Illinois AG Sues over Credit Cards Interest Rate Telemarketing Scams
In this time of economic woe, most of us are putting less on our credit cards. If you haven't been so wise and are facing large bills and increasing interest rates, be careful whom you choose to help you out of your hole. On November 10, 2009, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filled suit against two companies for telemarketing scams promising to lower consumer's credit card interest rates.
According to ConsumerAffairs.com, the Illinois AG's suit alleges two Texas and Washington based companies guaranteed customers a minimum savings of $2,500 in reduced credit card rates, or their money back. Once a customer enrolled in the program, they were charged fees from $391 up to $1590 which were promised to be refunded, but never were. In addition, when the promised interest rate reduction did not materialize, refunds were refused or sent minus an undisclosed $199 fee.
Unfortunately, this type of scam is nothing new. A strikingly similar operation was run out of Canada and halted by the FTC in February of 2007. In that scheme, telemarketers also promised to save consumers $2,500 (were they reading from the same handbook?) and then charged $695 for materials that of course failed, as did the company, to save consumers a dime.
What can you do to protect yourself from like scammers? A few simple guidelines may help:
- never reveal your credit card number to unsolicited callers
- ask for and read contracts, literature or any company prospectus before buying or investing
- ask for information from the seller: name, company name, address, website
- if you think you have been the victim of fraud, contact your Better Business Bureau, the FTC, state Attorney General's office or other appropriate agency
Illinois AG Lisa Madigan recommends consumers contact credit counseling companies to assist them with their credit problems.
Finally, use common sense. Just like your mother told you, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Beware Of Credit Card Debt Reduction Offers (WCBV, Boston)
- How to Avoid Debt Reduction Scams (BillEater.com)
- CARD Act Move-Up: Credit Card Reform May Come Early (FindLaw's Common Law)
- Collections and Consumer Rights FAQ (provided by Boyle, Neblett & Wenger)
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