The court order temporarily halts the Orlando-based operation, freezes its assets, and appoints a receiver over the businesses. In a joint complaint, the FTC and Florida Attorney General’s Office are seeking to permanently stop the conduct and secure money for consumer refunds.
“If you’re one of the many Americans now dealing with rising debt, steer clear of companies promising to reduce your credit card interest rate after you pay them,” said Andrew Smith, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “The FTC is proud to partner again with the Florida Attorney General to stamp out these bogus offers.”
“Consumers who find themselves living with debt can feel like they are trapped in a downward spiral, struggling to find assistance to meet their financial obligations. It is reprehensible that fraudsters would exploit the trust of individuals searching for financial stability—often leaving them in even greater debt,” Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said. “These telemarketing scammers hid their identities and reaped millions of dollars at the expense of vulnerable consumers. I am proud to partner with the FTC to stop this fraud, particularly during these unprecedented times of economic strain on so many consumers and legitimate business creditors.”
According to the complaint, the defendants blasted consumers with telemarketing cold calls promising to permanently and substantially reduce their credit card interest rates. After tricking consumers into believing they were affiliated with the consumer’s existing credit card companies or well-known credit card networks such as MasterCard or Visa, the defendants allegedly promised to save them thousands of dollars in credit card interest and enable them to pay off their credit card debt three to five times faster. The defendants charged upfront fees of as much as $3,995 for their bogus services, the agencies allege.
Many consumers who paid the defendants’ significant upfront fees reportedly received no permanent debt reduction and were left with more debt and worse credit. Instead of contacting the consumer’s credit card companies to negotiate permanently and substantially lower interest rates, the defendants allegedly applied for new credit cards in their names with temporarily lower “teaser” interest rates. They then executed balance transfers from the consumer’s existing cards to the new cards. These tactics not only failed to provide many consumers the savings they were promised but also often left them saddled with substantial balance transfer fees, on top of the upfront fees they paid.
In bringing the case, the agencies charged the defendants with violating the FTC Act, the Telemarketing Sales Rule, and the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. The defendants named in the complaint are GDP Network LLC; G & G Success LLC, also doing business as YF Solution LLC, QSC Professionals, and G.C.D. Management LLC; G & N Squared LLC; and Gino De Paz; Grace De Paz, and Shabana Khublal.
The FTC hopes to recover funds to return to the victims of the scam, but any refunds would be a long way off. I will keep you informed as to progress in this case.
It is important to remember that the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rules specifically prohibit charging advance fees before providing any debt relief services. Any company that requires an advance fee before they have completed their successful debt reduction services is breaking the law. You also may want to consider avoiding scams like this by enrolling in the federal Do Not Call List so that if you are contacted by a telemarketer, you already know it would be someone who is knowingly breaking the law and cannot be trusted. Registering for the Do Not Call List is easy and free. Merely go to http://www.donotcall.gov to register your phone number.
If you need real credit counseling you can go to this section of the Department of Justice’s website where it lists agencies approved to assist consumers with debt problems. https://www.justice.gov/ust/list-credit-counseling-agencies-approved-pursuant-11-usc-111 You also may consider contacting companies that are affiliated with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling at this link https://www.nfcc.org/
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