FTC sues, freezes assets of interest-rate-reduction-scam telemarketers

FTC sues scam telemarketersThe Federal Trade Commission continues to crack down on deceptive telemarketing calls. This time, a federal judge in Washington has frozen the assets of three companies that were making unauthorized calls to consumers claiming they would help to substantially lower the interest rates on their credit cards.

The FTC sued the companies, AMS, Rapid Reduction, PDMI and their owners for allegedly making prerecorded robo-calls to numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry. According to complaints, the messages from "Card Services" or "Financial Services," sounded urgent and told consumers they could "press one" to speak to a representative, leading many to believe they were from credit card companies.

Consumers who signed up for services were charged from $499 to $1,590 and promised their money back if consumers did not see at least a $2,500 savings in their interest rates, according to the FTC's complaint.

Mitchell Katz, a spokesperson for the FTC, said companies like these are harassing consumers. He explained that robo-calls are easy to make because callers can hide their identity on the Caller ID.

"All of that is illegal, but because it's so easy and so hard to track, I think it makes it appealing for scammers to get involved," Katz told Consumer Ally. "These people are not to be trusted."

The FTC has barred all pre-recorded telemarketing calls unless a consumer gives their written permission to receive them first. Robo-soliciting on cell phones is prohibited by the Federal Communications Commission.

In addition to freezing the companies' assets, the court appointed two receivers to take over the businesses. The principals of AMS Financial and Rapid Reduction are Ryan Bishop and Michael Rohlf of Spokane, Washington. William Fithian, of Colleyville, is listed as the principal of PDMI.

A call made to William Fithian was not returned.

Shae Pittman, communications coordinator for the Better Business Bureau in Fort Worth, TX. said her agency received 138 complaints about PDMI in the past 36 months.

She said the complaints were related to "deceptive sales practices, failure to refund and poor customer service."
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