The Federal Trade Commission is sending refund checks totaling more than $7 million to people deceived by the operators of an alleged business opportunity fraud that targeted seniors and others living on a fixed income. The refunds stem from a settlement the FTC reached in 2017 with Advertising Strategies, LLC, under which the defendants surrendered virtually all their assets to provide consumer refunds.
According to the FTC’s complaint, the defendants – who operated under names such as Building Money, Prime Cash, Wyze Money, and Titan Income – telemarketed bogus online investment opportunities to people across the nation. The descriptions of the “opportunity” varied, but typically involved buying or investing in e-commerce websites, or participating in a profit-sharing program involving credit card companies and e-commerce websites. The defendants took hefty payments from consumers. At the FTC’s request, a federal court halted the scheme and froze the defendants’ assets pending litigation.
The FTC is mailing 10,365 checks averaging $684 and totaling $7,097,257 to consumers. Recipients should deposit or cash checks within 60 days, as indicated on the check.
The FTC never requires people to pay money or provide account information to cash a refund check. If recipients have questions about the refunds, they should contact the FTC’s refund administrator, Rust Consulting, Inc., at 1-888-227-9829.
FTC law enforcement actions led to more than $2.3 billion in refunds for consumers in a one-year period between July 2017 and June 2018. To learn more about the FTC’s refund program, visit www.ftc.gov/refunds.