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Resolved
Atlantic Circulation IncMagazine subscription scam

Magazine subscription fraud using children as pawns in scam door-to-door sales. Never deliver product. Identified and widely reported as an ongoing scam nation-wide:

I'm a resident of Port Townsend, Washington, a small town located on the Olympic Peninsula. I was recently scammed by a kid, Brian Hoherbach, who, along with a well coached and organized group of teenagers, canvased my rural neighborhood selling bogus magazine subscriptions to raise money for an equally bogus trip to Europe. Their handlers pocket the money, pay the kids a stipend, and never deliver the magazines. No doubt many of these kids are victims themselves. That said, this particular teenager seemed a little too polished to be in the dark, so I've included his name.

Making the scam more difficult to identify and expose, the salesmen encourage their marks to donate the paid subscriptions to various charitable organizations. No doubt they would happily take cash instead of a check to further cover their tracks.

York, Pennsylvania based American Circulation Inc. (ACI) is behind the scam. Reports of this crime began surfacing in 2008 and concerned ACI activity in Southern states, where the warm climate allowed for a longer selling season. ACI's reach has now extended nationwide.

I've actually authored a book about a con man and his Ponzi scheme, "Virtual Vice", so typically have the street smarts and experiential background not to fall prey to such fraud. This one blindsided me, however, as it involved children executing the actual scam. Truly a new low.

Important note: there are cancellation instructions that appear on the back of each ACI receipt. I believe the only purpose for their inclusion is to delay or deter stop payments on checks proffered. There are several reports of victims following those instructions and never receiving a refund, only to realize it is then too late to initiate a stop payment through their bank.

Responses

  • Al
    alex23322 Aug 10, 2009

    A friend of mine was conned into joining them to make easy money. When he tried to leave he had a gun drawn on him. Others he knew who tried to leave were beaten and left in the middle-of-nowhere with no belongings. He was able to escape early in the morning from a motel room and get a bus ticket home. He also made a police report.

    0 Votes
  • Ks
    kspencer78 Aug 13, 2009

    I was an idiot too. I actually gave the guy 20 bucks. That brought my check to 165.00 for magazines. (That I will probably never receive.) I am in the process of canceling the check. A small fee is better than 165.00. Thanks Atlantic Circulation for opening my eyes and just saying NO.

    0 Votes
  • Mj
    MJohnson Aug 13, 2009

    Scammed in Ellensburg WA by a kid named Gary Meyer on June 13th 09

    0 Votes
  • Li
    lindalou0188 Aug 14, 2009

    My sister in Charleston WV, was just scammed by Chrissy with Atlantic Circulation, it's a good thing I watch the news, because there was a report about it and I called my sister right way. She has cancelled her check and is even closing her bank account, just to be on the safe side.

    0 Votes
  • Jm
    jmega21 Sep 19, 2009

    Brian got us too in Poulsbo Washington. How is it that they continue to get away with this?

    0 Votes
  • Kj
    K. J. T. Oct 17, 2009

    Scammed in June in Silverdale. Unbelievable -- because I usually DO say no to these door to door things.

    0 Votes
  • Ko
    Konita Christansen Oct 18, 2009

    Somebody came to my door when I wasn't home and talked to my wife that is not from the US and doesn't even know how to write a check, so they wrote it for her and she printed her signature on the check for 49.00. I better not catch these people at my door ever again, our you will find them at the bottom of the steps, hurt! To take advantage of a woman who can bearly speak english, really makes me mad. I will be calling authorities about this issue to seek legal procecution. There is signs up all over my complex warning sollicitors.This check was written on the 4th of October and cashed for deposit only into Atlantic Circulation Inc [protected]. Be ready for procecution on this!

    0 Votes
  • Be
    beth_is_my_name Oct 21, 2009

    Ok to start off i have worked for this A.C.i and it was the best time of my life.ok there are a couple of bad seeds here and there but is that our fault.aci is laget iv have gone to hawii the contest is real.there are good people and bad if you got caught stealing orders you got fired not beat fired im not protecting anybody.id been with aci for 2 years the things you hear migh have to other people but not here.And the people who wrote this should really take a walk in our shoes before you judge. this was the best time of my life i wouldnt cange this expearinse for anything.

    -1 Votes
  • Ja
    jayjaydial Nov 10, 2009

    i think that the whole mag crew thing is a great danger to kids/teens. i was on a mag crew for 8 months and yeah it was fun and all get to travel and meet people but who wants a job where if they dont make there sales on the day at work they get yelled at and put down in front of everyone. most of the kids that were on mag crew jus worked and stayed cause they were too scared to leave. its crazy what goes on. i personalty was left 9 states away from my home and i had to go to a homeless selter jus to get a bus ticket home. there has been girls killed on mag crew that are posted on the internet.look. there is one girl that was dating a manger for 6 months sold ten magaiznes a day and wanted to go home told a girl even on mag crew she was going home and 3 days later she was found dead after going missing and not being reported for two days. take my adivce you can suceed more in life at a better job that is laget that will provide for you and yeah thats coming from a 19 year old

    1 Votes
  • St
    stopatlantic circulation Jan 12, 2010

    There is a magazine crew travelling the US and scamming people.

    I don't understand why this hasnt been stopped earlier! Help stop them.

    Report, and complain about your situation

    go to and fill out complaint forms be sure to use names so that they are easier to track down. :

    www.fraud.org

    www.consumerfraudreporting.org

    and most importantly contact your State Attorney General.

    The list is at consumerfraudreporting.org/stateattorneygenerallist.php

    Please help stop!

    0 Votes
  • Ja
    jacensmommy09 Mar 01, 2010

    does any one know about how well they are with their refunds? I am cancelling my oreder tomorrow before my 3 day is up cuz i sadly cant afford it. I do not want to get scammed outta 196 dollars...which he didnt tell me how much it all was till the end but they guy was very nice.

    0 Votes
  • Jo
    JoelPursifull Mar 18, 2010

    I actually tried the Mag crew and it was miserable. Its nothing but a manipulating ongoing brain washing process where they make young adults such as myself believe you can do whatever you put your mind to. They stress nothing but cash, and when I started out for "training" I was sent on a bus to Middleton Texas. The time I spent there was a joke, yeah it may seem a lil' fun with no rules but after three days I was out of there. You stay in trash ### motels with hardly any money in your pocket with the stress of making sales to meet your most basic needs. For one: its illegal, two: you work twelve hours a day 6 days a week and three: your extremely exhausted living with out a healthy diet. Unless you want real food you better count on walking to where ever you want to eat because nine times out of ten they sure as hell wont drive you there. Youd be eating gas station snacks just to fill you up while selling magazines throughout the day. Matt (The manager) is a complete tool. These kids in the crew look up to him like hes some kind of god, its quite humorous as I was the only one that didnt buy into any of his ###. I had to lie to get out of there or they wouldnt have sent me back. I had to say I was having police toubles at home and had a warrant out for my arrest. Kind of strange how they didnt want the polices floating around the area looking for me knowing what ACI (006) was doing what was illegal, rape, murder, hostage, battery, etc. you name it, these people have done it. Trust me, coming from an 18 year old kid wanting to try things with his life, this "fun party filled money making process" is a complete joke. Dont buy into anything this people try and tell you. Go get a real job seriously itll save you legal problems and stress.

    0 Votes
  • Sc
    scamed Mar 23, 2010

    I was scammed by two young adults, Tony and Dannielle claiming to work for a comany ACI selling magazines.I Live In Barstow CA where they came knocking on more door at 8pm. I am usually so cautious and scared to answer the door especially when its dark out and my Fiance isnt home form work yet. They were super friendly and told me they were in a contest for points to win a trip to europe. I listened through my screen door until tony said to take a look at his list of magazines he had. As soon as i opened my screen door to take a look at his list, somehow they had made their way into my home to my dinig room table. I was really just confused and didnt really understand how this whole magazine sale was supposed to work considering every time i asked about how much it would cost me they would find away around the question until i had 2 mag. picked out and they were trying to charge me over 100 bucks. I told them i couldnt pay that much, but they would not give up. They swindled me some more until they got it down to 89 dollars. I just wrote the check to get them out of my house knowing i was going to put a stop payment on the check early the next morning. They told me they were out talking to strangers to improve their public speaking. When i signed the reciepts tony said to sign between the hearts but not before i asked him why i had to sign between the hearts. I said why? And he said because u are such a sweetheart for helping us. They really try and smooze you! As soon as i had them out of my house and gone i called my fiance and he was FURIOUS! I felt so stupid and i really just didnt know how it had happened. They were very good actors and VERY persistant! BEWARE!!! I put a stop on the check and closed that account just because i knew they had my info and i was willing to take the risk.

    0 Votes
  • Br
    Brooke-Decrow Apr 20, 2010

    i worked for them for like 2 weeks i got smart fast and left for all of the kids that work for them they offer 50% commission and the "kids" who happen to have to be 18 years and older are told to lie and say they are selling the magazines for home school functions and childrens sports functions they also get to stay in a hotel and travel the us! the only truth in this is you get to travel and they pay for your room and most of the time you dont even get the 50% comission that they promis because there is not enough "cash flow" my experiance with this crew of "mag agents" and selling was retched and i walked around in socks for about a week until they finally bought me a pair of shoes for 20$!! i at the time was in my training period and was only getting 20 dollars a a day they didnt stop for us to eat breakfast they never did lunch stops we were leaving at 9 am for morning meeting and then we wernt getting back to the hotel until about 11pm and then we were in check ins for a bout an hour getting paid and turning in our money and booklets so we were walking 10-15 miles a day getting yelled at by our supposed "bosses" and then we were able to eat at about 12:30am i poped my knee out of place and they refused to take me to the dr. or hospital after that they were supposed to have to buy my way home but instead i sat at the train station all day waiting for my mom to drive 8 hours in the car to come pick me up that was the one most worst experiance i have had in my life the sad thing is the reason i took the job was homelessness and they ended up treating all of their "workers" like crap i will never do anything like that again and i advise you no to buy magazines because i orderd one while working there for my little brother to have fun with and its been 2 months we still have no received any thing and i can garuntee that you wont receive anything either! so my advice do not buy anything !!! from these people

    0 Votes
  • Sp
    spookydoo1 Jun 06, 2010

    yo i my self had never heard of no body going door to door so when it finally happend i ended up buying one then the kid ended up hiring me to work when i told him the check was going to bounce he laughed and said '' do u want to make cash every day 50 to 200$ a day and travel and this that and the tird i said sounds cool he said pack your bags and come on so quickly no inerview nothin just come on so i needed a job and was just like ok ill try it for a while when i got to the nasty hotel was a little disterbed but they let u smoke weed and drink and just party all the time i got used to it but by the time we were a couple of states away [censor] went sour people like the managers start talking [censor] to u and they start tring to strong arm u like they dont even care for u any more make u feel like ur nothing if u aint selling mags finally started thinking it was just a big scam so i quit tring to sell mags then i just started knocking on doors making friends just so i didnt have to walk 6 days a week 12 hours a day rain shine snow they didnt care but i would tell people not to buy magazines and lettin people know what was really going on and they would call cops and they say well tell them u want a bus ticket the only problem with that was u couldnt just ask for a bus ticket i saw this one kid ask for a bus ticket and they literally jumped him and left him stranded in the middle of no were and said he was tring to steal from what they call the mr and mrs jones the customer u could tell they just didnt want to catch what they call heat when the cops are after them i sold mags for 2 months finally 6 stats away from my home i met a guy at the door who let me stay with him after i told him a bout mag crew and my dad sent me a bus ticket back do me a favor and a favor to all the KIDS who fall victom to this mag crew bull [censor] if u have a kid come to ur door show him this website and explain the SCAM i ward for atlantic circulation inc for a mister tim peek and a james anderson if those were there real name BUT NEVER BUY THE MAGS NO CHECKS NOTHIN IF U feel sympathy put 20 bucks in the kids pocket and send him on his way trust me he will really need the money they are lucky to get paid every day thanks for reading

    0 Votes
  • Jo
    jones067 Jun 11, 2010

    I've worked for ACI for four years, and now I am off the road and yes I did make a lot of money. I also received every one of my magazines... and for that matter- so did my mom and my sisters. And just to let people know, Bad things happen in life- not just on mag crew. Has anyone stopped to look at the good part?
    Most of these kids had nothing in life, homeless and on the streets, stealing and doing drugs, When we give them an opportunity they are asked to stop and better themselves.
    The company is a good positive way for teenagers to learn life skills, money management, and how to interact with people. there is dirty business people in any industry you just need to find the honest winners in the company and you will get a mag and a warm fuzzy filling every month for 2-3 yrs for helping one of the sweet grapes !

    you know you eat grapes ...Right ?

    you know you eat a sour grape before .. Right ?...

    That didn't stop you from eating grapes all together did it ?

    OK !

    if you didnt let one sour grape stop you from eating grapes.

    Try A few More Grapes !

    Most all ACI Grapes are Sweet !

    0 Votes
  • Ta
    Tammy L. Robertson Sep 27, 2010

    Iam a mother of an 18yr old daughter whose daughter started out in salt lake city utah where she took off away from home where Iam and her other family in Wyoming. There in Utah hard times fell upon her she was approached by a man telling her of his company Atlanitc Circulation Inc how great they were all the money she could make, traveling she'd do at the expense of the company. And the company would pay for motel rooms, food plus pay her weekly for selling magazines door-to-door. She rarely calls due to fact she has no phone cause shes paid so little like [email protected] a wk IF LUCKY! to barely rselfpay for her meals which they said they paid for..we spoke about 2-2 1/2wks ago she was crying saying how bad her boss treating he threatened to leave her in a park in colorado springs, co.(their new selling place) if she didnt come back with more sales. she walked around she said from early in morning til late at night in strange states/cities, no phone, money, alone...a young girl whose 18yrs old just trying to get her life started, learning to support herself, learning who she is, what she wants in life etc.. she was not given a meal like a bag lunch snack, not even bottle of water to drink all day so about 14hrs a day give or take..so if shese was picked up by some freak and was raped or worse God forbid or went to a home and that person kept her restained there to harm her...she would have no way to contact ANYONE for help.NOBODY would no where she was or why and wouldnt care probably from al I hear from her other kids and online complaints about this company. she's still in colorado springs, co tonight along with 2 other young girls..stranded no money, no food, no family, no place to lay her head, thanks to a local motel they put the girls up for a night or two. I have a small child at home here in WY. barely can afford groceries gas etc lookin for work myself..i cant afford to get my child home safe with shelter and food ai feel terrible!!! Iam stuck...so I come here the internet doin research on this company, on colorado springs businesses lookin for places to donate food anything to help not just my child but 2 others! They were also left with no paycheck!! Others took off for Dallas Texas they say..well i am just mortified [censored]..the destination texas could be a scam too who knows?? I have gotten 1 donation from local business in colorado springs for all 3 girls for a meal tonight thank god for them as well! Gonna try getting help more early am for bus tickets food motel rooms etc, its almost 1am here iam exausted, scared to death for my child and other 2 girls, stressed beyond max, in shock still i think over it all! what kind of people do this to young kids...to anyone PERIOD!! I can promise this..they have messed with the wrong mom, i dont have money to do alot but have phone internet mail and lots of contacts with my local police station/sheriffs dept. others who work for goverment, lots of family/friends to help put a stop to these JERKS! Life is hard enough without these jerks making it worse..my child was only tryin to work to earn money to save towards a home, food phone car etc..like most americans are...she thought she had a good job rare opportunity to see the US plus earn money...making honst living...lil did she or I nor rest of these kids who were screwed by Atlantic Circulation that they were nothing but liars, a bunch of con artsits scamming young innocent kids...In my eyes they are doin the work of the devil...I read stories about other kids who were screwed too, some beaten, raped, murdered cause they didnt sell any/or lil magazines...what the hel is goin on in this world!!! Whomever reads this or other stories related to the Atlantic Circulation Inc. Scams PLEASE...lets all work together and stop these [censor]s! Pardon my language! PLEASE help these kids, their families find kids who r missing beaten abandoned hungry lost left behind, help them get home to family, loved ones safely quickly before it gets worse..I am sure theres many companis like this one we cant stop them all save all the kids...but lets start here...right now ok!!! enough is enough i will wrk research 24/7 7 days wk til i get help getin my daughter home safely and have Atlantic Circulation Inc investigated properly, and caught, prosecuted, and given time LOTS AND LOTS of time behind bars!! Every darn one of the people in charge of this place, those abusing these kids leaving them hungr alone no shelter no pay in a strage state/city...all who are not helping but using/abusing in several ways as well!! to those working at/for/owning Atlantic Circulaion Inc...be warned now!! Your days of harming/scamming these kids harming them, scamming innocent people around the Us etc...your days are numbered, run run run all you want everyone eventually gets caught as will you!!! On that day I amongst many others im sure will be there in court watching you squirm in your chairs as the judges sentence you all to jail for years and years!!! God will be watching over these kids...on your day of doom heading to jail... God will be looking down smiling.. forbidding you into heaven for harming the innocent...and more..have fun in prison with others who dont take kindly to those who harm kids!! have fun with your pal the devil whom you been workin for!!

    0 Votes
  • St
    stephee_h Nov 23, 2010

    My sister Tori Havens is in one of these mag crews, she left from Billings MT. Now she is now in Mississippi, still traveling. I am very worried about her, she has been in and out of the hospitals more than three times that I know of since she left. I am getting her hospital bills here at our home in MT, and one is a very large amount. She called today and said she broke her collar bone, so not to be allarmed that she's getting another hospital bill. She hardly ever calls, I just want information. If anyone knows Tori and the crew she is with, please post a response. I am worried about my sisters health, by the time she gets home she will have $10k + in hospital bill debt, something is wrong, she is only 18 years old. Please if anyone has any information about my sister Tori Havens from MT, please post something.

    2 Votes
  • La
    Laceylou Dec 01, 2010

    I have an 18 year old son his name is Wade Olson he is on Matt's crew. I hadn't heard from my son in over 4 months, which by the way to a mother that talked to him at least once a week was devastating. We live in Layton Utah. I had to go to the local police dept. to get him on the ncic data base to locate my son. He finally called me on Thanksgiving day to tell me he had to ask permission to come home for Christmas and that he didn't know if he would be able to. I just called Matt and he actually answered the phone didn't talk to me said he would call me right back he was on another line. I am really concerned about how this magazine company can just up root these kids without letting someone know their whereabouts. They have to know that someone cares about these kids. Yeah my son said he's having a great time meeting lot's of people but he acted scared like he was afraid that he was gonna get caught talking to me or something. After reading some of these stories on this website there is no doubt in my mind that something is definately wrong with this company. My son told me that he was doing really good with his sales, but what happens when he doesn't and something happens to him. He is my only son and I won't sit by and let something happen to him. I noticed that no one mentioned whether or not there was any drug abuse, just curious. I'm grateful for this site to be able to say what we really feel about this company, just wished they were as concerned as we the parents of these kids are about their safety and health. To the sister of the girl from Mt. I'm sorry to hear about all the hospital bills, my son is racking up court costs. Most recently in Lubbock Tx for solicitaion. Who pays those bills? Not only this he has been jumped out on the street by drunks and had the cops called on him several times. I guess I just can't fathom how a company can run like this and be legitimate. This is a picture of my son if you see him, don't think he is a bad kid he got sucked in this just like everybody else with all the hype of travel and money. I love my son and would do anything to get him home safe.

    1 Votes
  • Mi
    mias mom Dec 02, 2010

    I ordered a mag subscription for the school where I teach and of course it never arrived. Sounds like the same story many others have reported. Josh Smith said he was raising money to play soccer in Europe. Never again!

    0 Votes
  • Fo
    foxyv2005 Jan 17, 2011

    Wow I just recently bought a magazine subscription from a kid selling from this company back in November 2010. I recently moved and looked them online to do a change of address. Only then did I see all this stuff on it all being a scam. Thank god I only gave them 36 dollars but dang it man what a disappointment. Now if I never see these magazines atleast I know why. That's really f'ed up that they would use kids to do their dirty work.

    0 Votes
  • Ne
    nealj38 Mar 19, 2011

    i would like to cancel my subsrition because i dont need it

    0 Votes
  • Ad
    adam gabbs 6557 May 18, 2011

    HUGE scam. My local police agency actually arrested my salesman

    0 Votes
  • Sh
    sherilee Jun 09, 2011

    I'm stopping payment on my check right away. I don't know why I let that fast talking person in my home. I always check things out better. Please stop this kind of senior citizen abuse.

    0 Votes
  • Fr
    Freestyler Jul 06, 2011

    Here I am thinking I did something good for these kids who were older than me, im only 18 I paid them my graduation money to give them enough "points to go to Italy". I just did it today, and right after they left, I checked the USCC to see it was a scam, looked outside and they were long gone. Chris C. Rocks was his name, and I don't remember the other kids name. I even had them send a subscription of disney magazine to the local children hospital. All I can do is hope this wasn't a fraud yet after reading these comments, im believing it was. I hope they needed the money so I don't feel as bad.

    It makes sense tho, after finding out about this fraud. One of the kids did not seem like he wanted to be here. Super nice kid but opted not to come in my house. I could see him being forced to do this as some of you say they are.

    July 5th, 2011

    0 Votes
  • Br
    brandon 024 Sep 15, 2011

    I just got back from this crew, we were in Barstow, CA when I left. I had to lie and tell them my "brother" (who doesn't exist) totalled his car and was in ICU just to get a ride to the airport where I got on a plane that I had to pay for. Over the week and a half I spent there I could tell that it was nothing but a scam, and heard stories of what they did to the people that wanted out. Not only are the people running this dangerous, but they would drop us off in some of the worst neighborhoods they could find. Two people had guns pulled on them in one day while we were there, I almost got jumped by four black guys but somehow managed to avoid any physical contact. I went with five friends from my town, one of them female, two of them are home, the girl is on her way back as I type this, and I have no idea about the other two because they can't afford to keep their cell phones on and I can't get ahold of them. Hopefully they realize what's going on make it back safe. All this crew is about is drinking, smoking weed, and fighting. They definitely don't give the agents their cut of the money because I would bring back a couple hundred dollars and only get $40 or $50, if I was lucky. They encourage you to lie to "Jonses", making them believe we're college students working for points. I wouldn't say I regret going because I did have fun, starting in Las Vegas and then California, but I'm glad I got out when I did. I only wish I had researched them before I went, because I would never have gone knowing what I know now. Thanks to everyone for the helpful information, and to the people defending these ###, you know damn well what's going on, and you're probably the people running the show. Josiah and Terry, supposedly husband and wife are their names, and as for their character, they're they kind of people that will walk all over someone who is down on their luck already just to make a buck.

    0 Votes

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