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David N. Kirkman
Task Force Alert
Asst Attorney General
Consumer Protection
NC Department of
P.O. Box 629
Raleigh, NC 27602

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North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services

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Alleged Wal-Mart Voucher Scammers
Temporarily Shut Down by Federal Government

In follow-up to an alert issued to Task Force members on June 10, 2005, the Federal Trade Commission last week obtained a nationwide restraining order shutting down Consumer Rewards Network, Inc. and other telemarketing firms that it accused of deceiving consumers with pitches about free store vouchers from Wal-Mart and other retailers. The FTC alleged that consumers were told they would receive free vouchers worth hundreds of dollars. It further alleged that the telemarketers then told consumers they needed to recite their bank account numbers so the costs of delivering the vouchers, typically $4.95, could be deducted from their accounts. Instead of being billed a few dollars for the delivery costs, the consumers' accounts allegedly were debited for several times that amount for enrollment in a merchandise buying program.

The United States District Court in Los Angeles issued the restraining order. In addition, in a case investigated by US Postal Inspectors, a federal court in Pennsylvania last week blocked a third party payment processing firm from debiting consumers' bank accounts on behalf of most "outbound" telemarketing firms. That company allegedly debited consumers' bank accounts on behalf of telemarketing firms that ran the above mentioned store voucher program.

Task Force member Dorothy Strickland investigated Consumer Rewards Network, Inc. last summer and helped North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper bring an enforcement action against that California telemarketing firm on August 30, claiming that it pitched the voucher scam. The state court promptly entered orders barring the firm and its agents from further activities in North Carolina. Information and court documents from that North Carolina proceeding were used in the two federal cases filed last week.

******End of Alert******

Last updated on November 25, 2009

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NC Senior Consumer
Fraud Task Force

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