Feds bust cross-border fraudsters who targeted seniors

via Feds bust cross-border fraudsters who targeted seniors, clarionledger.com.

Federal agents have shut down a multi-million dollar telemarketing fraud that targeted U.S. seniors across the nation, scamming tens of thousands of consumers.

The scam, going under the names of First Consumers, Patient Assistance Plus, Legal Eye, and Fraud Watch, allegedly called seniors from a “boiler room” operation in Canada, trying to sell (ironically) fraud protection, legal protection and pharmaceutical benefit services costing from $187 and $397.

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Consumer Protection Director Jessica Rich noted in a release that the perpetrators of the alleged scheme would take sensitive information from unsuspecting seniors and then withdraw money from their bank accounts. The scam is alleged to have netted $20 million, which sits in now-frozen accounts.

“The defendants’ conduct in this case was simply outrageous,” Rich noted. ” “Consumers can count on the FTC to be aggressive in the fight against this type of fraud.”

“In some instances, the telemarketers who carried out the fraud impersonated government and bank officials, and enticed consumers to disclose their confidential bank account information to facilitate the fraud,” the FTC reported. “The defendants used that account information to create checks drawn on the consumers’ bank accounts. They then deposited these ‘remotely created checks’ into corporate accounts they established in the United States. The U.S.-based defendants then transferred the money to accounts controlled by the Canadian defendants, according to an analysis of bank records.”

Alleged ringleader Ari Tietolman and his associates reportedly established a network of U.S. and Canadian entities to carry out their scam, according to a complaint filed by the Commission. The defendants come from both Canada and the U.S.

Kudos to the FTC for busting this scheme, but it’s only one of many similar schemes targeting Americans from across the border. Please, seniors: if someone calls trying to sell you something, try to verify their legitimacy before divulging any information. Always protect your banking information, and if you ever get suspicious of if they seem evasive, it’s OK to introduce them to Mr. Dialtone.

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