Consumer scams need four things to survive: food, water, air – and access to the credit card system. Credit card networks build protections into the system to engage lawful businesses while keeping an eye out for fraud. When people use tactics to try to work around those protections, law enforcers take notice.
Blog Posts Tagged with Telemarketing
They say “Nobody likes a complainer,” but don’t you believe it. For years, the FTC has encouraged consumers to speak up about questionable practices. We use those complaints in lots of different ways – for example, to spot emerging forms of fraud, to help set FTC priorities, and to bring law enforcement actions. Today we’re announcing a significant expansion in how we use complaint data in the ongoing fight against what some people view as Consumer Enemy #1.
It typically started with a schmoozy call to an unsuspecting small business or nonprofit. Sometimes the caller claimed to be “confirming” an existing order, “verifying” an address, or offering a “free” catalog or sample. Then came the supplies surprise – unordered merchandise arriving at the company’s doorstep followed by high-pressure demands to pay up.
It’s a record-setting win for America’s consumers and a resounding affirmation that the Do Not Call Registry means DO NOT CALL. Eight years of tenacious litigation by the Department of Justice, the FTC, and the Attorneys General of California, Illinois, North Carolina, and Ohio has resulted in a $280 million civil penalty against Colorado-based satellite TV provider Dish Network.
Does the thought of losing everything on your computer leave you queasy?
Here’s the thing about robots. Whether it’s Astro Boy, C-3PO, Optimus Prime, or Major Motoko Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell, variations on the technology are often out there. The same could be said for robots’ less popular cousins, robocalls. A recent opinion from a United States District Court discusses the FTC’s Robocall Rule and serves as a reminder for telemarketers to mark May 19, 2017, on their calendars.
As any golfer will tell you, consistent follow-through is essential. And when the FTC files a lawsuit to protect consumers, the agency is in it for 18 holes – and a play-off, if necessary. Filed as part of Operation TELE-PHONEY, a nationwide crackdown on deceptive telemarketing, the FTC sued Publishers Business Services in 2008.
There was a twisted kind of accuracy in one of the company names used by a Phoenix-based outfit that peddled business opportunities. It was called “Building Money” and build it they did. The problem was that they built it for themselves – and not for the older consumers, military veterans, and folks on fixed incomes the FTC says they bilked out of millions of dollars.
Today kicks off National Consumer Protection Week, but what the FTC does to protect consumers is only part of the story. We also work hard to help small business get down to business. Here are just a few examples of what we’re doing to protect your business from deceptive practices.
Americans are among the most generous people in the world, contributing more than $373 billion to charity in 2015, according to The Giving Institute. Not only are Americans giving more to charity, but evolving marketing practices and new technologies have introduced different ways for organizations to accept donations and new challenges for consumer protection law enforcement and education.
Imagine a series of promotions that involve pain relief promises, cognition claims, endorsements, 30-minute radio ads, “risk-free” money-back guarantees, “free” trial offers, negative options, telemarketing, and upsells of buying club memberships. What could possibly go wrong for consumers?
Where would you like to start?
Here are some truths about Grants.
Ulysses was the 18th president.
Cary was a suave star of the silver screen.
Former NBA great Horace wore the coolest goggles in the game.
The FTC told companies last fall about impending prohibitions under the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) on certain payment methods that legitimate telemarketing businesses don’t use, but con artists have been known to exploit: remotely-created checks, remotely-created payment orders, cash-to-cash transfers, and cash reload mechanisms.
Appearing as Inspector Harry Callahan, Clint Eastwood added a famous phrase to the lexicon. As a suspect pondered his next move, Callahan invited him to consider the consequences of his actions: “You’ve got to ask yourself this question: Do I feel lucky?
Whether it’s mowing that extra patch of grass or alerting each other to an iffy-looking lurker, there’s a sense of security when next-door neighbors enjoy a cooperative relationship. The same holds true for international neighbors, as a new Memorandum of Understanding between the FTC and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) demonstrates.
Of course, robocalls are a major annoyance for consumers. But anyone who works from home knows how illegal robocalls can cut into productivity, too. An FTC settlement with an outfit doing business as USA Vacation Station offers insights into the economics of robocalling and how the FTC’s concerns dovetail ongoing issues involving lead generation.
On TV, they’re called crossover episodes – where fictional characters from different shows appear on the same program. A case just filed by the FTC against KFJ Marketing and related parties brings together two aspects of FTC law enforcement – illegal robocalls and questionable lead generation practices – “co-starring” in the same production.
Remember the scene in the movie “Bull Durham” where veteran Crash Davis is prepping rookie Nuke LaLoosh for a TV interview and schools him on clichés about teamwork? “I’m just happy to be here. Hope I can help.” They don’t just apply to baseball. Most enterprises rely on help from others on the team. Unfortunately for consumers, that includes questionable outfits that need another company’s help to accept credit cards.
You’ve got lots of needs as a business owner – among them, supplies you rely on from square-dealing vendors. But what if the vendor misleads your staff about the price or quantity of those supplies, hits you with a huge invoice you didn’t authorize, and then tries to pressure you into paying it? Those are just some of the sales tactics the FTC is challenging in recent law enforcement actions.
At the Federal Trade Commission, we’ve been very public about how we feel about privacy: we want consumers to enjoy the benefits of innovation in the marketplace, confident that their personal information – online and offline – is being handled responsibly.