FTC Updates 42 Telemarketing Fraud Cases

The Federal Trade Commission issued details yesterday of recent developments in the 42 telemarketing fraud cases that were filed in 2003, underlining its ongoing battle against phone fraud.

The agency posted a list of the cases and a summary of each on its Web site, ftc.gov. The announcement came as the FTC prepares to begin active enforcement of sweeping new telemarketing regulations, including the national no-call list, starting Oct. 1.

The list of cases includes commonly cited types of telemarketing fraud, including alleged lottery scams, advance-fee credit card schemes and charity scams. Among the more high-profile cases are the following defendants:

· Efficient Telesales Services Inc., which agreed to a $1.3 million payment to settle a complaint alleging that it offered consumers advanced-fee credit cards for a $199 processing fee but sent them only packages with information on how to apply for credit cards.

· Greeting Cards of America Inc., which faces a complaint alleging that the company defrauded consumers of $3 million in a greeting-card business opportunity.

· Skybiz.com, which agreed to pay $20 million to compensate consumers as a result of a complaint alleging that the company ran an international pyramid scheme based in Tulsa, OK.

· Cross Media Marketing, which paid $350,000 to settle a complaint alleging that one of its business units deceptively marketed magazine subscription packages. The company subsequently entered bankruptcy proceedings and liquidated its assets.

For a list of the case summaries, go to ftc.gov/bcp/conline/edcams/telemarkfraudenforcement/tsrsummary.html.

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