BBB Scam of the Week: Telemarketing Scam

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MONROE, La (KNOE) - • FTC charged Florida-based Pointbreak Media with operating a telemarketing scam
• Scam targeted small business owners with false threats of removal from Google's search engine
• And False promises of unique keywords to make the business appear prominently in search results
• Callers falsely claimed company represented Google, sought fees between $300 and $700 for first-page placement in online search results listings
• FTC also alleged the defendants wrote themselves $100 checks from over 250 businesses' checking accounts without the business owners' advance knowledge, consent, or authorization.
• Defendants robo called more than 74 million consumers

Courtesy: MGN Online

GMA This story is about targeting Small Business Owners and Impersonating GOOGLE, using robo caller and forging checks!
BBB At the Federal Trade Commission's request, a U.S. district court in Florida granted summary judgment against two individuals, approved six settlement agreements involving 11 defendants, and entered a default judgment against the remaining seven defendants, officially ending the massive Pointbreak Media robocall scheme.

• In May 2018, the FTC charged the Florida-based defendants with operating a telemarketing scam that targeted small business owners with false threats of removal from Google's search engine and False promises of unique keywords to make the business appear prominently in search results.

• The FTC also alleged the defendants wrote themselves $100 checks from over 250 businesses' checking accounts without the business owners' advance knowledge, consent, or authorization.

• The FTC amended its complaint in July 2018 to add two counts for violations of the Telemarketing Sales Rule, because the defendants robocalled more than 74 million consumers and called more than 14 million numbers on the national Do Not Call (DNC) Registry.

GMA What happens to the primary perpetrators in these cases?
BBB The summary judgment and other court orders announced today ban the defendants from such illegal robocalling and direct the scheme's main perpetrators, Dustin Pillonato and Justin Ramsey are to pay over $3.3 million. The settlements contain both injunctive and monetary relief, and are intended to remedy the illegal conduct alleged in the complaint. The court has now entered each of these orders as final. The actions announced today resolve the FTC's charges against all remaining defendants in this case.

GMA What about others involved?
BBB In March 2019, the following defendants entered into settlement agreements resolving the charges against them in the FTC's amended complaint:
1) Michael Pocker, Modern Spotlight LLC, Modern Spotlight Group LLC, and Modern Internet Marketing LLC;
2) Steffan Molina, Perfect Image Online LLC, and Pinnacle Presence LLC; and
3) Ricardo Diaz

GMA How does an FTC proposed order take effect?
BBB The FTC filed the proposed orders and motion for summary judgment in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
Stipulated final orders and judgments have the force of law when approved and signed by the District Court judge.

The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357).