International Robocall Operation Shut Down

  
     
November 30, 2010

November 18, 2010 -- With the assistance of the BBB, the FTC announced this week that an Illinois Court issued a temporary restraining order with an asset freeze, of the operations of an international robocall ring that allegedly conned consumers with false promises, that it would reduce their credit card interest rates, but provided little or nothing in return. 

Better Business Bureaus across the country, including Delaware, provided valuable information regarding consumers that were victims of this practice. BBB of Delaware President, Christine Sauers, said “It is our strong commitment to work with law enforcement that ultimately helps protect consumers and puts an end to unethical and potentially illegal practices. In Delaware, we received numerous unanswered complaints against this company and feel that this action will help guard against future individual losses.”

From the FTC Release http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2010/11/aflfinancial.shtm

“At the request of the Federal Trade Commission, a federal district court in Chicagohas shut down an international robocall ring that allegedly conned consumers out of $995 each with false promises that it would reduce their credit card interest rates, but provided little or nothing in return.

As part of its crackdown on frauds that seek to take advantage ofconsumers hurt by the recent economic downturn, the FTC charged that the robocall ring made bogus promises that it would provide refunds to consumers if they did not save at least $2,500. When consumers called to complain, however,the robocallers simply disappeared, the FTC charged. The FTC alleges that this company has defrauded nearly 13,000 consumers out of almost $13 million from this scheme.

The agency has brought several other cases in the past year against the marketers of worthless credit card interest rate reductionservices.

According to the FTC, since at least 2007, the defendants allegedly used at least 10 different company names, including AFL Financial Services, when pitching the service. The defendants, who are in Toronto, Canada, and the Rochester, New York, area, operated two telemarketing boiler rooms in Orlando, Florida.They employed illegal robocalls to contact consumers, and then claimed that for $995 they would substantially reduce credit card interest rates and enable consumers to get out of debt three to five times faster. They also falsely suggested that the savings from the lower interest rates would pay for theservice. In reality, the defendants failed to lower consumers’ interest rates, and consumers did not save the $2,500 promised by the defendants or receive refunds, the FTC alleges.

The FTC complaint charges that the misrepresentations violated the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule and the FTC Act. It also charges that the defendants called consumers whose numbers are on the National Do Not Call Registry and made illegal robocalls.” 

NOTE: The Commission issues a complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated, and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The issuance of a complaint is not a finding or ruling that the defendants have violated the law. The case will be decided by a court.