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Telemarketing scam targets older people and veterans

Created date

January 9th, 2017
Beware of any random call you receive at home.

Beware of any random call you receive at home.

All scammers are rotten, but those who target seniors and veterans are particularly vile! The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) temporarily shut down an Arizona telemarketing operation that allegedly bilked thousands of vets and seniors out of $9 million with a phony investment scheme.

The scammers would cold-call consumers offering them an opportunity to buy or invest in e-commerce websites or websites that link to well-known sites such as Amazon.com. They promised lavish returns and assured skeptics that their investments were “risk-free” because the company offered a “100% money back guarantee.” 

Hollow assurances

Unsuspecting consumers made credit card payments ranging from a few hundred dollars to more than $20,000. During the first three months, consumers were constantly reassured that their investment was earning a substantial return that would be paid at the end of the quarter. This time frame conveniently benefitted the scammers because many credit card companies have a 90-day limit to dispute charges. 

Not surprisingly, the company ceased all communications after 90 days…and of course, not only did investors lose their investment, they didn’t earn a dime. 

Susan Rodriguez, Matthew Rodriguez, and William “Matt” Whitley operated the scam, doing business as at least six different corporations: Advertising Strategies, LLC; Internet Advertising Solutions, LLC; Internet Resource Group, Inc.; Network Advertising Systems, LLC; Network Professional Systems, LLC; and Network Solutions Group, Inc. Other business names associated with these three include Titan Income, Building Money Network, buildingmoney.cash, Prime Cash, primecash.net, Wyze Money, and wyzemoney.net. 

The trio is charged with violating the FTC Act and the Telemarketing Sales Rule, including calling numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry.

Beware of any random call you receive at home, especially if you have registered for the National Do Not Call Registry. (To file a complaint or register a phone number visit donotcall.gov). Ignoring the registry is a good indication that the caller is up to no good. 

Further, there’s the Business Opportunity Rule to protect consumers from these types of scams. Enforced by the FTC, the rule puts safeguards in place to make sure consumers have the information they need to determine if something is a sound investment or risky business.

Sellers covered by the rule must provide a one-page disclosure document outlining important facts about the opportunity. If they make any claims about how much money you might make, they must give you a separate paper with more specifics. 

There’s a lot of detailed information you should know before you make any investment. Find it on the FTC website here.

If you believe you have invested in a scam, contact the company and ask for a refund. Let the company know that you plan to notify law enforcement officials about your experience. If you can’t resolve the dispute with the company, file a complaint with the FTC on their complaint assistant page or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). You can also contact your state’s attorney general or the state attorney general where the company is located. Those contacts can be found at naag.org.  

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