The FTC has obtained injunctions closing down a major telemarketing scam that stole more than twenty million dollars from senior citizens. The telemarketing used promises of various services including, ironically, fraud protection. Other services being sold were legal services and prescription drugs. In addition, in other instances, the scammers impersonated government officials and bank employees. In those calls, the scammers tricked their victims into providing their bank account information which was then used by the scammers to access the victims’ bank accounts and steal their money. The primary defendant is Ari Tietolman and various companies he operated including First Consumers, LLC, Standard American Marketing, Inc. and PowerPlay Industries, LLC, Patient Assistance Plus, Legal Eye and Fraud Watch.
You can never be sure of who is calling you on the phone so you should never give personal information over the phone to anyone whom you have not called. Even if your Caller ID appears to show that the caller is who he says he is, you cannot trust your Caller ID because it can be manipulated through a technique called spoofing to make it appear as if the call is legitimate when it is not. If you are interested in a service or product about which you are informed in a telemarketing call, you should ask them to send you written material and then investigate the company and the product or service before considering committing. If a call asking for personal information appears to you to possibly be legitimate, you should still not provide the information over the phone to the caller, but rather hang up and call the real company with which you do business to see if the original call was a scam.