It all started with an unsolicited phone call.
"Do you want to lower your credit card interest rates to 4%. Press 6 to continue."
O boy, I thought .. this outta be good as it has scam written all over it. Yep, I was right.
I pressed the number 6 and was transferred to on hold with NPR's 'All Things Considered' playing.
So when the rep got on the phone, he asked, "Are you holding for lower interest rates?"
"Do have credit cards with interest rates of 10% or higher?"
"Do you have a balance of 4k or higher on these cards?"
"Okay, so what I need to do is verify your card number and then we can get started. What is your 16 digit card number?"
OMG. I cannot believe the dude just asked me for my card number!?! So I ask, "Who are you with?"
"We represent all major VISA/MC credit card companies."
No freaking way, I'm thinking. So I ask, "What specifically is the name of the company that you represent?
Yeah, that is right. "Click" as in he hung up.
I was typing at the time with my cordless phone to my ear, so I did not immediately hang it up. Just as I was about to hang it up, the silence turned to a ring and some chick started talking, "Are you holding for lower interest rates?".
Huh? Okay, I will play this game ... biggrin.gif "Why, yes I am", I responded. Same question's and then a click. The kicker is, this time around, I hung out on the line just-to-see if I would be put back into the call rotation. Twas'nt long of a wait .. hehe. Ring. "Are you holding for lower interest rates?"
"Si. I am."
lol. Now it has turned into a game for me and I just wanted to see how many CSR I could piss off. So I did all of my best voice-overs. It was cool.
If you have made it this far into this post, here is what this is all about:
During one of the click-ring cycles when it started to ring and the same question started off, the dude kept talking out sync with what I was saying. Finally I figured out that my phone call was somehow piggy-backed onto another call in progress. They both could not hear me but I could only hear the CSR. There is no way that I could record the call, but I started writing stuff down.
This chick from Broadhead, WI handed, without hesitation to this unknown person the full 16 digit card number *and* expiration dates to this dude. OMG lady ... what are you doing?! The first card is a Cabela's VISA. The second one is a BOA MC. Expiration date on the BOA is 3/10. APR 10.97% Then he asks for the last four of her SS#. ACK! And she gave it!! She protested a bit *after* she handed out the information, but his response was that they a "Customer Retention Center for VISA/MC". Still no company name whatsoever.
Here is his "personal info" he gives out:
Name: Shawn Gardner (correct spelling of Shawn unknown, could be Sean)
Tel: 1-866-929-9736 x210
Agent ID: 520678443
Next, Shawn ask's the lady to flip the BOA card over and give him the 3 digit number on the back. AND SHE DOES!!! He puts her on hold to "verify the card" and when he comes back he tells her that she qualifies (small surprise there) and that he is going to transfer her to another department and places her on hold. Sorry, did not copy that department's name down.
Carmen Newman is the next person that starts talking. She tells this lady that she is a "Senior Account" something. Judging from the conversation that follows, it would seem that while this lady is on hold she is having second thoughts about what she is doing.
Let's take a break and REVIEW.
1. Up to this point she has handed complete credit card information for two credit cards over to a complete stranger. Including the last four of her Social Security number.
2. The only name that she has been given is the CSR's and that is not until after they have her on the hook with her credit card information. I suspect that she asked for a company name and was told they are "Customer Retention Center for VISA/MC".
Okay, review over. What follows are statements made by Carmen to this lady trying to answer whatever objections this lady is raising. Remember, I cannot hear her. I can only hear the CSR. Draw you own conclusions as to what was happening on the other end.
"We are a nation wide call center."
"age 70 and under."
"Owe at least 4k @10%."
"Once they lower the rates, they cannot raise."
"Lower the rates by law."
"Locked and fixed for the life of the account."
Then in amongst all of this yaking, the other shoe drops ... "there is a one time membership fee of $990.00 that we can charge to your BOA account."
That was the sound of this lady putting the brakes on this. However, Ms. Carmen Newman was not done with the hard sell. The famous let-me-put-you-on-hold-talk-so-I-can-talk-to-my-manager-to-see-what-I-can-do phrase was uttered. She, amazingly, came back with $695.00. And in amongst all of this there a bunch of talk about how if "your interest rates are lowered" she would be saving money, so really the $695.00 is money she would already be spending ... ect ect ect ect. She still was not buying into it.
So, Brittney Morgan gets on the phone and basically tells her how stupid she would be for not doing it. And Brittney remarked how astounded she was that the price was lowered to $695.00 because they just don't do that for everyone ...
gag-puke-gag. Whatever. Under the weight of the verbal abuse, this lady's resistance collapsed, and she relented. But it is not over. Oh no ...
She is placed on hold to be transferred to "Verification".
Mr. Robert Kenney answers the phone and informs the lady that he will be recording the phone call for a couple of minutes whilst he reads from a script. After the recording starts he *finally* discloses the name of the company: American Financial Leadership.
He reads back her mailing address and telephone number. By this time I was able to find it myself, but having him read it back helped to confirm I had the right girl. Next he says that AFL will try, I repeat, will try to lower her interest rate and will continue to do so for up to one year.
So now the scam is reviled. Previously, the sell was they could lower interest rates because they are "Customer Retention Center for VISA/MC" But really she is, in effect, hiring them to negotiate lower interest rates. And now all they are promising is that they will try for up to one year.
Can you say bait and switch?
Robert goes on to say that they are not affiliated with any bank and if they cannot guarantee a minimum of $2500.00 "savings" she is entitled to a full refund. Then he hands out company information:
Customer Service #: 1-888-482-9289
Confirmation #: 10584
Company Address: 2604 Elmwood Ave Suite 282 Rochester, NY 14618
Robert goes on to state that "paperwork" will be mailed out to her in 3-5 business days. There will be login information so she can access the company website and he concludes with the mother of all questions (remember, he is recording):
"Do we have your permission to bill $695.00 to your BOA credit card with an expiration of 03/2010 and a security ID of 946?"
And that, my friends, is the anatomy of how to steal $695.00 is less than 5 minutes. And it all started with an unsolicited phone call ...
I had the fly-on-wall advantage of being an unintentional participant and it is my personal opinion this company, American Financial Leadership, is EVIL and needs to be taken down. I know not how to even begin to do this and I am posting all of this information because I also know not who trolls these boards.
Since I have this lady's name, phone number and mailing address, thusly, I felt it my moral obligation to tell her she is potentially making a huge mistake and it is my opinion that she should try and get her money back immediately. I will not give it out any of her contact information, so do not ask me for it, period. However, if there seems to be a serious and concerted effort to bring legal action against this company, I will cooperate at my discretion and only in the role of a communicator.
And if ALL of this was not enough, I wondered what would happen when the call ended. If you guessed that I was put back into rotation, you guessed correctly!!
So now, I have a phone off the hook and the line is still showing as "in use" on my cordless. The cyclic ring-click has stopped for now, but I am trying to figure out how to get a line to my computer so I can record some of this tomorrow if it starts up again.
more later ...
Joined: 18-June 09
Member No.: 95,932
First off ?crayoxide??, your post edited on May 18 2009, 09:25 PM was wonderful!!
Some clarification is needed to address the true depth of the International Conspiracy by three Partners in crime who use various web site and companies to fleece 100 or so people a day.
"American Financial (IT'S AFL FINANCIAL SERVICES http://aflfinancial.com/contact.htm) Leadership, is EVIL " is an understatement. AFL Financial, AKA Elite, AKA First Choice AKA Dynamic premeditatedly and methodically has been ripping off Americans for years.
Customer Service #: 1-888-482-9289
Confirmation #: 10584
Company Address: 2604 Elmwood Ave Suite 282 Rochester, NY 14618
Richards, David firstname.lastname@example.org
First Choice Financial
1100 Queens Ave
Oakville, Ontario L6H 2B5
http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/0/397/RipOff0397459.htm.. Stay away from Direct Financial Savings, Program Director David D. Richards. its nothing but a scam.
Direct Financial Savings ,Direct Financial Savings - major credit card scam to reduce credit card interest (rates) COSTA MESA California
This is a Canadian Scam re-worked under new names. Here are the real names of the perpetrators.
Mr. David Donovan Richards, email@example.com,
Mr. Baird and Mrs. Jacky Fisher. firstname.lastname@example.org
David D. Richards contact info 905-487-8430h, 416-999-9696c, 647-430-1009o.
See FTC Complaint.
For Release: February 2, 2007
FTC Stops Credit Card Rate Reduction Scam
Canadian Operation Targeted American Consumers
At the request of the Federal Trade Commission, a federal court has stopped a Canadian telemarketer that targeted consumers throughout the U.S., falsely claiming it could reduce their credit card interest rates.
According to a complaint filed by the FTC, the defendants have sold credit card interest rate reduction services since December 2005, claiming affiliation with consumers? credit card companies. The complaint alleges that the defendants promise to effect credit card rates between 4.75 percent and 9 percent, thus saving consumers at least $2,500, and that if consumers do not save that amount their money will be refunded. The complaint also alleges that the defendants engaged in Caller ID spoofing, causing consumers? caller identification services to display telephone numbers that do not belong to the defendants, but rather to innocent victims whose telephone numbers are misappropriated.
For $675 plus $20 for shipping and handling, the complaint alleges, the defendants send consumers promotional materials with more promises to substantially reduce their interest rates, and a financial profile form? for consumers to complete and mail back. The form asks consumers to list the current balance, credit limit, interest rate, and suggested minimum payment for each of their credit card and other debts, as well as their social security number and other personal information.
After receiving the completed form, the defendants initiate three-way telephone calls with consumers and their credit card companies and ask the companies to lower the consumers credit card interest rates. The requests typically are denied, and that is often the extent of the defendants services. The complaint also alleges that the defendants do not honor their policy of giving refunds to consumers who do not experience the promised substantial savings.
The FTC charged the defendants with violating Section 5 of the FTC Act and the FTCs Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) by falsely representing that they are affiliated with consumers credit card companies, that consumers interest rates are likely to be reduced to rates between 4.75 percent and 9 percent, that consumers will save at least $2,500 in credit card interest charges, and that defendants will provide a refund to consumers who do not save at least $2,500 in credit card interest charges. The agency also charged them with violating the TSR by not sending to consumers caller identification services the telephone number, the defendants name, or the name of the defendants telemarketer.
On January 29, 2007, a federal judge issued an ex parte temporary restraining order prohibiting further violations by, and freezing the assets of, defendants Select Personnel Management Inc., based in Ontario, Canada, and doing business as Select Management Solutions, and its director, James Stewart. The Commission approved the filing of the complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois by a 5-0 vote. Search warrants have been issued in Canada.
The FTCs case was brought with major assistance from the Barrie Police Service Fraud Unit and the Ontario Provincial Police Anti-Rackets Section. Additional assistance was provided by the Toronto Strategic Partnership, which includes the FTC, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Canadas Competition Bureau, the Toronto Police Service Fraud Squad - Telemarketing Section, the Ontario Provincial Police Anti-Rackets Section, the Ontario Ministry of Government Services, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the United Kingdoms Office of Fair Trading. The FTC also received valuable assistance from the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois.
NOTE: The Commission files a complaint when it has ?reason to believe that the law has been or is being violated, and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The complaint is not a finding or ruling that the defendant has actually violated the law. The case will be decided by the court.
Copies of the complaint are available from the FTCs Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and from the FTCs Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information on 150 consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357), or use the complaint form at http://www.ftc.gov. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish (bilingual counselors are available to take complaints), or to get free information on any of available to thousands of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
Office of Public Affairs
William J. Hodor,
FTCs Midwest Region
(FTC File No. 062-3215)
If you have been a victim of this scam, you do NOT have to take it lying down.
As mentioned above first off call the 800 number on your Credit Card immediately and demand the card charge be "charged back" TODAY.
Jun 7 2009, 06:56 AM
Joined: 13-November 06
Member No.: 40,721
QUOTE (mn.chick @ Jun 7 2009, 02:44 AM)
I just fell for this... they have all my info. but their charge to my credit card is still pending... can I do anything to stop it and prevent them from using my info. in any other way?
Call your credit card company and initiate a chargeback, and report as lost/stolen any/all account numbers that you gave them over the phone. That's about all you can do.
Tell them the company offered you a service over the phone and has been identified as a Sham by the A.G. of W. Virginia who acted against one of the oldest and largest "sales/Boiler rooms" PDMI.
Tell them that you were promised a full refund on tape and you have the recording reference or confirmation number to substantiate your claim and that you were told that if the rate reduction services were not performed within 30 days or if the company was unable to meet the $2,500 minimum guarantee savings which were promised to you on that taped call for your protection they would provide you a full refund because its a Federal Law
Furthermore, indicate that when you contacted by the company on their illegal Robo-dialer sales effort, you told the company you were quite leery and the companys salesman told you that they would NOT charge your card until the services were rendered.
Lastly, when you called the company numerous times and left messages that the calls went unreturned and finally on the 113th attempt some woman answered and said the company would not provide a refund even though a full refund is promised on their bogus "Audio Receipt" aka Verification Call. This is a lot of ammo so use it sparingly and sound convincing as remnd the card services employee you talk to that this is not a dispute but a charge back NOW. If they refuse to do so, Escalte the call to a Supervisor, take notes of Names and ask for ID numbers UPFRONT so your call isnt dumped intentionally by the bank rep.
Regarding the issue of future card fraud risk and the like, its unlikely but always possible, Google TJ Maxx card security breach.
Closing the account as a Fraud Prevention measure is standard operating procedure by your bank. They are fully aware of these types of scams as they see them every day with the infamous $990.00 or $995.00 fee creating a "Hold or Block" which the companies clearly know how to get the consumer to authorize the banks to remove the security blocks.
Heres some interesting add ons. But Call the Feds. TRhe FTC needs hundreds of more complaints. Call your State A.G. office of Consumer Protection, online complaint forms are also handy. Make a DNC Complaint. Contact N.Y. A.G. as they operate out of Rochester too. Get active and call his phone have your fax call his phone get down and dirty. Just DO SOMETHING, apathy is the worst. Jam their phones so no one can get through and post and repost this everywhere.
Call and write your Congressman, Senator etc.. and express concern for Homeland Security as the International Wire Fraud & Identity Fraud exposure is obvious.
ATTORNEY GENERAL CUOMO ANNOUNCES NATIONWIDE INVESTIGATION INTO DEBT SETTLEMENT INDUSTRY
Subpoenas Fourteen Debt Settlement Companies and One Law Firm in Connection with Probe
Debt Settlement Companies Often Charge Huge Fees for Misleading Plans, Suggest Selling Blood Plasma to Raise Funds, and Leave Consumers in Worse Financial Shape
The Bureau of Consumer Frauds and Protection, part of the Economic Justice Division,prosecutes businesses and individuals engaged in fraudulent, misleading, deceptive or illegal trade practices. In addition to litigating, the Bureau mediates thousands of complaints each year from individual consumers. A large percentage of these complaints are resolved satisfactorily through the mediation process. As part of its mission, the Bureau provides information to consumers and seeks to ensure a fair and vigorous market place. The Bureau also drafts legislation and conducts studies and writes reports on emerging consumer problems and issues.
Consumer Helpline: 1-800-771-7755
For Release: 05/14/2009
FTC Files Suit to Stop Illegal Robocalls Pushing Vehicle Warranty Extensions
Companies Charged With Making Hundreds of Millions of Deceptive Calls to Consumers
The Federal Trade Commission is asking a federal court to shut down a telemarketing campaign that has been bombarding U.S. consumers with hundreds of millions of allegedly deceptive robocalls in an effort to sell them vehicle service contracts under the guise that they are extensions of original vehicle warranties.
In two related complaints filed in federal court, the Commission took action against both the promoter of the phony extended auto warranties, as well as the telemarketing company that it hired to carry out its illegal, deceptive campaign. In its complaints, the agency contends that the companies are operating a massive telemarketing scheme that uses random, pre-recorded phone calls to deceive consumers into thinking that their vehicles warranty is about to expire. Consumers who respond to the robocalls are pressured to purchase extended service contracts for their vehicles, which the telemarketers falsely portray as an extension of the manufacturers original warranty.
This is one of the most aggressive telemarketing schemes the FTC has ever encountered, said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz. Im not sure which is worse, the abusive telemarketing tactics of these companies, or the way they try to deceive people once they get them on the phone. Either way, we intend to shut them down.
According to papers the FTC filed with the court, the robocalls have prompted tens of thousands of complaints from consumers who are either on the Do Not Call Registry or asked not to be called. Five telephone numbers associated with the defendants have generated a total of 30,000 Do Not Call complaints. Consumers received the robocalls at home, work, and on their cell phones, sometimes several times in one day. Businesses, government offices and even 911 dispatchers also have been subjected to the calls.
Those who answer the pre-recorded calls hear a message telling them that their vehicle warranty is about to expire and that they should extend coverage before it is too late. They are told to press one to speak to a warranty specialist. The specialists then mislead consumers into believing that their company is affiliated with the dealer or manufacturer of the consumers vehicle. They try to sell consumers a service contract for between $2,000 and $3,000, which they falsely portray as an extension of the vehicles original warranty. The seller of extended auto warranties sued by the FTC allegedly took in more than $10 million on the sale of these deceptively marketed service contracts.
In their robocalls, the companies dial every phone number within a particular area code and prefix sequentially, without knowing anything about the vehicles of the consumers they call, or whether those consumers numbers are on the Do Not Call Registry, the FTC alleged. Consumers who asked that the calls be stopped often were met with abusive behavior or were simply hung up on, according to the papers filed with the court. Some of the defendants used offshore shell corporations to try to avoid scrutiny, and a top officer in the telemarketing company bragged to prospective clients that he could operate outside the law without any chance of being caught by the FTC, the papers stated. This defendant also claimed that he makes 1.8 million dials per day and that he had done more than $40 million worth of dialing for extended warranty companies, including one billion dials on behalf of his largest client, according to the court papers filed by the FTC.
In addition to the robocalls, the FTC charged that the company selling the warranties mails out deceptive postcards to consumers, warning them about the imminent expiration of their auto warranties. The postcards are designed to mislead consumers into believing that they are being contacted by their dealer or manufacturer, and the postcards offer consumers the chance to renew their original warranties.
The complaints charge that the defendants deceptive practices violate the FTC Act, and that the defendants also have violated the FTCs Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) by calling consumers whose numbers were on the National Do Not Call Registry. The complaints further charge that the defendants violate the TSR by calling consumers who previously had asked not to be called; by concealing their phone numbers so they would not show up on caller ID, a practice known as spoofing; by failing to identify themselves to the consumers they called; and by failing to disclose that the call was a sales pitch.
The FTC is asking the court for Temporary Restraining Orders that would halt the illegal practices while the cases proceed, impose an asset freeze on all the defendants, and put two of the corporate defendants under the control of court-appointed receivers. The agency also is seeking a permanent injunction that would force the defendants to give up their ill-gotten gains so they can be used for consumer redress.
The complaints were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on May 14, 2009. The complaint against the robocaller names as defendants a Florida-based company called Voice Touch Inc., and two of its principals, James and Maureen Dunne. It also names an Illinois-based company affiliated with Voice Touch called Network Foundations, LLC and a principal in that company, Damian Kohlfeld. The second complaint names a Florida-based company called Transcontinental Warranty Inc., which sells extended auto warranties, and the companys president and CEO, Christopher D. Cowart.
The Commission would like to acknowledge the extraordinary cooperation that telecommunications carriers AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless provided in the investigation of the case. The Commission also greatly appreciates the help of several state attorneys general.
The Commission votes authorizing the staff to file the complaints were 4-0.
NOTE: The Commission files a complaint when it has ?reason to believe?? that the law has been or is being violated, and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. A complaint is not a finding or ruling that the defendants have actually violated the law.
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 FTCs 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 1,500 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTCs Web site provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.
Office of Public Affairs
Steve Baker or Todd Kossow,
FTC Midwest Region
(FTC File Nos. 082-3263, 092-3110)
King James Bible
Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.
Oakville, Ontario, Ontario