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FTC shuts down multi-million dollar phone scam

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What do you say to a group of thieves that steal more than $20 million from tens of thousands of older consumers? The FTC says, “Gotcha!”

The FTC filed a lawsuit in federal court to stop a multi-million dollar cross-border telemarketing operation led by Ari Tietolman. The FTC alleged that phone scammers in the U.S. and Canada pitched bogus fraud protection, legal protection, and pharmaceutical benefit services in a ruse to steal money from unsuspecting seniors. According to the FTC’s complaint, the scammers used scare tactics and outright lies to get consumers’ bank account information. Sometimes the scammers impersonated bankers or government officials and told consumers their accounts were at risk. The FTC alleges that, once the scammers had the bank information, they withdrew money from the victims’ accounts without their knowledge.

A federal judge granted the FTC’s request to halt the scam and freeze the defendants’ assets pending the outcome of the FTC’s lawsuit.

Telemarketing scammers are good at what they do, but you can take action to counter them and help others from becoming a victim:

  • Recognize the signs of telemarketing fraud, like callers who ask for money first or who want to know your bank account, credit card or Social Security number. Share the warning signs with family, friends, and co-workers.
  • Report the calls to the FTC. Complaints matter at the FTC; they help drive agency investigations and cases just like the one against First Consumers.
  • Sign up for the National Do Not Call Registry. You can register online or call toll-free 1-888-382-1222 from the number you wish to register. You’ll get fewer telemarketing calls within 31 days of registering your number.
  • Subscribe to our blog for consumer news and scam alerts, and share the information.


Sign up for the National Do Not Call Registry. You can register online or call toll-free 1-888-382-1222 from the number you wish to register. You’ll get fewer telemarketing calls within 31 days of registering your number..IS NO LONGER EFFECTIVE. I VERIFIED MINE IS STILL ACTIVE, BUT USELESS AGAINST ROBO-CALLS. MY VERIZON WILL NOT ACT AGAINST "MULTI-DIAL" CALLERS

Nice going F.T.C. !!!

.., Btw, Up 'til recently, I had'nt been bothered by these scum-calls.., but, last week I received a couple calls from "000-000-0000".., and, just today, I received 3 calls from "732-195-4384"..(??!!). I don't answer uninvited #'s. It sux having to share this beautiful world with bottomfeeders..More power to ya F.T.C. ...(!!)

The Do NOT Call List doesn't stop junk calls! Just give me a way to contact you and I will supply you with dozens of numbers who have called me in violation of the law. The latest come from people who want me to change my power supplier.

I continue to get calls from Jamica, saying I have won money, and asking me to send money in order to get my winnings. Here are a few of the tele#


The same scam artists call over and over again, both my home and cell phones. Both have been on the national Do Not Call list since it was introduced several years back. Why don't we have a law which prohibits robo calls? That would go a long way towards shutting down these thieves.

I have signed up for the do not call list every year. It had always worked for me, until 2013, then all the electronics in my house went crazy, especially my cell phone and my computer. I had money taken from my bank account and credit cards. I received calls from people claiming to be a collection agency. I told them I had nothing in collections, and I would not give info like that on the phone... the girl yelled at me and told me they would just come to my house and take the money from me.I hope shutting down the phone scam takes care of this problem for all people.

Good Job FTC! This reassures my faith in you, somewhat.

So is the FTC going to contact the people who assisted in this arrest with all the information provided to them?
What about that persons identity and accounts ? What about irreversible damage ? The complete emotional breakdown of being violated ? Is the FTC going to find damages for that person who never gave up hope & kept informing you?

what I do to get the people off my cell phone and home phone,I'm on do not call list both phone,but they still call, please help

I gave up my land line, went with a phone for my home, though Verizon it is called home connect. It is only 22.99 a month all the call you want to make including out of country calls. I purchased a Panasonic phone with the featured block called in it this way you don't get charged for the service, because of the service through Verizon. I have had this service 4 years now and just love it. I save a bundle of money. Oh, yea you can take this phone anywhere you go on vacations, motels, etc. I use an inverter in my car for regular electricity to plug it into. I thank Wal-Mart has one, I saw advertised, but I am not sure of the name. I also register the phone through the no call, and they finally stopped. Good Luck

I know that some telemarketers are terrible at their job and probably hate what they do. But there are MANY like me. I have done telemarketing for 18years and I am very good at it. I feel your pain with the DNC list. I don't want to call you if you don't want me to. HERE IS A TIP: telemarketers are humans, but when some people believe one phone call ruined their meal, day, morning… and so on, and start talking down to me! No I will not remove you from my list, I will mark you as an answering machine so my dial has someone else call you soon. If I am treated with respect then I reciprocate. I am never rude I simply hang up. This is why people wonder "why won't they take me off the list?" Try having a conversation instead of trying to tell another human what to do. What I'm saying is show some humanity and it will come back to you tenfold!

You're biggest scum to even have the audacity asking for us to talk to you nicely... Nobody has asked or gave you the permission to call ANYONE at ANYTIME with whatever scap you're trying to sell. If I need something I go out and find it myself. Thank god for the smartphones now that we can block every single blocked, and non-blocked number at will and never have to deal with this waste of time ever again. Hope that all the tele-scammers out there are looking for regular decent jobs like most of us have. Peace out!!

countless times, telemarketer, and I still get multiple telemarketing calls a day. Now I just pretend I'm senile and going to get my credit card and waste as much of your time as possible.

To THE_telemarketer
I would NOT be respectful to you in any way. You should be ashamed of what you do. You wasted 18 years of your entire life. Show some humanity? Are you on drugs? You are so wrong on the part that telemarketers are human, NO you are not, I'm sure you laugh at every single negative post that these people have posted. Your Mom and Grandma would be so proud of you. SHAME ON YOU..

f u THE_telemarketer... get a real job and stop wasting our time. better yet give me your number so I can call you....

I have been looking for a job for about a year now. Most companies now require an online application. Most require a telephone number and email address. All job search sites require this info. I have to work so had to submit this contact info. I have not been contacted for a job ever, but receive about ten calls a day from telemarketers with indian accents and about fifty emails a day from scammers. I was polite to the first 500 of them, but each time I ask one to stop calling me, I get 2 more calls within the next 10 min. Mr. telemarketer; I am not sorry if I offend you because you are not sorry that you waste my phone minutes that I rely upon to look for work. You are to lazy to get a real job, and profit from working people who sweat, bleed, and hurt. You are pathetic and useless. If the workers of this country knew where you were, and where the corporate CEO who hired you was, you would both probably hang from a telephone cord. America was great at one time,but the greed, corruption, and manipulative methods of the wealthy corporate gods who rule us destroyed that greatness. Make a good product, put it on a shelf, and I will buy it. Lie to me, harrass me, and try to manipulate me instead, and I will try to bankrupt you and destroy you. Don't ask me to treat you with the dignity and respect that a human deserves, because you care nothing about humanity.

hahaha...telemarketer, I waste your time when you call...I pretend that I don't hear very well, make you say things two and three times. I had one guy on the line for nearly 15 minutes, until I started laughing and hung up on him. So, telemarketer, I am waiting for your call...and to waste your time. Oh, don't think I am wasting my time, I am working on my computer while I waste yours--and that is why I also need you to repeat. lol....

LOL- hey scum- when yo call me, I am the guy that carry's on a conversation with you. Every time you try and change the subject to what you want to sell me, I change it back to the weather or what you drive or how many kids you have etc etc etc LOL. I am the man who's says "oh, I answered my father's phone, please hold while I go get him" or " yes I want to place an order, hold on while I go get my credit card". I lay my phone down or put it in my pocket until about 1minute later I hear you saying "HELLO?- HELLO? HELLO SIR? HELLO?" LOL- it brings a smile to my face- thanks.

Great job FTC. Keep making those arrest.

Got a voice message from someone called Richard Jefferts purporting to be serving papers on behalf of a claimant at 1-866-579-5433. I did not call the number and the name of the party being served does not live at my address. Researching this exact same scam is well known and reported on the internet. I have reported this to the CT State Attorney General.

I was victim of fraud last year for two months and this people took me a lot of money.
Thank you so much.

ok, the scammers goal is making money, right? well, it seems to me that if you waste as much of their time as possible acting genuinely interested in their "product" or "offer", pretend to try to get them the info they want about you but feign forgetfulness or misplaced corrective lenses, then tell them you must go due to some made-up emergency, and ask em to call you back tomorrow, then do same thing to em again if they do call back, eventually they'll realize they cant get any $$ from you, and they'll move on...anyone ever tried that?

Thank goodness for caller ID, these creeps start early in the AM and call until late at night. Sue them for all they are worth to get it to stop! PLEASE!

If you get a call about you have won money and please send this much to claim your prize. Tell them to just take it out of what you have won and send the rest. They never know what to say to that and usually hang up I have not got a call about that in years. :)

I for such a call saying I had won $989,000,000+, all I needed to do was pay the taxes which was $9500. was told it was from Publishers Clearing house. Since I had sent things to PCH I was a sucker and sent the money in cash through Federal Express. there is more to this story but this will give you an idea of the scams out there.

The information says I can print a copy of my registration but all I get printed is the name and logo nothing more to verify the number I want blocked.
How do I solve this?

Someone called me identifying herself as a person who was investigating my grandson's wife on a fraud charge and wanted her phone number. In additon to my number, the lady also had the telephone numbers of several other relatives and also my grandson's wife's imployer number. My grandson's wife said this was a scam, but I don't know why anyone would go to such lenghs to scam someone of very meager means! Is there such a scam? Also, how do I go about removing my name from any telephone list to be called for such reasons?

This was more than likely someone doing a skip trace, they are trying to get information on this person because of money they owe for medical bills, credit card debt, etc.

These scammers will go to any lengths if they think there is a chance they will get money. They don't care who they scam.

I understand we have to allow certain robo calls, but I feel they all should be banned. I have tried to trace calls by reverse scan on the internet and come up with a city or cell or landline, but no more info. I get at least 20 calls a month and wish there was an easy way to trap them.

My scammers number is GADS1 404-891-5588. They will cal to ask for small fee to send up to 15,000 for home repairs, student loans, etc. sometimes they don't talk and hang up. They have said they're calling from Utah. Broken English. I have not reported them but will. I've also gotten 3 of the Nigerian lotto scams in different forms in the last month. Very thoughtful of that Emmanuel Fred and the queen of some African nation to think of me!

I am being harassed by repeated, random calls from someone whose phone number is always tagged with JM at the end. He calls at all hours--over 60 times thus far. Various phony offers and different names; always disguises his voice. It's always the same person, and the numbers are phony and can be manufactured for free through Google and other sources. THERE SEEMS TO BE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING THAT WE CAN DO TO RID OURSELVES OF THIS NUISANCE! If the FTC does anything, I would like to know how to rouse them!

My scam came by email. I answered an add to get my own web site and make a lot of money by selling on it. They got me and now I'm waiting to see what the FTC's final decision is as to what they will do to them and will I get money back.

I have been receiving calls saying they are with Microsoft and are getting a signal from my computer. I tell them I have an Apple Mac. They don't even know what it is. The man has a very strong accent. He tells me to go to my computer, turn it on, and then he can fix the Microsoft Windows problem. The number I finally got on my caller ID is: 999100100. Today I got a call from this same foreigner and the number that showed up was: 442031298925. Any information on these numbers? Thanks.

i just received another call from these people at 6:30am! last time she told me the same thing and would not give up when i told her the computer was i the basement & no phone there. they most likely are coming from India based on the accent and the time my call was received. Snopes has nothing at this time nor did any site. i don't have caller ID so can't help there but the FTC has the number filed and supposedly shut down. if so, why are the calls still coming?

I get these calls multiple times in a week and have been getting them for over six months. Sometimes I just say that my computer is a work computer and they give up, or I go along with them for a while then ask them to hold and hung up on them. Today I asked if I could call them back and they gave me a number of 209-436-9644 and I called it back and it was the same guy with the heavy India accent...I think I will start calling him daily and harassing him! By the way, the phone number he provided is a Calfornia number and he said his name is Eric. I have filed a complaint with the Do Not Call Dept.

We received these calls literally every single day for six months. At first I would ask to be removed from their list, and they would tell me that they would not remove me, then they said they would only remove me after I connected them to my computer. I even told them that I have a Macintosh, which I do, several times. That sent one of them into a foreign language tirade. I imagined Rumplestiltskin stamping himself into the floor. They tapered off when I started to tell them that their families were ashamed of them for not going to college so they could get a legitimate call center job. LOL! All kidding aside though, these people were verbally abusive on a daily basis. I even tried to get them to stay on the line long enough to get useful information, but then they would shout obscenities at me and hang up when I wouldn't connect them to my computer. I wrote down the numbers for several days because they were always different, and from different state/city area codes, and called my local law enforcement, but they told me that there was nothing that they could do because they were all out of the country. We have senior citizens from our church who came very close to connecting these same scammers while we were at their home, but we able to stop them in time by telling them to hang up the phone. These people are a menace, but they must be making money or they wouldn't still be doing this.

Just pretend you have 3 or 4 computers and keep asking him "which computer sent you the message? " never let them log into any computer or 'screen sharing'. After you ask them 4 or 5 times they will probably tell you it was a mistake or just hang up

This outfit still exists! I had a call yesterday!!

I have received several calls from GADS1 at 404-891-5588. They claim to represent "Windows" and want to help me clean out my computer virus. I have put them off and they keep calling. I thought they were "out of business" ?
Can I help, 941-966-0084.

Have received several calls from Longview Acquiescence asking for info on daughter,saying she is in big trouble and needs to call 866-846-0337,that they have sealed papers that need to be served. They called her cell phone yesterday,left a threating message. Read online that it is a scam,so don't answer the phone now,and they leave messages saying this is your last warning. The calls are all blocked,so have no idea where or who they are.Please look into this scam.

I have received close to 24 calls in the last two days. I tried reporting it to the FBI but they said to call the FTC. I played along today and was able to get a call back number from the man. I am posting it on Craigslist under free office furniture. I hope they get
a lot of calls!

When you receive a call that you suspect it’s from a scammer, best thing to do is to hang up the phone and file a complaint with the FTC. The more details you give in your complaint the better it is for law enforcement to track these callers. The FTC’s complaint database is available for investigations to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

We have been receiving these calls from JM for nearly three years, telling us of our big winnings, but asking for money before we can get it. So many times we've asked them to stop, but they continue. When we refuse to co-operate, they get angry and even use abusive language, such as "F--- You!" We rarely answer their calls now days, but sometimes the caller I D shows "private caller" or "Unknown caller", then we do answer. One day we listed their calls, and had 111 calls in one day. Very nerve wracking !! What can be done to stop these people ? We have a list of about 30 numbers they call from.

I am so glad to hear you've had a victory!!! Scam activity via phone seems to have really exploded over the past year. We've been plagued by Stonebridge Life for nearly a year, for example, and others, supposedly selling "insurance" and other scams, like fake debt collection. We can typically get a half a dozen supposed "toll free" calls daily. Stonebridge has slowed down for now (I am boycotting JCPenney for life as a result of the harrassment and fraud with which they collude) but others seem to be increasing activity. Today we got one call with a CID with just zeros, another one "private" and then 4 calls in 4 hours from an ostensible New York number (212) 777-3456 that is all over the web for various scams, most commonly bullying to try to get people to let them log onto their computers remotely, claiming to be from Microsoft or other "tech" support, for years. We had to turn off the phone volume so we could have a few hours of peace tonight. I am jobhunting and phone interviewing and these calls are seriously impacting my productivity. Our phones have become vehicles for trespassing and thievery. It is becoming scary. Put them in prison and throw away the keys!!!!

THERE IS A NEW PHONE SCAMMER MAKING CALLS, PLEASE BE WEARY OF 210 NUMBERS, 210-390-0070 & 210-625-3672 ARE THE NUMBERS I HAVE GOTTEN. They claim they are from Pretrial Intervention and tell you there is a warrant for your arrest for unpaid Payday Loans and try to get your personal information. Please spread this around. I have reported them to the FTC again today. When I tell them I have reported them they get nasty and tell me this is not a joke. I have told them several times I am waiting for someone to show up with the warrant, but no one ever shows!! They are a true piece of work and need to be stopped!!

I received a call from someone with a strong Indian/Pakistani Accent. They said that I was eligible for a $twenty Thousand Dollar loan. At the time I was desperate for money. I am on Disability, and my monthly payment is barely enough for me to get by. I must have had a brain fart, because I fell for this scam. They told me that I had to purchase a Green Dot Money Pack in the amount of $220.00 for a "Transfer fee. While I am ashamed that I fell for this, I'll tell you that I did get that card, funded it with the amount they asked for. After that transaction, they again asked for more money for A "Good Faith" payment in the amount of $155.00. I bought another Green Dot Card, and funded that as well. To make this long story shorter, they kept asking for more and more money. By this time I was desperate for money, as i now had less money left in my account than I needed to pay the rent. This scam, and my gullibility, wiped me out, and I had to ask my brother for money to pay the rent, and ask my son for money for food. I was humiliated, but had no choice. I reported this to the FTC. While my rent was paid, and my refrigerator full, I had no cash for an entire month. I take several medications for my disability, and couldn't afford it. Some of the medicine was addicting, and I started to go through withdrawal. I had to write a check for the medicine, even though my checking account did not have the funds to cover the check. I had no choice, beside going to the hospital to relive the withdrawal. The most hurtful thing about this incident, is that I have tarnished my name and trust. The Pharmacy will no longer take a check from me, and perhaps most important, I have embarrassed myself for asking for handouts. And I no longer trust anyone with an accent I can't identify. I have learned a valuable lesson, and if this message helps even just one person, it is worth the time I took to write this.

The calls from the people representing Microsoft Windows are definitely back. I got six calls yesterday. They change their ID numbers constantly. Please FTC, do something about these scammers and robo callers. My number is for emergencies only. This is scary.


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