Were You a Victim of This $9M Telemarketing Scam? You May Get Paid Back
If you recently bought into an “investment opportunity” via a telemarketer who claimed to represent Amazon or the federal government, you may have been a victim of a scam.
On March 13, the Federal Trade Commission announced a settlement as the result of its complaint against six companies that allegedly worked together to scam consumers out of $9 million.
Were you one of the thousands affected by the scam?
How to Know If You’re a Victim of This Telemarketing Scam
This scam mostly targeted the elderly and military veterans living on fixed incomes. Many shelled out insane amounts of money -- some gave more than $20,000.
The telemarketing scheme was a classic one: Scammers convinced victims to transfer money to the accused companies via credit card under the false promise of huge returns on “risk-free” investments. These “investments” were in e-commerce websites, such as Amazon, or in profit-sharing programs with credit card companies.
Ninety days after victims sent money, the companies would cut off all communication and never give a penny of it back.
The following companies were involved in the scam, according to the FTC: Advertising Strategies LLC, Internet Advertising Solutions LLC, Internet Resource Group Inc., Network Advertising Systems LLC, Network Professional Systems LLC and Network Solutions Group Inc.
The accused companies have also operated under other names in the past, including: Titan Income, Building Money Network and buildingmoney.cash, Prime Cash and Primecash.net, Wyze Money and wyzemoney.net.
How to Get Your Part of the Settlement
If you believe you may be a victim of this telemarketing scam, you may be eligible for your share of the required $7.5 million payout.
According to FTC spokesman Frank Dorman, “those who lost money can expect to get some portion of it back.”
“As in most cases, it will be several months before it happens, as a redress administrator will be hired to identify them, obtain the money and send out checks,” Dorman said. “When that happens we’ll issue a news release.”
Victims won’t have to do anything on their end. The FTC will notify victims when it has determined it will recover part of their money.
To keep up with the latest news about consumer settlements and find out how to protect yourself from scams, follow the news and events section of the FTC’s website.
Your Turn: How do you stay safe from telemarketing scams?
Kelly Smith is a junior writer and engagement specialist at The Penny Hoarder. Catch her on Twitter at @keywordkelly.