A robocalling operation "that has been bombarding consumers since 2011" with hollow offers of credit card interest rate reductions was shut down by court order after an investigation by Florida and federal officials, the Federal Trade Commission said on Monday.
The Florida-based outfit that placed the calls posed as being from "credit card services" and "card member services," the FTC said, charging victims as much as $4,999. Court documents show "tens of thousands" of complaints were filed about the alleged scam.
"These scammers were making illegal robocalls to people nationwide, some of whom were seniors on fixed incomes. Too often the services promised were never provided, and consumers faced even more credit card debt through charges made without their consent," Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said in a statement.
The company, Payless Solutions, made the pitch that by paying for its program, consumers could save a lot of money on credit card interest and pay their debts quicker. The company typically charged between $300 and $3,499. Sometimes, the FTC said, consumers were charged without requesting the service.
Instead of getting any financial benefit or reduction in interest rates, the FTC said some consumers were sent financial education information, while others found that the company applied for new credit cards in their name with the idea of qualifying for introductory rates. The new lines of credit were applied for without the consumers' knowledge, the FTC said.
Payless was accused of violating federal telemarketing laws including calling people whose numbers were on the Do Not Call Registry as well as allegedly committing a variety of violations of consumer protection laws.
Defendants include All Us Marketing (formerly Payless Solutions), Global Marketing Enterprises, (formerly Pay Less Solutions), Global One Financial Services, Your #1 Savings, Ovadaa, Royal Holdings Of America and seven individuals.
Consumers who get unsolicited robocalls are urged to simply hang up.