The Federal Trade Commission announced Monday (Dec. 4) it filed a complaint in a federal district court in Orlando to stop a credit card interest rate reduction scam.
In a press release, the FTC alleges that the scam deceived a number of consumers who were already struggling with credit card debt. Those charged with committing the scam reportedly sold fake credit card interest rate reduction services within weeks of a court shutting down a similar illegal operation.
The defendants – which include Higher Goals Marketing LLC, Sunshine Freedom Services LLC, Brandun L. Anderson, Lea A. Brownell, Melissa M. Deese, Gerald D. Starr, Jr. and Travis L. Teel – reportedly conducted a telemarketing scam in which they tricked consumers into paying for fake services in order to lower interest rates on their credit card debt. The alleged scammers targeted consumers who were already in financial distress. To conduct the scam, the telemarketers received significant help from defendant Wayne T. Norris, who had worked for others who were charged in separate FTC cases for similar practices.
The FTC has charged Norris with violating the Telemarketing Sales Rule by helping the other defendants organize the telemarketing infrastructure they used to launch robocalls to consumers. He assembled the team of managers, helped to set up a shell company to collect the illegal fees and oversaw the robocall operation.
The other defendants are charged with using illegal robocalls to reach consumers and sell them fake debt help. They promised consumers they would permanently lower their credit card interest rates by a substantial amount, when in reality, consumers weren’t delivered any services after shelling out their money. In some cases, the defendants would get new credit cards for consumers with low introductory rates that were only temporary.