Connecticut Consumers Getting Scam “Cardholder Services” Robocalls

February 27, 2013
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Consumers beware:  Prerecorded phone calls from “Rachel” or “Wendy” from “cardholder services” offering to significantly lower credit card interest rates are likely nothing more than scams, Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen said today.

“My office has received numerous complaints and calls about these robocalls, and the best advice for any consumer who receives one of these calls is to immediately hang up,” said Attorney General Jepsen. “For consumers looking to lower their interest rates, your best option is to avoid a persuasive sales pitch, call the customer service number on the back of your credit card and request a reduced rate.”

The automated robocalls claim to have an “important message” regarding an opportunity to reduce high credit card interest rates. Consumers are urged to “press 1” to connect with a live representative or “press 2” to discontinue getting such calls. Consumers who press 1 are connected to live telemarketers, who claim that, for a fee, they will deliver a reduced rate on a credit card and see significant savings on finance charges. Often, consumers have no way to screen these calls using Caller ID, as the incoming number is “spoofed,” or displayed as a false number.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reports that after consumers pay an up-front fee – sometimes totaling thousands of dollars – the companies do little or nothing to lower credit card interest rates. The FTC advises consumers that federal law prohibits companies that sell relief services from charging a fee before a debt is settled or reduced. With few exceptions, prerecorded sales calls such as these are illegal under state and federal law.

Consumers who receive these calls should:

  • Simply hang up. Do not press 1 to try to speak to a live operator, or press any other number to be removed from their list. Doing so will likely only result in additional calls.
  • Never give out credit card or other personal financial information, such as bank account or Social Security numbers. Doing so will only increase the risk of fraud.

Consumers who believe they’ve fallen victim to a credit card interest rate reduction scam should file a complaint with the FTC at ftccomplaintassistant.gov or call toll-free 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).

To reduce unwanted telemarketing calls, consumers can register both cell phones and land lines on the, National Do Not Call Registry. To register by telephone, call 1-888-382-1222; you must call from the phone number you wish to register. To register online, go to DoNotCall.gov. Once registered, telemarketers covered by the Do Not Call Registry have up to 31 days from the registration date to stop calling. Do Not Call registrations do not expire.

Marketers with whom you have conducted business within the last 18 months are generally exempt from Do Not Call requirements, as are tax-exempt and nonprofit entities; political campaigns; businesses contacting about an existing debt, contract or payment; businesses that started within the past year; prerecorded messages or emergency calls needed for health or safety; organizations with whom you have given prior consent; or entities with which you have a preexisting relationship.

The FTC investigates complaints about potential Do Not Call violations; complaints can be filed with the FTC through DoNotCall.gov. The state Department of Consumer Protection also accepts and investigates complaints about potential violations of Connecticut’s Do Not Call law. Complaints can be made at www.ct.gov/dcp or at 1-800-842-2649.

For more information about these calls, visit www.ftc.gov/robocalls.

Assistant Attorney General Brendan Flynn is assisting the Attorney General with this matter.

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8 Responses to Connecticut Consumers Getting Scam “Cardholder Services” Robocalls

  1. Just sayin on February 27, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    I’ve been on the no call registry since day one. I file complaints about these calls from Card Services. How come the state attorney general and the FTC can’t fine and prosecute these companies that you know are scams and that you know are breaking the no call registry laws? Since the legal watchdogs don’t protect me from these calls I ALWAYS press the option to speak to a rep. I keep them on the line as long as possible. The more time these companies pay for employees, the sooner they will hopefully go out of business.
    The real question is, “Why doesn’t the FTC and/or state prosecute these frauds/crimnals??”

  2. Doug Bacon on February 27, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    I receive 5-7 of these calls from “CardMember Services” every day. If you ask them the name of the company or where they are located, they quickly hang up. I have written to my congressional members & only received form replies. These companies know they are violating the law & laugh, often stating, “The law is a joke & the authorities will never catch me or prosecute me.” If you are lucky enough to get an address, you will find it is an empty store front with multiple layers of sham companies & lawyers behind them.

    What needs to be done is to pass a law allowing the people who are receiving these calls to go after the phone companies who rent them the numbers. They know that the numbers are being used illegally, but only care about the money they make, stating, “We lease those numbers out & have no control over them.” If they could be sued for failing to take action when complaints come in, then they would have incentive to take action. Right now, our congress doesn’t care & the authorities don’t care either.

  3. Brock Putnam on February 27, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    After NUMEROUS interruptions at home, I’ve resorted to a tactic my wife thinks is mean, but I think is just. I’ve tapped “1” to talk to an operator to ask to be removed from the list, but as soon as I start to make it known I don’t want to be called, the stinkers hang up.

    These people wear headsets. I have a police whistle next to the phone. I hit “1” and when a human answers, I give them a blast on the whistle. Don’t know if it gets me off of any lists, but at least it’s satisfying to lay one on them

    • Bob on February 28, 2013 at 9:02 am

      I get that call at least once a week from Rachel. It starts with don’t be alarmed but this has to do with your credit card and goes on with their pitch. I have press 1 and like you I’m hung up on.

      Another new scam I got the other day goes like this. We have been monitoring your computer and noticed it’s about to crash. But for a price they can fix it. My neighbor fell for a scam like this and it ended up costing him almost $200.0.

  4. Tom l on February 27, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    This story must be 10 years old for crying out loud.

  5. Thomas Quigley on February 28, 2013 at 7:57 am

    When the National Don’t Call Registry was first introduced, I noticed a significant drop in nuisance marketing calls after I registered. These days it seems to make no difference at all. Telemarketers routinely ignore the don’t call list with no apparent consequences.

  6. Mike Bennett on March 1, 2013 at 7:28 am

    I’ve been getting calls from CARDHOLDER SERVICES for literally years.
    I have been on the DO NOT CALL list for years.
    I have reported these calls to the FTC repeatedly, with absolutely NO RESULTS!
    MY CONCLUSION? The “DO NOT CALL list” is a paper tiger and the FTC is either incompetent, impotent, or in bed with CARDHOLDER SERVICES! Otherwise, someone please explain to me why the company’s officers are not bankrupt for all of the fines they should be paying for the millions of DO NOT CALL violations they have committed and in prison for the banking related frauds they have committed against those who were naive enough to trust these evil tricksters. No…I’m sorry, but something about this entire thing really stinks badly, because putting CARDHOLDER SERVICES out of business due to their unlawful business practices seems as though it should be like shooting fish in a barrel!

  7. Klaus Nuki on March 27, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    IMHO I cannot see why AT&T Landlines does not have the technology to block these calls. Is it because they make $$$ leasing the robocall devices?

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