Every day someone is trying out a new scheme to swindle consumers out of their hard-earned money. Although many of these attempts are unsuccessful, there are a few that result in an individual losing hundreds and even thousands of dollars. Over time, there has been more education about internet and telephone scams to keep individuals from falling for them, but there are still millions of individuals who are prime targets for telemarketing and debt collection schemes due to their perceived susceptibility.
The elderly are often among the most sought-after by scammers and fraudsters as they see them as an easy target for multiple reasons, but they are not alone. Spanish speakers are the latest prime targets of debt collection schemes. One debt collector, in particular, was able to defraud Spanish-speaking individuals out of over $2 Million.
Debt Collector Targets Hispanics
Centro Natural Corp. and Sumore LLC operates out of Davie, Florida with a majority Hispanic management team. The employees of this non-accredited collection agency used international telemarketers to contact Spanish-speaking consumers and demand them to pay fake debts. The telemarketers claimed to be government officials and would inform the individual of a phony debt that was roughly $9,000. They would then instruct the “debtor” to purchase a box of supplies for anywhere between $350 and $500 to satisfy that debt.
Those who declined to make the payment were threatened with incarceration and a visit from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The scheme affected 3,446 individuals. A settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) banned Centro Natural Corp and Sumore LLC from telemarketing and debt collection. The settlement totaled to just over $830,000 with each victim receiving $240.95.
How to Protect Yourself from Telemarketing Schemes
The FTC released a statement saying that “The FTC never requires people to pay money or provide account information to cash refund checks.” It is also important to know that regulations in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) safeguard all consumers from harassment from debt collectors and telemarketers. These restrictions disallow debt collectors from threatening you with jail time, calling you multiple times a day, misrepresenting themselves or the amount owed, and many other invasive tactics.
The Florida TCPA attorneys at The Law Offices of Jibrael S. Hindi are here to protect your rights. Whether it be a scam or debt you legally owe, debt collectors do not have the freedom to invade your privacy to fulfill payment. Our attorneys will fight to ensure that they are held responsible for their illegal practices. Contact us today at 844-JIBRAEL for your free case evaluation.