By Bay City News
The Alameda County District Attorney's Office issued a scam alert today which warns Bay Area residents about solicitations from some private companies that offer therapy training and accreditation.
The district attorney's Consumer Fraud Unit says some companies, through recent solicitations in newspapers, try to get students interested in a career in massage therapy.
But prosecutors say the companies require applicants who want to enroll in the courses to pay a fee and disclose personal information, such as their social security number, driver's license and immigration information.
The district attorney's office says some private companies take the applicants' money but don't provide services and don't issue the necessary certificates and transcripts required for accreditation.
Those companies are scams, according to the Consumer Fraud Unit.
District Attorney Nancy O'Malley said in a statement, "These solicitations target members of the local community who are attempting to improve their lives and brighten their futures by obtaining education for better employment."
O'Malley said consumers should carefully investigate any firm or company before they hand over their money or personal private information.
She said consumers who want to check if a business is properly licensed can call several different offices, including the Better Business Bureau at (510) 238-1000 or (510) 844-2000, the Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education at 400 R St., Suite 5000, Sacramento, CA 95814-6200 or (916) 445-3427 or Alameda County Business Licenses at (510)
238-3704 in Oakland and (510) 583-4600 in Hayward.