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FTC shuts down robocall scam

Ever get a robocall from Card Services? I’ve received many, and it’s annoying.

The calls, from Payless Solutions, are a scam using illegal robocalls to lie about lowering credit card interest rates, according the Federal Trade Commission, which has stopped the scam.

The scam robocalls say that you qualify for a special program to lower your credit card interest rate, save thousands of dollars, and pay off debts sooner. If you press a number, a representative might tell you they work for your bank or credit card company.

Next, they ask for your credit card information and Social Security number. Then, they charge $300 to $3,499 for their interest rate reduction services – often without your permission. Most of the time, you don’t get a lower interest rate. And you lose your money.

The FTC and Florida attorney general filed a lawsuit to shut down the scam. Payless lied about lowering interest rates, lied about working for consumers’ banks, and charged consumers’ credit cards without authorization, the FTC said.

In addition, those robocalls violated the Do Not Call rules.

To help you guard against phone scams such as this one, Lisa Weintraub Schifferle, attorney for the Division of Consumer and Business Education of the FTC, offers these suggestions:

  • Hang up the phone if you get a robocall. Don't press 1 to speak to an operator or any other key to take your number off the list. If you respond by pressing any number, it’ll probably lead to more robocalls.
  • Keep your credit card, checking account, and Social Security numbers to yourself. Don't give them to callers you don't know – even if they ask you to “confirm” this information. That's a trick.
  • Sign up for the Do Not Call Registry. If you’re on the registry and get a sales call, it’s a scam.
  • Sign up for a service to block robocalls, such as nomorobo.com.
  • Report your experience to the FTC online or by calling 888-382-1222.

If you’re looking for a way to lower your interest rates and pay off debts, Consumer.gov has tips on managing debt and using credit. Also, see the FTC’s advice about choosing a credit counseling service.

Copyright 2015, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist

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