The Arizona-based defendants behind an alleged fraudulent credit card interest rate reduction scam will be permanently barred from the telemarketing business, and must turn over all of their remaining funds, in order to settle Federal Trade Commission charges.
As part of the FTC settlement, the defendants behind National Card Monitor LLC are banned from all telemarketing, and from marketing or selling “credit related products or services.” The settlement order also bars the defendants from making any misrepresentations in the marketing or sale of financial products, including debt relief services.
According to the FTC, starting in early 2011, National Card Monitor cold-called consumers nationwide and falsely claimed it could get one or more low-rate credit cards for consumers, onto which they could then transfer their current balances. During the call, National’s telemarketers requested an advance fee of between $499 and $599 from consumers, assuring them that they would get a full refund if they did not get a new card.
The FTC contends National Card Monitor was not registered with the National Do Not Call Registry, never paid to access the Registry, and typically called consumers whose numbers were on the Registry.
In addition to the telemarketing ban, the order bars the defendants from misrepresenting any material fact about any product or service, and imposes a judgment of $2,329,409, which represents the amount of consumer harm they caused. The judgment will be suspended upon the payment of all frozen funds remaining after payment of final receivership expenses. The full judgment will come due if the defendants are found to have misrepresented their financial situation.
The Commission vote approving the stipulated final order was 4-0. It was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona where the complaint naming National Card Monitor LLC, also doing business as Nationwide Card Monitor, and James Eric Cox was filed. The judge signed the order on July 15, 2013.
The FTC would like to thank the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; the Mesa, Arizona, Police Department; the Arizona Attorney General’s Office; and the Better Business Bureaus of Central, Northern, and Western Arizona for their help in bringing this case.
Information for Consumers
- The FTC has information for consumers on advance-fee schemes. One consumer alert provides information on how consumers can identify and protect themselves from such fraud, and a second explains what consumers should do if they get prerecorded telemarketing calls pitching advance-fee products
- To report violations of the National Do Not Call Registry or to register your phone number, visit DoNotCall.gov or call 1-888-382-1222.
The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, 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. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.
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