A California man has been sentenced to 16 years in federal prison for his part in what prosecutors believe is the largest mortgage modification scam in history, defrauding victims out of $31 million. [More]
It’s not against the law to tell people they might be able to save money by slapping some solar panels on their roofs. What is illegal is using millions of unauthorized calls to people on the Do Not Call list to sell those solar panels.
Imagine you’ve been a victim of that old “woke up in a bathtub with my kidney gone” urban legend. As you stumble out of the hotel in urgent need of medical care, you come across a helpful doctor who will tend to your wounds… only to wake up in another tub with another missing organ. Replace “unauthorized donation of precious, life-sustaining organs” with “telemarketing fraud” and you’ve got the basis for a scam that took in nearly $3 million from people who had already been the victims of fraud. [More]
Being in debt can be paralyzing, leaving some people with the feeling like they’ll never climb their way out of the hole. So when a company promises it can help ease that burden, it might some like a good idea to spend even more money in the hope that you’ll ultimately be pointed in the right financial direction. Federal regulators say one debt relief operation took in $67 million from customers in need of help, but most of that money just went to the firm’s fees while the customers’ debts continued to pile up. [More]
Whenever we tell readers that it’s important for them to file complaints when they receive illegal robocalls, some inevitably respond that they believe it’s pointless and nothing ever comes of their gripe. But today, the FCC announced a nearly $3 million fine against a robocalling telemarketer following complaints from consumers who took the time to speak up. [More]
While we wait for phone companies to get around to offering services that help consumers block unwanted prerecorded robocalls, there are already several options available for people to use now, but not all of them may be up to the task. [More]
PayPal’s new user agreement — the one that gives the company even more latitude to make obnoxious prerecorded marketing calls to “any telephone number that you have provided us or that we have otherwise obtained” — is set to kick in this week, but following an FCC warning that this policy might be in violation of federal law, and a letter from multiple senators asking PayPal to rethink its new terms, the company has agreed to make changes that “clear up any confusion.” [More]
You hate getting robocalls. The FCC knows you hate getting robocalls. And so today the Commission voted to move forward with a proposal that would allow consumers to block all those annoying calls and texts.
We recently took a look at how PayPal’s already questionable user agreement is about to get even more invasive, giving the company a broader range of ways to contact customers with robocalls and spam texts, and with no apparent way to opt out. Today, the FCC notified PayPal that it has some concerns that the revised agreement might run afoul of federal laws. [More]
You know what’s not awesome? Answering your phone only to be greeted by a prerecorded robocall telemarketing message. Even a decade after the establishment of the Do Not Call registry and rules banning certain types of robocalls, unwanted calls and messages still top the list of complaints to the FCC each year. Today, FCC Chair Tom Wheeler proposed closing some additional loopholes in order to cut down on these annoying intrusions. [More]
Two years ago, the Federal Trade Commission shut down a Brooklyn-based telemarketing scheme that bullied elderly consumers into paying for a medical alert service they never ordered or wanted. Now a federal court has hit the telemarketer’s repeat-offender operator with a $3.4 million penalty. [More]
We’ve said it too many times to count at this point, but scammers who take advantage of senior citizens are the worst. Today, the Federal Trade Commission made sure there was one less scammer out there by permanently barring the mastermind behind a multi-million dollar fraud from all future telemarketing activities. [More]
Even though millions of Americans are on the federal Do Not Call list to limit unwanted telemarketing calls, and even though it’s illegal for anyone to make a commercial prerecorded robocall to a consumer who hasn’t given their express consent to receive such calls, the problem persists and is getting worse, with no cure-all solution in the offing. [More]
While people at various points on the political spectrum may disagree about many topics, one sentiment many of them share is a distaste for prerecorded phone calls from political organizations. Like them or not, they’re generally legal even if the recipient is on the federal Do Not Call list. But when you use a supposedly political telemarketing call to ultimately shill for a cruise line, you’ve crossed over into the dark side. [More]
While federal regulations and the Do Not Call list have significantly cut down on some auto-dialed, prerecorded messages, the problem of illegal robocalls still persists, mostly because scammers don’t care if they break the law. There are various technologies that phone companies could use to preempt even more of these calls but most consumers don’t have access to them. [More]
Usually a telemarketer’s call is greeted with annoyance, disdain or even outright anger. But in one recent case, that unsolicited phone call has been credited with saving a woman’s life, from 900 miles away.