Friday, October 26, 2012

Account Services Phishing Scam

I have been receiving more and more calls from a party that describes themselves as "Credit Card Services" or "Account Services".  They claim that they are reducing the credit card interest rate that I am paying on my credit cards.  They want me to supply them with information on my credit cards, my social security number and date of birth, as well as the specific credit cards that I have.
I have explained to them that there is no way that I am going to give someone who calls me out of the blue and asks me for that kind of information until I have confidence that they are a bona fide organization that can be trusted. They either try to argue the point or hang up. Oftentimes, they call, do not leave a message (I know it is them because they have the same telephone number as when I have actually spoken to them). I have called back some of the telephone numbers that have been left in my recent calls list to find out that it is usually a non functioning number.   In the instances where the number was functioning it was some unsuspecting person who had no idea what was going on.

Today I received one such call. I did a reverse search on the number in Boston MA and it is Investor Group Services.  I went to their website and found the following message.

Investor Group Services, LLC
855 Boylston Street, 10th Floor
Boston, MA 02116
NOTICE: IGS has been targeted by a caller-ID spoofing scam. A company that is NOT Investor Group Services has been calling consumers using our phone number with a fraudulent offer. Investor Group Services, LLC is NOT affiliated in any way with these calls that are being made.
We are working urgently with our carrier to resolve the issue and have reported this fraud to the FTC and the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. We encourage you to call your phone carrier to report these calls. We apologize for this inconvenience.

I have filed complaints with the FTC already, but I do not think it will do much good since the numbers are fraudulent.

I am going to list the telephone numbers that I think are associated with this scam:

617 371 4000 Boston MA
701 671 9447 Wahpeton, ND
843-619-3526  Charleston, SC

405-568-0145 OK

I am discontinuing listing the numbers since I have now received a few dozen different numbers.

I have found an interesting website called  If you go to this site and click on REPORT SPAM in the upper right corner, then put the telephone number into the search window they return any comments that have been left by others who want to leave messages about the telephone number (presumedly that the number originated some sort of spam or whatever).  It is mostly reporting companies like this one, or the like, but it at least gives you a better snapshot of what is going on.  Perhaps with more input to sites like this the FTC can actually follow up and catch these low lives.

I have continued to get telephone calls from this organization. I have adopted the following method for dealing with them. I do not answer the call if I do not recognize the area code. I then check the number by doing a Google search on the number.  It usually shows up as an Account Services number.
I have now written an email to the FTC about all this. The email follows:


I want to discuss with you what the FTC is doing about a very pervasive problem with unsolicited calls from a very unscrupulous party.
In my case I get about 30-50 calls a month from an outfit that calls themselves either "Credit Card Services" or "Account Services".
It is a recorded message that makes out like they are my credit card company and they are going to reduce the rate of finance charges on my credit cards. By pressing key one you get connected to a live service representative. I know that this is a scam and I do not give them personal information, but obviously this would not persist if they were not successful a small percentage of the time.
I have tried a variety of things to get them to stop calling me.
     1. I am registered on the Do not Call list
     2. I have asked them to put me on their do not call list
     3. I have filed complaints with the specific number that called me with the FTC
     4. I have investigated the number that has called me by calling that number and in ALL cases the number displayed is not the number that called me. They have hijacked the phone number
     5. I have tried to convince them that I do not have any credit cards
     6. I have told them that I am not going to provide information to someone who calls me, but rather only if I can call them.  They usually hang up on that request.
     7. I have tried to play along giving them false information, but this usually falls apart when it comes to the actual credit card number, since I do not know any valid credit card numbers that are not real.
     8. I have even just trying to use up their time so that they have less time to scam others.

The number that appears on my caller ID for these calls is usually the same for about a week, then it goes on to the next number, so they are obviously trying to stay one step ahead of anyone trying to investigate them. I can provide some of these numbers should you want them, but I think they must be worthless hijacked numbers.

Clearly, there is something that can be done here to catch these slimy operators. At a minimum a sting operation could be set up where a good credit card number that is provided by the credit card companies is used and then track the use of that card to nab them.
I have looked on line to see if others are experiencing this same problem and it is clearly the case. There are thousands of people who are getting these calls. 
I should think that this would fit into the scope of activities that you are interested in halting.
I would be more than happy to be the straw man for the sting operation since they obiously have my number on their call list.
Resolving this matter would solve three distinct problems for telephone customers:
     1. it would reduce the number of minutes we are using on our cell phones each month and therefore potentially reduce our telephone bills.
     2. It would reduce the amount of wasted time that we spend answering these useless calls.
     3. it would reduce fraud with the illicit use of the credit card numbers they actually collect from unsuspecting marks.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.


I just found this press release at the FTC website:

For Release: 02/08/2012

FTC Shuts Down Robocallers Who Claimed to Reduce Credit Card Interest Rates

Marketers Settle Charges They Deceived More Than 13,000 Consumers

The Federal Trade Commission has reached a settlement with four of the defendants in an allegedly phony debt relief services operation that claimed that, for $995, it would dramatically reduce consumers' credit card interest rates. Under the settlement, reached as part of the FTC's continuing efforts against frauds that target financially strapped consumers, the defendants will be banned from robocalling consumers and from selling debt relief services. The operation, based in Canada and New York, used telemarketing boiler rooms in Orlando, Florida, to defraud consumers. Although the defendants operated under several different names, they often used "AFL Financial Services," or variations of the name "AFL."
According to the FTC's complaint, F&F Payment Processing Inc., Bajada Management Group Inc., Baird B. Fisher, Jacqueline M. Fisher, and others used illegal robocalls and falsely promised refunds to consumers if they did not save at least $2,500 as a result of lowered credit card interest rates. Based on records obtained by the FTC, the operation took in over $13 million from more than 13,000 consumers. When the case was filed, the court halted the operation and froze the defendants' assets pending a trial.
As alleged in the complaint, the defendants claimed they would negotiate lower credit card interest rates. At most, the defendants sometimes telephoned credit card issuers and attempted to conduct three-way calls among the credit card company, the consumer, and one of the defendants' so-called financial representatives. Often the defendants did not make these calls at all. When they did, the calls were unsuccessful. Some credit card issuers refused to participate in the calls as a matter of policy. Instead of a reduction in interest rates, consumers, who were already in dire financial straits, found themselves saddled with an additional $995 credit card charge.
In addition to banning the defendants from delivering prerecorded messages and selling debt relief services, the proposed settlement order permanently prohibits the companies and their owners from:
  • making misrepresentations about any goods or services, including anyone's ability to obtain a loan modification or improve a consumer's credit rating;
  • misrepresenting the terms of any refund or cancellation policy, affiliation with any government or non-profit program, or that a consumer will receive legal representation;
  • violating the FTC's Telemarketing Sales Rule;
  • illegally calling numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry, or abandoning calls without involving a live operator; and
  • failing to transmit caller identification, and failing to disclose the seller's identity and the call's purpose.
In addition, the settlement prohibits the defendants from selling or otherwise benefitting from customers' personal information, from failing to properly dispose of customers' personal information within 30 days, and from failing to monitor sales personnel for compliance with the order. The order also imposes a judgment of more than $13.1 million, which will be suspended upon payment of $159,000 by the defendants who are part of the settlement. Additional funds are expected from the court-appointed receiver's sale of the defendants' assets in the U.S. The full judgment will become due immediately if the defendants are found to have misrepresented their financial condition or fail to meet the terms of the order. The other four defendants named in the complaint are in default.
The FTC brought this case in cooperation with the Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario, Civil Remedies for Illicit Activities Office. The Ministry simultaneously filed a separate lawsuit in Ontario seeking assets for consumer redress to victims in the United States and Canada.
The FTC also worked cooperatively with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Toronto Strategic Partnership in bringing this case. The Toronto Strategic Partnership members include the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Competition Bureau Canada, the Toronto Police Service Fraud Squad - Mass Marketing Section, the Ontario Provincial Police Anti-Rackets Section, the Ontario Ministry of Consumer Services, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the United Kingdom's Office of Fair Trading.
The FTC thanks Bank of America and the Better Business Bureau for their assistance.
The Commission vote approving the proposed consent order was 4-0. The order was entered by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division on January 25, 2012.
NOTE: This consent order is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by the defendants that the law has been violated. Consent orders have the force of law when approved and signed by the District Court judge.
The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC's online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC's website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
Frank Dorman
Office of Public Affairs
(FTC File No. X110003)

Also, Dated Feb. 2011 I found this note. Obviously they have not solved the problem yet.

Credit Card Interest Rate Reduction Scams

Voice mail boxes across the nation are being clogged with prerecorded phone calls from companies that claim to be able to negotiate significantly lower interest rates with your credit card issuers if you just pay them a fee first.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation's consumer protection agency, says consumers who get these interest rate reduction robocalls should listen to them with extreme skepticism, and delete them. Many are scams.
The companies behind the sales pitches claim to have special relationships with credit card issuers. They guarantee that the reduced rates they offer will save you thousands of dollars in interest and finance charges, and will allow you to pay off your credit card debt three to five times faster. They claim that the lower interest rates are available for a limited time and that you need to act now. Some even use money-back guarantees as further enticement.
The FTC says that the companies behind these robocalls can't do anything for you that you can't do for yourself — for free. You have just as much clout with your credit card issuer as these companies, and you are just as likely to get turned down for a rate reduction regardless of their promises or supposed efforts to negotiate on your behalf. Indeed, FTC investigators found that people who pay for these services don't get the touted interest rate reductions, don't save the promised amounts, don't pay off their credit card debt three to five times faster, and struggle to get refunds.
Amendments to the FTC's Telemarketing Sales Rule prohibit companies that sell relief services like these rate reduction scams on the phone from charging a fee before they settle or reduce your debt. If you do business with a debt relief company, you may be required to put money in a dedicated bank account, which will be administered by an independent third party. The account administrator may charge you a reasonable fee, and is responsible for transferring funds from your account to pay your creditors and the debt settlement company when settlements occur.

Protect Yourself

The FTC says that if you’re looking to reduce the interest rate you’re paying on your credit card purchases, your best bet is to handle it yourself for free: call the customer service phone number on the back of your credit card and ask for a reduced rate. Be calm, patient and persistent. And if you are tempted by the promises in a rate reduction robocall, the FTC says hold off — and hang up.
  • Don’t give out your credit card information. Once a scammer has your data, they can charge your credit card for their own purchases or sell the information to other scammers.
  • Don’t share other personal financial or sensitive information like your bank account or Social Security numbers. Scam artists often ask for this information during an unsolicited sales pitch, and then use it to commit other frauds against you.
  • Be skeptical of any unsolicited sales calls that are prerecorded, especially if your phone number is on the National Do Not Call Registry. You shouldn’t get recorded sales pitches unless you have specifically agreed to accept such calls, with a few exceptions.
  • If your number is on the National Do Not Call Registry, a telemarketer may call you only if you have agreed to accept calls from the company the salesperson works for, if you have bought something from the company within the last 18 months, or if you have asked the company for information within the last three months.
  • To report violations of the National Do Not Call Registry or to register your phone number, visit 
    or call 1-888-382-1222.

File a Complaint

If you think you’ve experienced a credit card interest rate reduction scam, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).
If your credit card has been charged for a service you didn’t order, authorize or receive, and you can’t get a refund, dispute the transaction with your credit card company. First call to try to stop the payment, and then follow up in writing. Under the Fair Credit Billing Act, you have the right to dispute charges for any service you didn’t get or any transaction you didn’t authorize.
This article was previously available as Credit Card Interest Rate Reduction Scams

I have now found another site with interesting information I will attach it here.

The FCC has temporarily halted 7 minor unprofitable boiler rooms who will receive a slap on the wrist and be back at it within a few days. In the meantime the calls will continue since they are making money with what is called a CNAM revenue-sharing program through companies like and

In their own words:  'Every day your company makes thousands of outbound phone calls. Every one of those calls generates revenue for many companies, why not yours? Our CNAM revenue-sharing program helps you make money every time a Caller ID request is made by a phone carrier. A high-traffic call center can lose hundreds to thousands of dollars a day to phone carriers by allowing them to charge for access to your own data.'

You can now see why the criminals keep calling even though they know you won't fall for their scam. They are making money even if you don't answer the phone. If someone does make the mistake of answering the phone and falling for their scam then it is just icing on the cake for them. These people are the lowest form of filth on this planet.

What To Do When You Get an Illegal Robocall;

1.    Hang Up. Do not press 1 or any other numbers to get off the list and NEVER call them back
2.    Consider blocking the number or on a cell phone add it to a contact list and assign NO ring tone
3.    Report it at
4.    Report it at
5.    People should continually file complaints with their Attorney Generals office
6.    Report any criminal activity to the FBI here:

This is an all out attack from these scum sucking filthy pigs! EVERYONE should be reporting them everywhere that they can. Since this is an obvious attempt at identity theft and is interstate, the FBI should be forced to get involved. Charge them with a CRIMINAL offense and throw them in prison instead of the FCC saying 'Naughty - naughty, now go out and play nice'. (Prosecute them in criminal court instead of civil penalties).

Register your phone numbers online at or call (888) 382-1222 (must call from # you want removed).

There is a blog site that has information on one of these operations:

Please read the blog and report violations to the proper authorities.

Many of these calls are coming from Costa Rica and India and they are using spoofed (false) numbers, which in itself is illegal. They do cold calling for or sell the leads to numerous companies in this country and they all know that what they are doing is illegal. Tomorrow this same number may be selling Cruises, Timeshares or Security Systems but if you follow the money it usually ends up in the hands of an American LLC.

Most of the inbound robo call numbers are spoofed, as most of the bolierhouses, both off and on shore, are using Voip SIP Trunks services. Throwaway DID numbers are also used. Some of the robocalling is operated by the end use scammers directly. Others are contract services who earn a referral fee once you are transferred to the scammers.

The criminals behind this operation aren't going to pay attention to you asking to be removed from their list. Their calls cost them almost nothing and they make millions of them so they have no intention of ever removing someone. When you press a key to talk to them all that is accomplished is to verify that they have a working number.

Unfortunately blowing an air horn or whistle doesn't work either. Their headset have noise dampeners plus they are expecting it. However with that said if it makes you feel better then by all means give it a shot.

The banking system is also at fault here, without merchant accounts and ACH processing these criminals could not collect the scammed funds. Though the criminals use obfuscation, layered corporations, multiple bank accounts and offshore stashing, patterns of obvious fraudulent activity become apparent after a very short time.

This is an all out attack from these scum sucking filthy pigs! EVERYONE should be reporting them everywhere that they can. Since this is an obvious attempt at identity theft and is interstate, the FBI should be forced to get involved. Charge them with a CRIMINAL offense and throw them in prison instead of the FCC saying 'Naughty - naughty, now go out and play nice'. (Prosecute them in criminal court instead of civil penalties).

If you want to stop these calls then you need to dry up their revenue source. Your phone company is charging you a fee for Caller ID. Your phone company pays the scammer for sending their Caller ID information. Your phone company pays only a fraction of a cent per call and you pay your phone company to have the Caller ID displayed. The scammers send out millions of calls which amounts to a significant amount of money however your phone company is charging a large amount to millions of customers. This may have something to do with the phone companies inability to stop these calls.

In order to stop this we need legislation making it illegal to charge for caller ID. If a phone service wishes to operate it would need to provide the Caller ID at no charge as part of the service. Here is the $50,000 solution that the FCC is looking for and it doesn't cost anything.

There is an excellent blog site that I found that explains how one company is getting away with this activity.

At the height of this telephone debacle it's been said that Rachel was making 27 calls a second, which is a whopping 2.4 million calls in a single day!


This is an all out attack from these scum sucking filthy pigs! EVERYONE should be reporting them everywhere that they can. Since this is an obvious attempt at identity theft and is interstate, the FBI should be forced to get involved. Charge them with a CRIMINAL offense and throw them in prison instead of the FCC saying 'Naughty - naughty, now go out and play nice'.

Advance Fee Fraud ... -fee-fraud.html

Advance fee fraud, also called upfront fee fraud, is any scam that, in exchange for a fee,

 Promises to send you money, products, or services.

 Offers you the opportunity to participate in a special deal;

 Asks for your assistance in removing funds from a country in political turmoil; or

  Asks for your assistance to help law enforcement catch thieves.

Whatever the scammers call the upfront fees (membership fee, participation fee, administrative or handling fee, taxes) all have one thing in common: the victims never see their money, or the scammers, again. Advance fee schemes come in many forms. We have provided some examples here. For more information, you can also visit the Federal Trade Commission Web site and perform a key word search.

Debt Elimination Fraud

Unlike legitimate companies who work with debtors to help them responsibly repay their debts, debt elimination scammers promise to make you debt free in exchange for a modest upfront or membership fee that they simply pocket. Victims pulled in by these schemes will certainly lose that fee, but they may also lose property, incur additional debt, damage their credit rating, risk identity theft, or face legal action. To learn more, read Answers about Debt Elimination and Fraudulent Schemes ... e-quesindx.html or visit the Bureau of Consumer Protection on the Federal Trade Commission Web site

Nigerian Fraud

This fraud combines identify theft and advance fee fraud. Scammers posing as government officials contact victims asking for help in transferring millions of dollars out of Nigeria in exchange for a percentage of the funds. They convince victims to provide their bank name and account numbers and other identifying information and to send checks to pay for bribes or legal fees. Perpetrators may also use the personal information received to drain victims' accounts and credit cards. The Nigerian government is not sympathetic to victims who, by participating in this scheme, violate both Nigerian and U.S. law. Read more about this and other common fraud schemes on the Federal Bureau of Investigation Web site

From the FBI website: ... -2010-2011#Mass

Mass Marketing Fraud

General Overview

Mass marketing fraud is a general term for frauds which exploit mass-communication media, such as telemarketing, mass mailings, and the Internet. Since the 1930s, mass marketing has been a widely accepted and exercised practice. Advances in telecommunications and financial services technologies have further served to spur growth in mass marketing, both for legitimate business purposes as well as for the perpetration of consumer frauds. They share a common theme: the use of false and/or deceptive representations to induce potential victims to make advance fee-type payments to fraud perpetrators. Although there are no comprehensive statistics on the subject, it is estimated mass marketing frauds victimize millions of Americans each year and generate losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The following is a brief description of some of the key concepts and schemes associated with the mass marketing/advance fee fraud crime problem.

Advance Fee Fraud: This category of fraud encompasses a broad variety of schemes which are designed to induce their victims into remitting upfront payments in exchange for the promise of goods, services, and/or prizes.

The predominantly transnational nature of the mass marketing fraud crime problem presents significant impediments to effective investigation by any single agency or national jurisdiction. Typically, victims will reside in one or more countries, perpetrators will operate from another, and the financial/money services infrastructure of numerous additional countries are utilized for the rapid movement and laundering of funds. For these reasons, the FBI is uniquely positioned to assist in the investigation of these frauds through its network of legal attaché (legat) offices located in over 60 U.S. Embassies around the world. By leveraging its global presence and network of liaison contacts, the FBI has successfully cooperated with other domestic and foreign law enforcement agencies to combat, disrupt, and dismantle international mass marketing fraud groups. The FBI participates in the International Mass Marketing Fraud Working Group (IMMFWG), a multi-agency working group established to facilitate the multi-national exchange of information and intelligence, the coordination of cross-border operational matters, and the enhancement of public awareness of international mass marketing fraud schemes. The current membership of the IMMFWG consists of law enforcement, regulatory, and consumer protection agencies from seven countries, including Australia, Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Nigeria, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Despite the best interagency enforcement efforts to combat mass marketing fraud, the FBI remains cognizant of the fact that the only enduring remedy for this crime problem lies in consumer education and fraud prevention programs. Toward this end, the FBI has not only produced its own mass marketing fraud prevention materials, but coordinates on other public information efforts with the DOJ, FTC, and the USPIS, among others. The FBI also supports a consumer fraud prevention website in conjunction with the USPIS which can be located on the web at: Additionally, further information on mass marketing fraud schemes can be found at,,, and

What To Do When You Get an Illegal Robocall;

1.    Hang Up. Do not press 1 or any other numbers to get off the list and NEVER call them back
2.    Consider blocking the number or on a cell phone add it to a contact list and assign NO ring tone
3.    Report it at
4.    Report it at
5.    People should continually file complaints with their Attorney Generals office
6.    Report any criminal activity to the FBI here:

There is a blog site that has information on one of these operations:

Please read the blog and report violations to the proper authorities.

No comments:

Post a Comment