Payment Card News

Card Scams Squashed

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The FTC and its enforcement partners shut down a number of scams last week involving the payment of an advance fee for a VISA or MasterCard. The Federal Trade Commission, state Attorneys General from six states and state banking officials were involved in ‘OPERATION ADVANCE FEE LOAN’. The latest crackdown on telemarketing companies and individuals allegedly engaging in advance fee loan scams netted eight cases filed and/or settled by the Commission, and ten cases filed by state Attorney Generals, including three cease and desist orders issued by state banking officials. The latest sweep also included the participation of Canadian law enforcement authorities who have taken criminal actions against more than 120 Canadian advance fee loan scam operators who prey on American citizens. In all of the FTC cases announced last week, the defendants were charged with violating the FTC Act and the Telemarketing Sales Rule by misrepresenting that consumers would receive a credit card for an advance fee; by charging a fee in advance of consumers receiving the promised credit card; and in two of the cases, misrepresenting that consumers would receive a refund of their fee if they did not get the promised credit card. In conjunction with the announcement the FTC and the state Attorneys General joined with their education campaign partners to issue tips and warnings to consumers. The FTC says it is also alerting commercial mail receiving agents that they may be involved in a fraudulent scheme when they are asked by a mailbox holder to forward large volumes of mail to other addresses within the U.S. or to other countries. Additionally, the FTC says it is writing to more than 7,500 publishers of classified ads through the country to encourage them to warn their readers that ads promising loans or extensions of credit are likely to be scams. Some of the operations snagged include American Consumer Membership Services, Inc. which allegedly charged $69 in advance for credit cards; 1263523 Ontario, Inc. which allegedly charged a $159 advance fee; Modern Credit Financial Services, Inc. which allegedly charged $89 in advance for VISA and MasterCard credit cards; and Credit National, Inc. which allegedly charged $28 for credit cards. For more information visit FTC’s web site at www.ftc.gov. Copies of the consumer education materials, as well as the complaints, are also available from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-FTC-HELP (202-382-4357)

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