Telemarketing Software Featured Article

Fraudulent Debt Scheme Directed at Spanish Speaking Consumers

November 03, 2017
By Mandi Nowitz - Web Editor

Telemarketing fraud schemes are impacting everyone. Just last month, President Donald Trump signed a bill protecting elders from telemarketing and email fraud. This bill protects from victimization that has caused exorbitant monetary damage and possible identity theft. But, these scams are far from over.

This week, Centro Natural, LLC was accused of violating the Telemarketing Sales Rule, the Do Not Call Registry, the FTC (News - Alert) Act, and the Fair Debt Collect Practices. Act. The FTC claims Centro Natural targeted Spanish speaking consumers, claiming they owed non-existent debts. These claims garnered more than $2 million dollars from fraudulent claims.

Legitimate debt collectors are permitted to phone consumers in an attempt to collect funds owed but Centro Natural specifically went after Spanish speaking customers. The company’s representatives phoned consumers, claiming they were from the court system, government, or lawyers. They would say a debt of approximately $9,000 could be settled by purchasing $350-500 of products. These debts were non-existent.

               Image via Bigstock

By declining the offer to settle, the customer was threatened with arrests and an ICE visit. According to the protections enforced by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, debt collectors are not legally allowed to threaten customers, even if a debt is legitimately owed. 

When customers would tell Centro representatives to stop calling or would hang up, they would become inundated with calls. Additionally, customers would be aggressively cursed at so the harassment was beyond extreme. Cursing, harassment, and abuse are under the protections of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Telemarketing Sales Rule, and the Do Not Call Registry.

Refunds totaled $279,134.90 and the first batch of checks were mailed out a year ago. An additional 2,158 checks were just sent out by the FTC but these checks must be cashed within 60 days so keep time sensitivity in mind.

There are ways to stay vigilant when it comes to telemarketing fraud. Ask the debt collector to send verification of said debt to your address or request that the collector only communicates with you via mail. Always have a paper trail and pay what you believe you owe.

Any questions related to Centro Natural, LLC refunds should be directed to the refund administrator at 1-888-449-3585.

Edited by Maurice Nagle