Tag Archives: Spoofing

How law enforcement doesn’t operate: scam alert from the BBB

If you live in the United States (I can’t vouch for other countries), there are certain ways in which law enforcement is carried out, and ways in which it generally is not.

Here’s one way law enforcement doesn’t work: if there’s a warrant out for your arrest, they usually don’t call you first and tell you.

Here’s another: if you’re accused of a crime, you can’t pay a fine to avoid charges (if you can, it probably means you’re bribing someone, and they’re accepting the bribe, and you’re both in a lot of trouble, mister. Bribing the police. That’s not right!). The fines (and other consequences) generally happen after you’ve been convicted, which is supposed to occur via due process.

The Better Business Bureau is warning of an active scam that has already claimed several victims. The fraudulent phone calls use spoofed caller ID to extort “fines” from victims, by money orders and prepaid debit cards. They’ve got the full lowdown here, but the proper response is one you’ve seen before: don’t give any money or personal information (even if they have some already—victims have reported the callers having information about loans), hang up, call the real police (because others are likely getting the same calls).

The problem is that such phone calls can incite a moment of panic, and panic makes it hard to think rationally. But if you’re aware that such scams exist, you’ll be able to stop, take a breath, calm down and remember how reality works before you become a victim.

FTC sues three companies for violations of new robocall rules.

The FTC is taking three companies to task for violations of the new rules regarding automated “robocalls,” which were passed last September.

All three companies used caller ID spoofing (for example, the caller would appear as “Card Services”) to lure victims into paying fees as high as $1,495 for a credit card interest rate renegotiation. Calls would begin with a prerecorded message. Recipients who pressed “1” would be transferred to a telemarketer who would attempt to sell the service.

Those interest rate negotiations never happened, by the way. Victims simply lost several hundred dollars. One company was also selling worthless auto “warranty extensions” on the side.

The FTC has a real laundry list of complaints against all three entities, including:

  1. Calling consumers whose phone numbers are on the National Do Not Call Registry
  2. Calling consumers who had previously asked not to be called
  3. Failing to transmit their caller ID information, as required
  4. Masking their caller ID information
  5. Failing to promptly identify themselves, the purpose of their call, and/or the nature of the goods or services they were selling
  6. Improperly abandoning calls
  7. Failing to make required disclosures in their robocalls.

It’s a real violation gumbo. The three companies named in the suit are:

  • Economic Relief Technologies, LLC
  • Dynamic Financial Group (U.S.A.) Inc.
  • JPM Accelerated Services (JPM)

Punks. I hope the FTC shuts them down completely, and I hope the people behind these operations aren’t able to hide behind their “LLC” and “Inc.” designations. Doesn’t criminal law apply to these swindlers, too?

Once again, though, this all just goes to show something: namely, that you should never pay anyone a fee for help with your credit card debt, and always check out who you’re dealing with beforehand.

Of course, when they’re blatantly lying about who they are, it might be more difficult. I guess the first question to ask yourself is, “Did I contact them, or did they contact me first?”

If you contacted them, and did your homework, you’re probably OK.

If they contaced you, you’re looking at a scam.