The Whistleblower blog was started in 2008. Look for posts by these contributors: James Eli Shiffer, Jane Friedmann, Brandon Stahl, Eric Roper and Alejandra Matos. | Check out the Whistleblower archive.
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The company behind robocaller “Tom with home protection” has reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission for making illegal calls to millions of consumers on the National Do Not Call registry.
Versatile Marketing Solutions, based in Massachusetts, was banned from making “abusive” telemarketing calls or calling anyone on the Do Not Call registry after it called millions of consumers to pitch home security systems.
Versatile Marketing Solutions bought a list of phone numbers from a different company and did not check the numbers against the registry. Even after consumers complained about the calls, the FTC said the company continued to buy phone numbers from the same company.
A California company claiming to have discovered a “diabetes breakthrough” was fined $2.2 million for making deceptive claims, the Federal Trade Commission announced last week.
A federal judge in the Northern District of California found Wellness Support Network Inc. made deceptive claims when marketing its “diabetic pack” and “insulin resistance pack” of dietary supplements.
The FTC said the company claimed the diabetic pack was a treatment for diabetes, and the insulin resistance pack was a way of preventing diabetes. But the two packs contained identical blends of vitamins, minerals and plan extracts, according to the FTC.
The case is part of the FTC’s ongoing efforts to stop companies from making unsupported claims that natural remedies can cure serious diseases.
A Brooklyn Center woman faces criminal charges after being accused of posing as an Esurance agent and selling fake auto insurance policies, according to the Minnesota Department of Commerce.
Arlesia Shannell Robinson was charged with two counts of aggravated forgery in Hennepin County after the commerce’s fraud bureau alleged that Robinson was forging insurance documents and selling them for cash.
Robinson, who used the alias Amelia Hall, faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $40,000 fine. This is third suspected policy mill scam the department has charged in six months.
Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman said in a statement that consumers should always check the agency’s website to ensure their insurance agent is licensed in Minnesota.
United Credit Consultants was ordered to stop offering debt settlement services because it did not have the proper license, the Department of Commerce announced Monday.
A cease-and-desist order issued Friday said the Burnsville company “engaged in unregistered debt settlement services.”
The company, featured in Sunday’s Whistleblower column, says it has trained specialists that can help consumers remove unverifiable and inaccurate information from credit reports. Last month, UCC announced it would help consumers “settle or work out a payment” on debts.
UCC is licensed as a credit service organization but needs a separate license for debt settlement services. UCC owner Joseph McGlynn said late Monday that his company has applied for a Debt Settlement license.
The Federal Trade Commission and Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson have warned consumers to be careful when paying a company to help repair their credit.
On her website, Swanson says, “while credit scores can be improved, it is important not to use ‘credit repair’ companies. These companies offer to improve your credit score or lower your interest rates for a fee. Unfortunately, these companies hardly ever improve a consumer’s creditworthiness.”
But a local attorney told Whistleblower that credit repair companies may help consumers lower their debt or navigate the process of reporting errors to the FTC.
Have you ever used a credit repair company? Were you successful in resolving your issues? I’d like to hear from you. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 612.673.4028.
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