The bad guys aren’t happy just scamming people. It turns out they are also sharing their victims’ information with other unscrupulous people.
That’s according to the Federal Trade Commission, which said scammers around the country are not only going after the elderly with a phony prize scam, but they are also selling the list of victims to other scammers so they can try to trick the person again. The scammers sent “hundreds of thousands of personalized cash prize notifications to be mailed to mostly elderly consumers,” the FTC said in a federal lawsuit, according to a report. The victims were informed they had won $1 million or more, but in order to collect their winnings, they had to pay a so-called “document processing fee” of $25. The consumers who paid the $25 didn’t receive any cash prizes at all. Rather, they got more fake solicitations from scammers who had purchased their information.
According to the report, the lead defendant in the case is Terry Somenzi of Tarzana and his businesses — International Advisory Services, Paulson Independent Distributors, International Procurement Center, Phelps Ingram Distributors and Keller Sloan & Associates. Also part of the lawsuit are David Raff and his company, Millennium Direct Inc. of Weston, Florida, and Ian Gamberg of Weston, Florida, and his company, Printmail Corporate Solutions, of Hollywood, Florida.
Scams via snail mail “target millions of Americans with false promises of wealth and riches, swindling hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement earlier in the week, according to the report. The report noted the Department of Justice, Treasury Department, U.S. Postal Service and the Iowa Attorney General’s Office also filed several civil actions or settlements, two criminal prosecutions and related enforcement actions against people located in the U.S. and outside of the country as part of a broader effort to stop scammers and fraudsters.