With all the consumer warnings out there, it’s hard to believe anyone would fall for telemarketer offers these days. But a recent Federal Trade Commission settlement revealed that in just one robocalling operation, there were 2.6 billion automated phone call recipients with 12.8 million taking the bait.
The settlement was reached with SBN Peripherals, which did business as Asia Pacific Telecom Inc. The defendants, who fraudulently promised phony products and services such as extended auto warranties and credit card interest reduction, are prohibited from further telemarketing and required to relinquish $3 million in assets.
According to court papers filed by the court-appointed receiver, from January 2008 through August 2009, the defendants completed approximately 2.6 billion outbound robocalls that were answered by approximately 1.6 billion consumers, approximately 12.8 million of whom were connected to a sales agent.
The FTC advises consumers to be skeptical about any calls or mail regarding extended vehicle warranties. The telemarketers pose as car dealers and other auto agencies and use phrases like “motor vehicle notification,” “final warranty notice” or “notice of interruption” to get your attention.
To protect yourself from scam auto warranty offers, the FTC says:
- If you get mail or phone calls about renewing your vehicle warranty, don’t take the information at face value. Your vehicle’s warranty may be far from expiring — or it may have expired already. To verify your warranty, check your owner’s manual, call the dealer who sold you the car or contact the vehicle manufacturer.
- Be alert to fast talkers. Telemarketers pitching auto warranties often use high-pressure tactics to hide their true motive. Take your time. Most legitimate businesses will give you time and written information about an offer before asking you to commit to a purchase.
- Never give out personal financial or other sensitive information like your bank account, credit card or Social Security numbers — even your driver’s license number or Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) — unless you know who you’re dealing with. Scam artists often ask for this information during an unsolicited sales pitch, and then use it to commit other frauds against you.
- To report violations of the National Do Not Call Registry or to register a phone number, visit DoNotCall.gov or call 1-888-382-1222.
-Elise Rambaud Marrion @emarrion_cmn