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FTC shuts down scammers who pretended to be from agency

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  • suesarkis@aol.com
    FTC shuts down scammers who pretended to be from agency By Jenna Greene The National Law Journal December 4, 2012 In a scheme that
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 5, 2012
      FTC shuts down scammers who pretended to be from agency
      By Jenna Greene The National Law Journal December
      4, 2012

      In a scheme that can only be described as asking for trouble, scammers who
      pretended to be from the Federal Trade Commission allegedly tricked
      consumers into revealing their bank account information.

      Suffice to say the FTC didn't take the imposter lightly, swiftly winning a
      temporary restraining order shutting the entity down, preserving its
      records and expediting discovery.

      "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," said FTC Consumer Protection Bureau
      chief David Vladeck in a news release. "The real Federal Trade Commission will
      come after you."

      The case against The Cuban Exchange Inc. was the agency's 100th enforcing
      provisions of the Do-Not-Call registry – and this time, it was personal.

      Based in Brooklyn, the company also known as CrediSure America and
      MyiPad.us allegedly placed illegal pre-recorded calls in violation of the FTC's
      Telemarking Sales Rule. The company "spoofed" its caller ID to match the
      FTC's toll-free consumer response phone number of 877-382-4357 or 877-FTC-HELP.

      The recorded message instructed consumers to visit the website
      ftcrefund.com (or the identical website credisure.net) and give a "seizure number" of

      The website claimed that the company could "expedite refunds you may not
      even know were owed to you" by the FTC – money supposedly derived from agency
      actions shutting down illegal telemarketing firms.

      Rather than waiting "the usual 8 to 10 weeks" for the unexpected check to
      arrive, the company said it could secure refunds in 5 to 7 days. Consumers
      were directed to enter the seizure number (everyone got the same number,
      according to the FTC) and a treasure trove of personal information including
      bank account numbers. The company claimed to have helped more than 13,000
      people obtain refunds, and said it would take a 5.5 percent fee for
      expediting the process.

      "Defendants' claims are false. They cannot expedite consumer redress from
      the FTC, nor can they receive or process refunds on behalf of consumers.
      Defendants simply place illegal robocalls and then attempt to dupe consumers
      into providing sensitive personal and banking information," the FTC stated
      in its complaint filed on November 28 in U.S. District Court for the
      Eastern District of New York.

      Still, it was not exactly a slick operation. The error-filled website
      stated, for example, that "only those who are contacted are elijible" and "We
      apologies for any invonvience."

      According to court papers, the agency first became aware of the website on
      November 16.

      On November 30, Judge Roslynn Mauskopt issued a temporary restraining
      order forbidding the company from making deceptive calls and shutting down its
      website, writing that "There is good cause to believe that Defendants have
      engaged in and are likely to engage in acts or practices that violate
      Section 5(a) of the FTC Act…and the FTC's Trade Regulation Rule entitled
      'Telemarketing Sales Rule'…and that the FTC is therefore likely to prevail on the
      merits of this action."

      The company and its founder Suhayle e Rivera have yet to respond to the
      court proceedings.


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