Sometimes bad things come in twos. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently uncovered a new scam that targets senior citizens who were previous victims of money-making schemes, such as bogus timeshare investments. So-called asset recovery companies are contacting victims, promising to recover their lost funds — for a fee — and then disappearing.

The asset recovery companies often claim they have unique experience in helping fraud victims, the CFPB says, and charge several hundred to thousands of dollars. But once the consumer pays the fee, the company fails to perform the promised services.

They may, however, perform “services” that are useless to the consumer — things the consumer can do himself for free. For example, the company may submit a complaint to an agency, such as the CFPB, that does not charge anything to process a complaint. Or if the consumer used a credit card to pay the first scammer, the asset recovery company may dispute that charge with the credit card company.

Related: Three Popular Scams Against Seniors to Beware

The CFPB says consumers should watch for these three warning signs of an asset recovery scams:

A request for upfront payment. Don’t pay for any part of a service that hasn’t been performed. You can refuse the service and verify the organization before deciding to work with it.

Claims of insider information. Anyone can submit, for free, a complaint to a federal agency. Private companies do not have special access.

Requests for secrecy. No one should discourage you from seeking information or advice from family or friends before making a financial decision.

If you think you’ve been the victim of fraud, alert your bank and credit card companies immediately, the CFPB advises. Tell the bank not to allow future withdrawals by or charges to the scammer. If you paid for a service that wasn’t provided, dispute the charge with your financial institution. Also, report it to your local law enforcement office, and submit a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission.

Related: How to Avoid a Reverse-Mortgage Scam

The CFPB, which was created in 2011, takes on issues such as elder financial abuse, retirement investment scams and aggressive debt collection. Their mission is to educate the public, enforce laws that protect consumers and monitor financial markets for new risks. The bureau’s Office of Older Americans is the first federal body with a focus of safeguarding the financial interests of that age group, according to AARP.

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Angela is a Pulitzer Prize-winning digital editor with more than 15 years of experience delivering news and information to audiences worldwide. Prior to joining SafeBee, she was the features editor for Boston.com at The Boston Globe, overseeing health, travel, entertainment, business and lifestyle coverage. Before moving to features, she was the news and homepage editor, covering stories such as the Boston Marathon bombing, Red Sox World Series victories, presidential elections, a papal inauguration, and more. Her favorite safety tip: Clean your phone! The average cell phone has 18 times more germs than the toilet handle in a men’s restroom.