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Telemarketing Scam Stole Money from Older Consumers
Tuesday, October 7, 2014 6:30 AM

At the Federal Trade Commission's request, a federal court halted a telemarketing scheme that tricked senior citizens by pretending to be part of Medicare—but not before scammers took millions of dollars from consumers' bank accounts without their consent. As part of its ongoing work to protect every community from fraud, the FTC seeks to permanently end the operation and return victims' money.

According to the FTC, scammers claimed to be calling to verify information for a new Medicare card or Medicare-related package and required people's identities, including the consumers' bank account numbers. Scammers told people that the information would not be used to debit their bank accounts and that there were no charges for their services. But within a month or two, victims learned their bank accounts had been debited, often for $400 or more.

The FTC filed the complaint, under seal, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida. On September 4, 2014, the court entered a temporary restraining order halting the defendants' deceptive scheme and freezing the defendants' and relief defendants' assets.

No matter your age, you may know someone who has been scammed by telemarketing fraud. They may not talk about it, but the statistics do. The good news is, you can do something about it. Let older consumers know to never give out their bank account information to someone who contacts them over the phone. It could lead to a scammer taking money right out of their account.