How to get the FTC's attention: Illegally robocall consumers while spoofing the agency's consumer hotline number

By , Network World |  IT Management, FTC

The FTC noted that this case marks the 100th brought by the FTC over the past nine years alleging violations related to the national DNC Registry, which was launched in 2003.

Robocallers have been at the top of the FTC's hit list of late. Just last month the agency pulled the plug on five mass calling companies it said were allegedly responsible for millions of illegal pre-recorded calls from "Rachel" and others from "Cardholder Services."

At the time the FTC said it gets more than 200,000 complaints each month about telemarketing robocalls, including calls from "Rachel" that pitch consumers with a supposedly easy way to save money by reducing their credit card interest rates. After collecting an up-front fee, however, the FTC believes that the companies do little if anything to fulfill their promises.

"At the FTC, Rachel from Cardholder Services is public enemy No. 1," said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz.

The five complaints were made against the following companies: 1) Treasure Your Success, 2) Ambrosia Web Design, 3) A+ Financial Center, LLC, 4) The Green Savers, and 5) Key One Solutions, LLC. Each complaint alleges, among other things, that the defendants violated the FTC Act by misrepresenting that consumers who buy their services will have their credit card interest rates reduced.

In the case, the FTC alleges that the defendants place automated calls to consumers, saying they have an "important message" regarding an opportunity to reduce high credit card interest rates. Consumers are urged to "press 1" to connect with a live representative, or "press 2" to discontinue getting such calls. Consumers who press 1 are connected to live telemarketers. Most consumers have no way to screen the calls using Caller ID, as the incoming number allegedly is often "spoofed," or displayed as a false number. In many cases, the name displayed on the Caller ID is so generic, such as "Card Services," that it provides little information about who is calling, the FTC stated.

According to the FTC, consumers who reach a live telemarketer are then pitched allegedly deceptive offers to have their credit card interest rates substantially reduced, sometimes to as low as 6.9 or even zero percent. The telemarketers allegedly guarantee that lowering card interest rates will save the consumers thousands of dollars in finance charges in a short period of time and will allow them to pay off the balances more quickly. Some telemarketers allegedly claim that consumers will save at least $2,500 in finance charges and will be able to pay off their balances two to three times faster, without increasing their monthly payments.


Originally published on Network World |  Click here to read the original story.
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