By Patricia Uceda, Fall 2014 Graduate Research Assistant
The FTC recently helped halt a telemarketing phishing scheme that was targeting senior citizens entitled to Medicare benefits. The telemarketers allegedly called consumers and stated that they were calling on behalf of Medicare and that they were providing information about Medicare benefits. They then asked to verify consumers’ identities through use of personal information, including bank account numbers, allegedly assuring consumers that the information was being only used to verify their identity, and they would not be charged for the information provided.
However, the telemarketers allegedly instead used the information to remotely create checks drawn from the consumers’ bank accounts. The amounts charged varied from $399 to $448. The FTC filed a complaint in U.S. District Court and has secured a temporary restraining order halting the scheme and freezing the defendants’ assets. The FTC seeks to permanently end the operation and return the victims’ money.