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FTC stops robocall scam

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Tired of robocalls? The FTC just shut down Payless Solutions, a scam using illegal robocalls to lie about lowering your credit card interest rate.

Here’s the scam: A robocall – often from “Card Services” – says that you qualify for a special program to lower your credit card interest rate, save thousands of dollars, and pay off debts sooner. If you press a number, a representative might tell you they work for your bank or credit card company. They don’t. 

It gets worse. Next, they ask for your credit card information and Social Security number. Then, they charge $300 to $3499 for their interest rate reduction services – often without your permission. Most of the time, you don’t get a lower interest rate. And you lose your money.

The FTC and the Florida Attorney General filed a lawsuit to shut down this scam. Why? Payless lied about lowering interest rates, lied about working for consumers’ banks, and unfairly charged consumers’ credit cards without authorization. And those annoying robocalls? They violated the Do Not Call rules.

How can you guard against phone scams like this one? Here are some suggestions: 

  • If you get a robocall, hang up the phone. Don't press 1 to speak to an operator or any other key to take your number off the list. If you respond by pressing any number, it will probably just lead to more robocalls.
  • Keep your credit card, checking account, or Social Security numbers to yourself. Don't tell them to callers you don't know – even if they ask you to “confirm” this information. That's a trick.
  • Sign up for the Do Not Call Registry. If you’re on the registry and get a sales call, it’s a scam.
  • You can also sign up for a service to block robocalls, like nomorobo.com, which won the FTC’s 2013 Robocall Challenge.
  • Report your experience to the FTC online or by calling 1-888-382-1222.

Looking for ways to lower your interest rate and pay debts? Consumer.gov has tips on managing debt and using credit. For example: when comparing credit cards, don’t just look at interest rates. Also ask about the annual fee, other fees, and the grace period for late payments. Want more help? Check out the FTC’s advice about choosing a credit counseling service.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

Blocking unwated calls is STUPID. most of the numbers are SPOOFed..... numers that are not even valid. How do u block 000-000-0000 and so on. You all need a better answer

What we need to do is find the folks that manage the company. Just start going to the same church they go to, comp[ain to their clergy,,, stop a the ball game at their kids school, root for their kids,,, call them at 2 in the morning asking if they want some stale girl scout cookies for a dollar. We just need to find them, where they live, and just do passive awareness with them.

just got the call from 252-193-0109 Consumer Services. American accent. When i asked Consumer Services with what bank or company as in Bank of America, wells Fargo..they hang up. lol Not the first time Nor will this be the last time I assumed. Makes me wonder why we pay taxes.

I will share what I do in case it can help someone. Turn the ringer on the house phones off, log into your phone providers website and enable 'simultaneous ring', enter your cell phone for the phone to ring, set your cell phone default ring to 'silence', give everyone in your address book a distinct ring. Now people you know can ring your phone (you can still answer on the house phone) and people you don't know have to leave a message (or just go away). If you do this then check phone log regularly. Enjoy the silence.

I have had 12 calls from Vexaros (847-201-4109) in the last three days. I have call blocking with Nomorobo.com and while the calls don't ring through the scum still keeps trying. It's getting to the point of being harassing. There were 2 calls on 6/6/16 and 6/8/16 and then 2 calls on 6/2216 and then 5 calls each day on 6/23/16 and 6/24/16.

Why can't these people?? be stopped from annoying everyone??

Unbelievable that the government does absoluteltely nothing to actually shut down those who flagrantly break the law,

7/15/16
I have received two calls this week. I press the number and give them a piece of my mind, since it will be the only satisfaction that comes of this.

This one company is going to force people from not taking any more phone calls until the FTC puts them out of business and throws the bastards in jail! I have already dropped my hardline and block all incoming calls on my handy except for whitelisted calls

Received my first Vexaros call yesterday, 7/21/16. I have listed my phones on the Do Not Call list several times and things always seem to get worse after I do. Still receive all the junk mail after asking them to stop, twice. No results. Thanks for nothing.

If you’re getting repeated calls from the same number, your phone company may be able to block that number, but first ask whether there’s a fee for this service.

If you’re getting unwanted calls from a lot of different numbers, look into a call blocking solution. There are online call blocking services, call blocking boxes, and smartphone apps that block unwanted calls. Do an online search to look for reviews from experts and other users, and find out whether the service costs money.

You can also sign up for a service to block robocalls, like nomorobo.com, which won the FTC’s 2013 Robocall Challenge.

The FTC is fully capable of identifying these criminals and fraudulent robo callers. I am getting calls from all over US and when I interrogate them they provide false information about their business. FTC is pparently in bed with these scammers - thanks for nothing!

I'm still getting calls from VEXAROS so obviously nothing has changed. Twelve years of scammer calls is ridiculous. They've gone from the landline to the cell phone now. I received 3 scam calls on my cell this morning alone.

I've been getting these calls from "consumer services" everyday, multiple times a day, since January. It's driving me insane. The numbers they call from are all across the country. I almost never answer my phone anymore and leave my phone on silent so my day isn't constantly disrupted. Something needs to be done about this.

Why should there be a "fee" for a consumer to protect themselves from unwanted scam phone calls? If ever there was something that should be paid for from the community chest, rather than the victims, this is it.
Otherwise, you're just an economic leech. [I'm looking at you, telcos.]

Same problem, Sarah from Consumer Services calling about lowering interest rate on credit card. I don't even own a credit card. They call all the time. I've reported them multiple times.

The newest scam caller is VEXAROS. They call my home at least twice a day using number 240-329-9428 however by reading other blog sites I find they are using multiple state and "800" numbers. No one should ever respond to this company no matter what phone number they use.

Considering the ineffectiveness of the FTC, FCC, or other Government agencies in stopping the calls, I can only conclude that one or more of them are actually responsible for one or more of these "scams". While they may be used as another income stream, I suspect it is more for data gathering and/or an attempt at psychological conditioning. The "do not call lists"? At best these only limit calls from legit. telemarketers, so as to not push everyone into never answering the phone again... but is more likely another data gathering tool for their nefarious program. [Makes as much sense as anything else going on here.]

I press 1 and then ask the person "Are you naked." Then THEY hang up on me. I love wasting their time. ;}

For their latest trick they are calling from Restricted numbers. It is laughable that the FTC can't shut down these deceptive criminals.

I just complied a list of all the blocked numbers on my cell since July 15th, 2016 and as of today, 9/2/16, I've had 45 calls in 49 days. This has been going on for years. The FTC has done NOTHING to stop this. Every call froms some city/state every time and once from freaking Jamaica mon! This doesn't get stopped because in my opinion, the phone companies (AT&T are you listening?) makes a crap ton of money from this and THEY are to blame.

I decided to answer the call today after receiving an over abundance of calls from "Credit Relief". I asked to be removed from their calling list as I am on the do not call list. She told me there is no way to remove my name as long as I carry large balances on my credit cards. I asked her how she got my information and wasn't given an answer. I then told her that I would like to speak to a supervisor so that my name can be removed or I will be reporting them as I am on the do not call list. Can you believe she then hung up on me. OMG. Sure wish this would stop. Sure wish the FTC would do something about this.

My question is...how many of these comments is this going to take, before the FCC is going to do something?? This is a very big problem in the United States and involves our Home Security. You would think this would be a priority topic. Find to root cause that allows these scammer to use fake phone numbers from their phones. If you don't know how it's done, look on line and it tells you. That may a place to start. You would think our government would have put a stop to this but it's there. This problem is out of control and something must be done now. So, please take time out and fix this or has it gone so far, it can't be fixed???

Just got yet another call from these people! I am so fed up! I've tried literally everything except changing my phone number!

good grief - I get at least 2 of these calls every week - now they are freaking out numbers from my own city so I think it is a local call. Maybe the FCC can tell us how to report them.

WHY CAN'T YOU DO SOMETHING ABOUT THESE JERKS. BETWEEN CELL AND HOME 1 TO 2 CALLS A DAY!!!!!!

Just to add to the list. Still getting them. Started back at his Summer (lucky me). Calling my cell now as Card Member Services out of Florida. I have been hanging up weekly, blocked various numbers, etc. Finally pressed 1 today and asked which of my cards they were calling about. Was told they represent MC, Visa, AmEx and Disc. I asked to speak to someone who could take me off the list... CLICK. They hung up.

what number did they call from? i would like to compare to the number im getting calls from, thanks

They are calling me as well and I am on the Do not call list, 708-299-3483 was the number they called from today. They call me every few weeks.

10/12/2016
Received a call from Consumer Services. Hung up on these people, spoke to a person about being removed from the call list (who promtly hung up in my face the second I mentioned it), manually blocked the number, it continues to happen. So, FTC, thanks for nothing?

FTC just *thinks* they shut this down. Got a call yesterday. At least the one's who has been call me about a home security service got shut down, again. I played along like I was interested until I got the company name and corporate address and turned them in to my Congressman.

I receive these robocalls regularly. If I'm not busy at the time I press 1 and keep them on the line for 30 minutes or so. I give them a fake 16 digit credit card number. After they put me on hold and call the credit card company, they come back on the line and say there's a mistake. When they read the number back to me I tell them they transposed two of the numbers. They put me on hold again, then come back and say it's still not correct. I do this until they give up or I get tired of the game. If we would all do this, it would no longer be profitable for them and they would go out and get a real job!

I am so glad to hear that someone else does this. I enjoy these calls. You have to play along to the point of giving them a false card number, but I like to talk to them about how I cook my ham or how the kids today don't understand hard work. It's also fun to argue about the numbers you read to them.

I get these calls all day long. If I have time I make sure to waste their time. About a week ago I received a call and let loose on the guy for calling me now he started calling me directly just to shoot the S%$t. He says he logs out of the system to call me to see whats going on like we are best friends. Unfortunately our new found friendship is not enough for him to remove me from the system. Its easy to tell when the automated system calls me because it spoofs the first 6 numbers of their phone number the same as my number. When my buddy calls its always a random number.

It baffles me that the US government cant stop this. As someone else mentioned if everyone wasted their time and did not do business with them then it would make no financial sense to keep their business going.

I have started talking to them only in German. Learn a few phrases in a foreign language and just go through them until they hang up.

I think you idea is terrific. I'm going to share it with my friends, thanks.

Just wanted to report that Sarah is alive and well. Received a call from her this afternoon. She's been calling regularly for a couple of months now.

I just received 4 calls from them today 10/19/16, labeled Vexaros, 405-217-4552. Annoyingly persistent!

254-679-9580

Yep, 'Sarah' is in fact, back at it. Same story as everyone else, press 1, ask to be removed and 'click'. Seems like nothing is going to stop these guys.

The FCC and FTC are unable to enforce the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 and other laws that are supposed to prevent these scams. Hanging up, telling them that you are on the do-not-call list, etc. just don't work so I have decided to deal with them differently. I got two different calls today offering lower interest rates. First, know their conditions. Generally they expect you to tell them you owe more than 5-10k in credit card debt. They also expect you to be paying some absurd interest rate. I tell them 18-24%. Then they ask for your credit card expiration date or credit card number. I tell them I have to go get the card. I put the phone down and go about my business. From time to time, I might tell them I am still looking for it. More often then not, they hang on for 10 minutes before giving up. Sometimes they will call back and say we got disconnected. Repeat the process with some variation.

By the way, this happens on my three home phone number (all do-not-call, two unlisted) as well as my cellular phone (inherently illegal plus on the do-not-call list). All we can do is make this as expensive a proposition as possible for the scammers. Laws and threats mean nothing to someone who feels no qualms about lying and sending phoney caller-ID information. In that regard, I have seen some telemarketers use a phone number in my local exchange. I make believe I recognize the name of the caller and start a long discussion about his horrible medical conditions and arrest record, asking him how he got involved in telemarketing from prison.

Sometimes I make up credit card numbers to keep things interesting. The mathematical constant Pi looks like an AMEX number. Now, if the credit companies were smart, they would play along with the scammers and start making believe they were validating the bogus numbers and catch them when they started charging to the numbers.

Another call from "Heather from card services." Today from 419-208-7961.

Great job of shutting them down, FTC. Maybe you can hired the people who keeping hacking into Hillary's e-mail to stop this thing for you.

They are now using a computer that selects a known number from the area code and exchange they are calling, expecting you will answer because it is a "local" number. BEWARE! If you do not recognize the number send it to voice mail. Then check the message if one is left. A ligitamate caller will leave a voice mail you can then call back - if you really want to talk to them :-).

I received the sixth call from Mack from the USA Consumer Services that is mandated to help me out with my debt due to a settlement from the government and the fair debt act. That my name was part of this settlement agreement and kept trying to get my information, I know that one can get personal information by looking up my number. This makes me worried that since he had my name and number. He finally after seven minutes he laughed at me and hung up on me, then he kept calling back and making noises and laughing at me. This is not only harassment but I feel threatened with me and my wife. What do we do from here? Please contact me and let me know. Thanks! These calls where from 202-439-5069, and another person keeps calling from 202-439-9976. Please leave a reply if someone knows what if anything can legally be done. Thanks again,

You did the right thing by not giving out personal information. The caller might have been trying to get your bank or credit card information, or other personal information.

Scammers can use technology to make it look like they're calling from any phone number they want. They can make it look like they're calling from a 202 Washington, DC phone number, or even from your local area code. If you get more calls, you can hang up.

We've been getting variations on this call for years. My wife got the "Sarah from consumer..." call today on her cell phone. If they actually wanted to, the FTC with cooperation from the phone companies (and maybe lawmakers) could shut these scams down for good. It would probably involve some more serious consequences for breaking the laws.

I was recently in Europe and received calls in the middle of the night from Sarah at Consumer Services. Please put an end to this ASAP

A public service announcement advising against buying anything from telemarketers might help.

1. Nomorobo works if you have VOIP phone service; not copper line phone service (unfortunately).
2. Turn off ringers of most of your landline phones during the day and early evening.
3. Block odd numbers calling on on your mobile phone.
4. Taken together, this more or less makes the problem go away most of the time.

FTC, I'm still getting these robocalls on a weekly basis. Please enforce the laws already on the books and throw individuals in jail. They spoof local numbers.

I am getting around 1 to 5 robo calls a day on my cell phone, the me at work, they call me at night, they call me when I am sleeping, either Racheal or several other names from call services about my final chance to lower my Intest rates. I keep adding them to my rejected list but they keep calling from new numbers. Today at 9:45am ID said Ohio 234-307-7528, Today 12:52pm California 915-791-7219 I got from New Jersey, Texas, Arizona, Florida, Montanna...these are to my cell phone...it is getting crazy, seems the only calls I get are from these people, why am I paying for a cell phone so they can reach me anywhere at any time to listen to their scam sales pitch. So frustrated.

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