FTC introduces Operation Stop Scam Calls, takes down 167 scam operations (5 named)

SOURCE: FTC, Law Enforcers Nationwide Announce Enforcement Sweep to Stem the Tide of Illegal Telemarketing Calls to U.S. Consumers | Federal Trade Commission

  • Operation Stop Scam Calls is an enforcement sweep against illegal telemarketing calls jointly enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, state Attorney Generals and the District of Colombia against telemarketers, their parent companies, lead generators who deceptively collect and provide consumers’ numbers to robocallers and VoIP providers who facilitate illegal robocalls every year, most of which originating from overseas locations.
  • The FTC has collected over $394 million from over 167 cases against illegal robocallers and Do Not Call violators, who were ordered by the courts to pay over $2 billion for use in providing refunds to defrauded customers. Five of these companies were puiblicly named:
  1. Fluent, LLC
  • A NYC-based consent farm lead generator that lured customers to their websites through deceptive ads that promoted $1,000 Walmart gift cards or job interviews with UPS to trick consumers into providing their personal information and consenting to receive robocalls and other solicitations instead of the promised reward.
  • The company has been banned from engaging in, assisting or facilitating robocalls and was ordered to pay a $2.5 million civil penalty and delete all previously collected consumer information.
  • Other companies named in this lawsuit include RewardZone USA, Deliver Technology, LLC, Search Works Media, LLC and Ease Wins, LLC.
  1. Visceroy Media Solutions, LLC
  • Does business as quick-jobs.com & Voltron Interactive
  • Owned by Sunil Kanda and Quynh Tran
  • Consumers who visited their websites were tricked into providing their contact info for local job listings, only for the company to collect and aggregate “leads” to telemarketing clients.
  • The company has been banned from helping companies place robocalls and was ordered to pay nearly $1 million in civil penalties.
  1. Yodel Technologies, LLC
  • Owned by Robert Pulshiper and based in Palm Harbor, Florida.
  • Provides soundboard calling services to clients who use robocalls to sell auto insurance, cruises, medical devices, extended warranties and Socail Security Benefits.
  • The company has made calls to phone numbers obtained from lead-generation websites, including 14 million from leads obtained by Viceroy Media and over 500 million calls to consumers on the DNC Registry.
  • The company has been banned from participating in telemarketing and was ordered to pay a $1 million civil penalty.
  1. Solar Xchange, LLC
  • Owned by Mark Getts and based in New Jersey under the business name of Energy Exchange
  • Made unlawful telemarketing calls on behalf of Vision Solar, with telemarketers at times falsely claimed to be affiliated with a utility company or government agency and misrepresented the money consumers could save on their energy bills.
  • Vision Solar has been charged with violating the FTC Act by making false, misleading or unsubstantiated claims during in-person sales presentations to consumers.
  • Solar Xchange and Getts are prohibited from engaging in abusive telemarketing practices and were ordered to pay a civil penalty of $13.8 million.
  1. Hello Hello Miami, LLC
  • Owned by Luis E. Leon Amaris and based in Miami, Florida.
  • Provided VoIP services to over 11 foreign telemarketers, including refund scammers claiming to be Amazon.
  • The company and Amaris are permanently barred from assisting and facilitating illegal telemarketing robocallers and were ordered to pay civil penalties and monetary relief for defrauded customers.