from the designated ATMs, $1 for a balance inquiry, and other fees that were supposed to be waived for card users who deposited money directly from their bank accounts.
Of course, using bank-to-card transfers to move money to a prepaid card makes no sense for anyone who already has a bank account to transfer funds from, since they would be able to get a free debit card with their account. Now, Orman’s fraud victims who had previously been using bank transfers had to start paying $3.95 to $4.95 to use a service like Western Union for the privilege of moving their money onto the fee-laden card, and into Suze Orman’s pockets.
After the hundred-plus articles by financial bloggers and top journalists criticizing the “Approved” card were published in blogs and major media venues, Orman's PR machine (Hilary Rosen and SKDK, of BP oil spill fame) went into overdrive to find supposedly trustworthy shows and news outlets that would still give Orman almost unquestioning infomercial-style media space to pitch the con.
I'd imagine there's quite a behind-the-scenes story to this excessive loyalty shown by some in the media. Hopefully others can uncover more of the mechanics that allowed Orman to be placed in a position of extreme trust despite her extreme untrustworthiness.
This one fraud would have landed anyone else in prison:
"Orman says if she finds people are incurring fees to put cash on the card, only to spend another $2 to get cash at an ATM, she will ask them to turn in their plastic. If you’re going to squander money that way, “just keep it in cash! You don’t need the damn card,” she tells the audience at the book signing.
Michael Collins, an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin who studies the financial decision-making of low-income families, says people will eventually figure out the costs of any product. “The question is how long will it take” and how much in fees they will have racked up by then, he says."
In contrast with their obvious “hands off” policy toward Orman, the Federal Trade Commission went after author and weight loss huckster Kevin Trudeau, who was sentenced to ten years in prison and required to pay millions of dollars in restitution, for “misleading ads about his book.”
Trudeau was jailed for using misleading ads to sell his bestselling book that, like Orman's products, some people found useful. He was accused of “hosting a series of deceptive infomercials designed to look like radio and TV news interviews.”
Meanwhile, Suze Orman was committing fraud across the media landscape, on real TV news shows, for her prepaid card and other scams. Yet, there has never to date been a peep by any government agencies, except to lavishly praise that con artist, who was protected by the political lobbyist media broker firm who would give them donations and positions and media coverage leading to greater public influence so they could do even more to protect the chosen scammers.
Many financially savvy folks could see that Suze Orman’s “Approved” card was a scam. Here’s one of the hundreds of critical comments from finance professionals on the articles about Orman's card:
The charge to pay to talk to a customer service rep is one of the oldest scams in the credit card industry. This allows the credit card company to screw up your account and then charge you to straighten out their screwup. The other charges are similar. A free paper statement is required by the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). Orman is a scammer who talked her way through missing every prediction about the housing market. NBC will can her when her contract expires (as they should.)
Aside from the fact that CNBC did renew Orman’s contract in spite of all the complaints about her troubling shenanigans (although they finally canned her in 2015), Chris is exactly right about what happened to unsuspecting prey who purchased the card.
One blogger tried out the Suze Orman prepaid card herself, since she was writing a free e-book to help homeless people with their finances and thought it might be a good option for them. Even with her own financial savvy, Becky was immediately hit with unexpected fees that give a glimpse into how the card scammed people who had been hooked by Orman’s fraudulent claims:
Because the ApprovedCard.com web site is so buggy, I had to request my password and user name several times. Each time I tried to use the names, they were rejected. Finally the site locked my attempts to protect my account security. Fine. Then I called the toll free number to get help with that, and was told that it would cost me $2 to speak with a live person. $2??!! Really? It costs me $2 to talk to someone in customer service about YOUR product, a product that DOESN’T WORK?
The main people who might need to have a prepaid debit card would be those who have made so many egregious financial mistakes that not even a Credit Union will give them a bank account.
Of course, these are also the most likely to NOT use this fee-laden card as Suze told them to use it, (if she had in fact told them how to use it to avoid the inevitable fees). These lowest income, uneducated folks lost a significant chunk of their few dollars, right into Orman’s pockets.
Nerdwallet offered a comparison of different prepaid cards, and identified seven other cards that would be less expensive with general use than Orman's card. Without even taking into account all the shoddy plundering and incompetent extra fees and $2 customer service calls that plagued “Approved” card users, Nerdwallet estimated the card would cost most users $192/year just for the privilege of using their own money, and that's if they didn’t require any extra documentation or other requests that carried fees up to $30 each.
Here are some examples of additional fees “Approved” card users encountered:
If a company you paid didn't cash your check properly or said they didn't receive the check, that would be $30.00 out of your account into Bancorp's and Orman's pockets for you to do a payment inquiry, along with paying $2 for each phone call to the “Approved” card's problematic customer service to straighten the problem out.
If the place you paid by check for a $1 fee changed their address, or if you mistakenly had the check sent to the wrong address, that would be a “postal reject” charge of $25.00 for you.
If you were in a store and wanted to get some cash back instead of driving or walking to get to a 7-11 (where you could use the ATM for free only if you had direct-deposited cash onto the card within the previous 30 days), then that would be $2 in fees just for getting some of your own cash back along with your purchase.
If you didn’t have direct deposit and simply wanted to find out how much of your own money you had left on the “Approved” card, that inquiry cost you a $1 “balance inquiry fee” at the ATM, or $2 to check your balance by calling customer service.
The Approved Card fee page didn’t even explain what any of these twenty fee charges meant—something you might expect to find from a supposedly trustworthy financial educator.
Along with all these fees, every purchase made with Orman’s “Approved” card put interchange fees—which for prepaid debit cards can be much higher than with regulated credit card—into Orman's pockets.
Quite a racket, Scamming Suze!
When some bloggers and journalists respectfully questioned Orman about her questionable new card, she called them “losers and idiots,” and the shell finally broke enough to allow some light to shine on Orman's façade. These bloggers and journalists stood up and spoke up to protect consumers, in spite of all the possible repercussions that could have come from invoking the wrath of Orman and her supporters.
“The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.”
Credit Sesame shared their warning about Orman's prepaid debit card in a creative way, by offering a minesweeper game called “The Prepaid Card Mine Field” that compared Orman's “Approved” card to those offered by Lil’ Wayne and Russell Simmons.
Here is the game's end screen that represents a cardholder being charged each fee once. With this calculation, Orman's card would cost $145.95, far above Lil' Wayne's card at $29.30, and the Russell Simmon's card at $63.89.
CreditSesame added: (Link 5-5)
Suze Orman is a modern-day Horatio Alger story. Once a waitress in the San Francisco bay, she is now one of the most trusted experts in personal finance. Ms. Orman created controversy last week, however, when she debuted her prepaid debit card.
Prepaid debit cards are a controversial subject anyway. Loaded with hidden fees, prepaid cards are often mistakenly marketed as a way to build credit. Typically targeted to the unbanked population, prepaid cards allow people who can’t otherwise access credit cards or checking accounts the convenience of paying bills online and making purchases by credit or debit like everyone else.
That’s the good side. The bad side is that prepaid cards often come with a bevvy of fees, hidden and not so hidden. The fees are most troubling when it comes to Orman’s product. She often touts herself as a champion of consumers and a proponent of financial responsibility. The card itself is advertised as a way to teach young adults financial responsibility and inadvertently implies that the card will help build credit by being reported to TransUnion, one of the three major credit reporting agencies.
Without joining in the pig pile on Ms. Orman, it’s important to understand that prepaid cards won’t help establish or build credit. In this case, it feels as though the marketing folks behind Ms. Orman’s prepaid card pushed their creative marketing skills to their proverbial limit. While the card will report spending habits to TransUnion as a sort of pilot testing program, it will not help establish or build credit.
None of the journalists really got into an even bigger problem with Orman’s card than its many fees and her deceptive pitches, which is that the card stole from users left and right. This fellow got stung trying to help support Orman’s “People First” movement:
This woman had to pay for several two-dollar calls to customer service just to activate her card, and then was charged $150 in late fees and had her credit harmed, due to the “Approved” card’s incompetent bill pay system, which required more two-dollar calls to Orman’s customer service center in the Philippines. Melissa even tried to alert Oprah Winfrey, but as you can see in our film, Oprah doesn’t care.
Orman never mentioned that “Approved” card users would not be able to use her card to “pay at the pump” when they’d buy gas, or to book a hotel or rent a car. The maximum someone could load onto the card was $9000 per month, the maximum they could spend of their own money in any day was $2000, and the maximum bill payment for any month was $5000.
“The Approved Card” was a deceptive name really, since it would be like saying you are approved to purchase a store’s gift card with your own money and pay a bunch of fees to do it.
Are you approved, or is the card approved, and by whom? It was more Suze Orman make-believe nonsense.
Orman’s scams are like the movie “Groundhog Day,” when Bill Murray’s character knew he couldn’t die, and tried all kind of life-threatening acts, day after day, only to wake up the next morning without a bruise.
Suze Orman knows she is so well protected by “the cabal” that she can run even the most outlandish, blatantly predatory and thieving schemes, only to wake up the next day with no repercussions, ready to scam again.
Another small but intriguing point about Orman’s Approved card that most journalists missed was uncovered on Gerri Willis’s FOX Business news show, in a segment titled, “Suze Orman’s Prepaid Debit Card Full of Flaws?” Gerri explained: (Link 5-6)
“You know, we looked at getting a card, testing it out and seeing what it was like. We noticed that when you go through that process, what you find out is that you’ve got to have a credit card to get a card. Now, this just confounds me. If I had a credit card, I wouldn’t need a prepaid debit card!”
Here’s the screen where card applicants had to give their credit card number to sign up for Orman’s prepaid card.
Gerri Willis was quite a hero in speaking up and exposing this and other flaws with Orman’s card, while news anchors at CNN and other channels were unfortunately helping Orman run her scam.
On another Willis show, Smart Credit’s John Ulzheimer explained why prepaid cards are some of the worst financial products around. (Link 5-7)
“When we’re talking about financial services products, if I asked you to rank them all from the best to the worst, the prepaid debit card has to be right down there with pawn shops and title loans and payday lending. It is not a good product; it has a horrible reputation, primarily because of the fees that you’re going to pay—by hook or by crook, you’re going to pay these fees, one way or the other—to get access to your own money. That is a huge problem with these products.”
Television Clips of Orman's Prepaid Card Fraud
Here are just a few video clips from Orman's extensive, widespread, media misinformation campaign that fooled people into thinking her card would improve their FICO scores. Remember that nearly the entire financial journalist community stepped up to warn people about Orman's fee-laden card, which will absolutely not improve a user's FICO scores one iota now, or almost certainly ever. Yet show after show allowed Orman to tell blatant lies on their shows, including her frequent proclamation that, “This card will never cost you more than three dollars a month!”
In this first clip from the Wendy Williams Show, exuberant Suze Orman uses her memorized latticeworks of twisted words to fool viewers into thinking that buying her “Approved” prepaid debit card would improve their FICO scores and improve the whole world. Orman falsely insinuated that FICO was on board, which was not the case, and also tried to scare the audience by suggesting, as she often does, that employers won't hire you based on your FICO score, which is also not true. Watch the amazing deception in action: Link 5-8.
More of the same on Good Morning America: Link 5-9
And on The View: Link 5-10
Here Orman gives one of many deceptive spiels to local news shows via a satellite link to stations across the country: (Link 5-11)
Here’s an excerpt from a financial blog article titled, “Suze Orman's Pre-Paid Debit Card Scam,” that details the fraudulent pitch Orman used on The View and in close to one hundred appearances: (Link 5-12):
"During The View, Suze Orman heavily implied that it would help with credit scores, but didn't actually say it. She had a two minute rant about how important FICO scores are in this economy and then introduced her card…This is the kind of marketing that is misleading to consumers. To talk about improving credit for 5-10 minutes and then present a card and talk about the issue as if the card is the solution to building credit."
Savvy readers gave further insights in their comments on that article. Steve said:
If credit scores change to incorporate this data I will eat my hat. There are just not going to be enough users of this one card to make it worth FICO’s time to even try to figure out how to incorporate it into the score. It’s hypothetically possible that this will be the first of many debit cards to report usage data to credit bureaus, but I’m not holding my breath. Furthermore, it will always be opt-in only (assuming privacy laws prevent reporting of individual transactions to credit bureaus), giving the data a self-selection bias, meaning FICO is unlikely to rely on said data (out of responsibility to their true customers, creditors).
The Soap Boxers said:
I can’t even begin to fathom how the purchase data could be used in a credit score. Would you be rewarded for spending more money? Less money? Rewarded for “good” purchases (carrots) and penalized for “bad” purchases (donuts), even though that has nothing to do with credit?
As you allude to, all this really does is give purchase data to TransUnion, which they can then sell to companies. Suddenly, the whole world will know that I’m a big purchaser of Pepsi and Pringles, and that I wipe my (rear) with Charmin. How does this help me? This smacks of George Costanza’s Human Fund. Money for People. Money for Suze, in this case.
Orman appeared on many of CNN's supposedly reputable shows, including a pseudo-news infomercial segment on the John King Show, deceptively titled, “Prepaid debit card to help credit score: Finance expert Suze Orman introduces a new prepaid card that’s designed to help raise your credit score.” (Link 5-13)
In her emphatic appearance on the John King Show, Orman suggested that her choice to invest a million dollars of her own money into this card was not for greedy purposes of getting more money for herself in return, but for some vague altruistic reasons, as King coined the obviously scripted though sarcastic term, “Saint Suze.”
Here are some complaints from Orman’s Facebook page:
Click this link to see Orman running her scam using what appears to be an obviously planted questioner on Oprah's OWN network, with more fraudulent claims from Orman: Link 5-14
Why have no government agencies done anything to help Orman’s financial fraud victims, or to punish Orman for her crimes? The CFPB went in hard in 2015, when Russell Simmons’ Rush prepaid debit card unintentionally froze many users’ accounts for a week or so as a result of a glitch in their new computer system.
Simmons paid nineteen million dollars to compensate those card users, and offered endless apologies to his card users, amidst threats and requests for card users to send their complaints to the CFPB.
Meanwhile, Suze Orman’s intentionally incompetent “mistakes” that lost many accounts, charged inappropriate fees, and locked “Approved” card users from accessing their money, apparently done as a predatory business practice, were completely ignored by the CFPB, and you can bet I sent them this documentation.
In the next link, you can watch the section of our documentary where Orman is targeting her “Approved” card scheme to poverty panels and the NCLR national conference, as well as announcing her card at the prestigious National Press Club, where this predatory card was eagerly shilled by “poverty activist” Tavis Smiley, who you'll see gush about how he would do anything for Suze Orman: Link 5-15
Suze Orman’s deceptions in GOOD magazine included an outright lie that she had met with FICO and that they were interested in her prepaid card plan, a falsehood that FICO themselves dispelled. From GOOD magazine, “Wealth Club: Suze Orman Talks Credit Scores, Occupy Wall Street, and the American Dream”: (Link 5-16)
GOOD: Was it hard to get TransUnion on board with developing a system where these cash transactions would positively affect people’s credit scores?
ORMAN: I would say, ‘Yes, it was hard.’ But, no it was not hard because it was Suze Orman.
I’m sure people had gone to them before and have asked ‘will you do this?’ and I’m sure they said no because I’m sure the people that probably asked prior to me would use this as a marketing gimmick.
When TransUnion heard the idea that what I wanted to experiment with, and I also met with FICO on it, they knew that I would tell the people exactly how it was…the first prepaid debit card in history that would share information with a major credit bureau in the hopes that two years from now, we could evaluate the data and determine if it does in fact predict future behavior.
I want everyone to simply get this card and pay their bills on this card. Just do that. Then we will aggregate the information, and possibly we could be part of changing the scoring system to be relevant, rather than irrelevant, which is what I believe it is today. … Remember, none of this will actually be reported on your actual credit report. We’re just sharing the aggregate data with TransUnion, we’re going to evaluate the aggregate data over two years, and if, God-willing, and I hope Experian and Equifax joins us with this, I have a feeling what you’re going to see is that we will have started to … to create a new score that takes into consideration people who don’t want to have a credit card, people who want to pay for things with cash, people who just want to use debit cards. So now we’re reevaluating and recreating the new American Dream all over again.
Orman also promised all over the place that at some nebulous time in the future, when the card had earned back her investment, she planed to eliminate at least one of the fees on this card, the monthly fee. Of course, that never happened, even though Orman bragged to the Daily Beast in 2013 that she had already made back all the millions of dollars she personally invested the card. As someone who received a lot of worthless promises of future payments and benefits from Orman, I easily recognized the same tone of voice in her promises of future benefits for “Approved” card victims.
“Mr. Consumer” also noted:
Conspicuously missing from their fee list is the cost to deposit money onto your card at an ATM or in person at a store.
Apparently you can only add money at locations that support either Moneygram or Western Union payments. The cost, they say, is typically $3.00 – $4.95. Whatta deal.
Even after all those articles, the spin machine continued. Oprah’s magazine, which was still pushing Orman on her trusting flock, posted this twitter message January 18th, after most of the above articles exposing and slamming the card had already been published:
The O Magazine article was not presented as an advertisement, but proper advice. Yet Orman responded to a completely unrelated question with one more infomercial for her card. As of the publication date of this book, that article’s page on Oprah’s website is still pitching Orman’s long defunct, predatory card. The O Magazine article titled, “Should You Cosign a Car Loan for Your Children?” begins with what is likely a shill question, and shows Orman’s dangerous mix of scams mixed with useful information, like poison mixed with wine: (Link 5-17)
Q: My 30-year-old son just finished graduate school with no loans. He has a new job that pays $60,000 a year. The problem: Because he hasn't established credit, he can't get a credit card or a car loan, even though he has $10,000 in savings and more than enough income to cover his bills each month. If I cosign a car loan, will that help him? I'm at a loss as to how he can start building his credit.
A: Mom, I can hear your frustration. It is stupefying that someone with a great income and no debt can't obtain a credit card or a loan. I bet that one factor weighing against his loan application is that he has yet to establish a FICO credit score, so while his income is enough to qualify, lenders won't make a deal. I am never a big fan of cosigning a loan, because it means you are 100 percent liable for making good on the amount borrowed. And even though your son sounds like a very stable guy, I stick by my advice: Do not cosign a loan for him. This is not about your son being a flake or freeloader. What if he is laid off? Or is injured in an accident?
But you can still help. If your FICO credit score is at least 740, I would consider adding your son to your credit card as an authorized user. This allows him to piggyback on your score, and it will help him build a solid credit report that will eventually make it possible for him to qualify for a car loan on his own.
(Here it is!) I have to tell you, your son's situation is one of the big reasons I've worked hard to bring out my new Approved Prepaid MasterCard debit card. I have become so frustrated hearing from people who can't get credit cards or who are struggling to navigate high fees. Debit cards are a great alternative to credit cards—and a great way to avoid the temptation to run up a high balance.
Prepaid debit cards get around the problem of maintaining a hefty checking account balance, but some charge fees that can add up to $15 or more a month, and currently no prepaid debit cards report to one of the three main credit bureaus that lenders rely on for FICO credit scores. That's not much of a solution.
This is why I am so proud of the new Approved card, and I honestly think it will be a game changer. For the first time in history, transactions made through a prepaid debit card will be shared with TransUnion, a major credit bureau. That information won't yet affect FICO scores, but the hope is that collecting data and insight on how people use debit cards could eventually impact credit reports.
Orman herself had described prepaid cards as a bad deal in the past, but in the month before her card debuted, she changed her tune, and recommended that a woman should get a prepaid card for her husband on the very first episode of her new OWN show. (watch the clip: Link 5-18)
Next is a clip from a student-based show that broadcast on February 17th 2012, more than one month after warnings about Orman’s prepaid card had started filling the financial media landscape.
Note the subtle and also outright deception in what Orman says and the deceptive copy she and her girlfriend/brand manager gave to the young anchor about her card. This is a case of Suze Orman fooling and stealing from young students by conning them into buying her fee-laden card. You’ll hear Orman’s usual claims that “if you use it how I tell you to,” the fees for this card would only be three dollars a month, and emoting her FICO fables to make all but the most savvy listeners think that her prepaid card would improve their credit scores.
In this “scamming the students” clip, Orman also claimed FICO was part of her little experiment, which it was not: Link 5-21
Regarding Orman's unending suggestions and claims that her card was going to improve users’ FICO scores, a look deep into the “Approved” card’s legal disclaimers, reveals this:
“The Approved Card is not designed to improve your credit record, history, or rating. Use of The Approved Card will not and cannot improve or fix your credit score or rating.”
That is a far cry from what Suze Orman insinuated in around one hundred media appearances and interviews that were specifically geared to sell her card. Apparently Suze and company think putting a disclaimer on a difficult to find page of the “Approved” card website should prevent them from being prosecuted for her blatant fraud or repaying customers who were fooled by her deceptive pitches.
More bad terms from the “Approved” card agreement page:
Seven months into Orman's prepaid card scam:
Translation: “So just keep putting your good money on the card for no reason and then shut up when you realize you’ve been scammed.”
This next video clip shows Orman’s blatantly deceptive response, spoken like a lying child who just got caught with her hand in the cookie jar, as she answers Piers Morgan's softball questions about her prepaid debit card that had already been panned by respected finance journalists from top to bottom.
Several journalists had alerted Morgan and his staff to the problems with Orman's card before this interview. Piers asks what sound like tough questions, but then lets Orman slide with little more than pretending to be altruistic and saying, “Trust me.” (click here to play the video: Link 5-24)
It appears Morgan was well rewarded for allowing Orman to run her scam on his show:
Orman’s enthusiastic summation of the fiasco:
Go to Chapter Six:
"Capitalizing On The Financial Illiteracy of the Poor, Minorities, and the “Occupy” Movement"
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