FTC and Law Enforcement Crackdown on Debt Relief Robocalls

The Federal Trade Commission and its law enforcement partners today announced a major crackdown on illegal robocalls, including 94 actions targeting operations around the country that are responsible for more than one billion calls pitching a variety of products and services including credit card interest rate reduction services, money-making opportunities, and medical alert systems.

Call it Quits – Robocall Law Enforcement Operation 2019 logoThe joint crackdown, “Operation Call it Quits,” is part of the Commission’s ongoing effort to help stem the tide of universally loathed pre-recorded telemarketing calls. It also includes new information to help educate consumers about illegal robocalls. In addition, the FTC continues to promote the development of technology-based solutions to block robocalls and combat caller ID spoofing.

One of the cases filed was against First Choice Horizon.

According to the FTC’s complaint against six corporate and three individual defendants jointly doing business as Second Choice Horizon and CSG Solutions, Raymond Gonzalez, Carlos S. Guerrero, and Joshua Hernandez ran a maze of interrelated operations that used illegal robocalls to contact financially distressed consumers with offers of bogus credit card interest rate reduction services. The FTC contends many of the consumers targeted were seniors. According to the complaint, the defendants deceptively told consumers that, for a fee, the defendants could lower their credit card interest rates to zero for the life of the debt, thereby saving the consumers thousands of dollars on their credit card debt.

The complaint alleges that the defendants robocalled consumers, including many whose phone numbers were on the DNC Registry. Under the guise of confirming consumers’ identities, the defendants tricked them into providing their personal financial information, including their Social Security and credit card numbers.

The FTC also alleges the defendants did not disclose to consumers that they would have to pay substantial additional bank or transaction fees. Finally, the FTC alleges that in many instances, consumers who did not buy the services later found out that the defendants had applied for one or more credit cards without their knowledge or consent.

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