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LET THE BUYER BEWARE
And the telemarketer too

10/21/03

Fraudulent telemarking graphicOn 10/17, the manager of Amansco Credit Services was found guilty of conspiracy to commit wire fraud... that is, of conspiring to commit a massive telemarketing fraud between two companies -- Franklin Credit and Amansco Credit, which billed customers for over $2.7 million in 1997 and 1998. Before the FBI shut the operations down, over 5,000 customers were defrauded. The manager's conviction follows earlier guilty pleas to the scheme by eight sales people from Franklin Credit.

What was the scheme? Promised debt consolidation. For a mere $295, you'd receive a low interest debt consolidation "loan" from Franklin Credit to pay off your creditors. Except there was no loan -- you just got turned over to Amansco Credit... and it only provided a bill-paying service.

The lesson here is two fold.

First, that the FBI will relentlessly pursue fraudulent telemarketers, who sell bogus products and services over the phone, specially targeting senior citizens and other vulnerable segments of American society.

Second, that you, the consumer, must be wise to these scams.

Be prepared to say "no thank you" if you hear these warning signs.

Act now or the offer won't be good. You've won a free gift/vacation/prize... but you have to pay for postage and handling/ taxes/other charges. Just send money, give us your credit card number, or... we'd be glad to pick up your check by courier. We're a well known company -- don't delay by checking us out. You can't afford to miss this high-profit, no-risk offer!

Here are a few principles to guide you before you open your wallet.

1. Check out unfamiliar companies with your local consumer protection agency, the better business bureau, your state Attorney General, the National Fraud Information Center, or other watchdog groups.

2. Ask for and check out your salesperson's name, business identity, telephone number, street and mailing addresses, and business license numbers.

3. Don't pay for a "free prize" -- if the caller says the payment is for taxes, he or she is violating federal law.


Read more on our section for Frauds That Target Senior Citizens.

Parting Shot

Think you have info about a fraud? Report it immediately to your local law enforcement agency. If your complaint has any connection to the Internet, submit it directly to the FBI's Internet Fraud Complaint Center at www.ifccfbi.gov.