On Monday, June 29, 2015, the Florida Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) obtained an ex parte temporary restraining order from a federal court for the Middle District of Florida to shut down the operations of a Florida corporation operating in violation of the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule. Under the Telemarketing Sales Rule, randomly conducted robocalls offering products or services are illegal. According to the complaint filed by the FTC and the Flrodia AG, the corporation’s calls allegedly also violated Florida’s Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Act as well as the FTC’s Do Not Call Registry.
The complaint alleges that since 2011, the corporation has been conducting robocalls to thousands of individuals offering debt relief services, and promising savings of $2,500. Individuals would purportedly receive a prerecorded phone call offering debt relief services. Once the individual had pressed a number on their phone, they would then be connected to a live representative. Live representatives allegedly claimed to be representatives from particular credit card companies or banks. Consumers were then asked for their credit card information as well as their social security numbers. These services would cost between $300 and $4,999, however, were allegedly never provided. The corporation would instead allegedly use consumers’ information to open new credit cards, or send consumers a package of financial education information.
The FTC also alleged that the calls targeted seniors on fixed incomes. The court granted the request for the temporary restraining order to stop the illegal phone calls of the corporation. The court also entered a temporary restraining order freezing the corporation’s assets, and appointed a receiver over the business.