Teaming up with the Florida Attorney General, the Federal Trade Commission filed suit against a group of defendants that allegedly engaged in "massive" robocall campaigns targeting seniors.
Claiming to be from "credit card services" or "card member services," the defendants offered to help call recipients reduce their credit card interest rates to 0 percent with savings of at least $2,500 in a short period of time. But according to the complaint, the defendants charged between $300 and $3,499 in up-front fees for their services, sometimes without consent, and then failed to provide the promised rate reductions or savings.
Telemarketers—who also identified themselves as representatives from the call recipients' banks or credit card companies—persuaded consumers to provide their Social Security numbers and credit card information and would charge their cards immediately after the call was complete, the FTC and Florida AG's Office said.
Some consumers received a package of financial education information. In other instances the defendants used consumer information to apply for new credit cards, the FTC and Florida AG Pam Bondi said. The Orlando-based defendants (All US Marketing, Global Marketing Enterprises, Global One Financial Services, Your #1 Savings, Ovadaa, and Royal Holdings of America, as well as related individuals, all doing business as Payless Solutions) had been making "thousands" of calls nationwide since 2011, the regulators alleged.
The Florida federal court complaint alleged violations of the Do Not Call Registry, the Telemarketing Sales Rule, Florida's Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Act, and Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act.
A federal court judge issued a temporary restraining order freezing the defendants' assets and appointing a receiver for the business.
To read the complaint and the court's TRO in FTC v. All US Marketing, click here.
Why it matters: This case is part of the FTC's ongoing enforcement activity against telemarketing schemes targeting vulnerable populations. Both Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, and Florida AG Pam Bondi noted the defendants targeted an elderly population, some of whom were on fixed incomes.