Unwanted telemarketing calls can be very annoying. The Federal Trade Commission’s Do Not Call Registry helps limit calls from legitimate telemarketers. But, the registry is not much of a deterrent to scam artists.
Many have received calls from “Rachel from Card Services.” These calls feature a friendly-sounding recording that promises to lower interest rates on credit card balances and urge the listener to press “1” to speak with a live representative. Many people believe the call is coming from their own bank and are then connected to telemarketers, who persuade them to pay up front fees hundreds or thousands of dollars in the hope of lowering their credit card payments. Not a good idea.
The Federal Trade Commission declared Rachel to be its “Public Enemy Number One” and brought several enforcment actions. The calls seemed to taper-off, but now consumer protection officials are beginning to report that the number of complaints have increased. Many of the calls are “spoofed” so that caller-ID will not permit consumers to screen the calls or identify the caller.
What to Do: The best advice if you receive a prerecorded telemarketing call from Rachel or any of her scamming buddies is to simply hang up. Although there is an option to have your name removed from their call list, selecting that option only verifies that your telephone number is answered by a live person, and you might subject yourself to more calls from scammers.
Although the law does provide remedies against telemarketers that violate the “Do Not Call” laws, it is difficult for private law firms like Consumer Law Group to bring actions against scam-artists. It is almost impossible to identify where these calls come from, and even if you win a law suit, it is even harder to collect any money. If a consumer is sufficiently annoyed by these calls that they want to take action beyond simply hanging-up, their best best is to file an on-line complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.