Robocall operation shuttered for impersonating FTC to get consumer bank info
By Jay Keller
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York on Monday shut down a robocall operation that allegedly impersonated the FTC in an attempt to trick consumers into turning over their bank account information and other sensitive personal data.
The FTC filing charged that the operation run by The Cuban Exchange, Inc., also doing business as CrediSure America and MyiPad.us, and its principal, Suhaylee Rivera, deceptively claimed it could help consumers obtain refunds from the agency, in an effort to trick them into providing their personal information and bank account numbers.
The case is the 100th brought by the FTC over the past nine years alleging violations related to the national Do Not Call (DNC) Registry, which was launched in 2003. In addition to allegedly making illegal telemarketing robocalls, the defendants called consumers whose phone numbers are on the Registry.
The FTC charged that the defendants made illegal robocalls to consumers that played a prerecorded messaged telling them to visit the website ftcrefund.com, enter a phony “seizure ID number” and, when calling consumers, the defendants allegedly transmit the toll-free phone number for the FTC’s Consumer Response Center to consumers’ Caller ID devices, leading some to think the call is coming from the FTC.
“When the Federal Trade Commission returns money to consumers who have been ripped off, it doesn’t use robocalls, and it certainly doesn’t ask them to provide personal financial information,” said David Vladeck, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “To anyone hell-bent on breaking the law by making illegal robocalls, transmitting phony Caller ID information, or impersonating a federal agency, we have two words for you: Stop now. The realFederal Trade Commission will come after you.”
The FTC recently issued tips for consumers, as well as two new consumer education videos explaining robocalls and describing what consumers should do when they receive one.
The FTC mission is, according to the agency to work for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them.
For official information about the FTC’s refund process, consumers should visit Getting Your Money Back: Consumer Refunds.
Consumers wishing to file a complaint are urged to visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.