Cramming Scammers Apparently Spent All Their Money -- Paying Back 5% Of The Money Taken

from the that's-all-they-can-afford dept

We haven't heard much about cramming scams lately, but they still happen all the time. For those who don't know, cramming is when a third party company either illegally gets additional charges on your telephone bill or (more often) tricks you into agreeing to more charges on your phone bill. Four years ago, we wrote about some of the tricks used in cramming call centers, where they pretend they're just "verifying" information -- and then bundle a whole bunch of questions together, tricking people into saying yes to all of the questions, when they really mean to say yes to the last question. The companies later use those recordings (sometimes edited) to prove to people that they "approved" the charges and refuse to cancel the charges or refund the money. Various state governments and the FTC have tried cracking down on these companies for a while, and the FTC went after a bunch last summer -- which has resulted in a settlement. Unfortunately, while the companies took people for $24.7 million, they're only paying back $1.2 million (and not admitting any guilt). Apparently, the firms claim that the $1.2 million is all they can afford. Apparently lesson one if you're going to scam a bunch of people is to spend all that money before the authorities catch up with you.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
    identicon
    RandomThoughts, Aug 20th, 2007 @ 7:51am

    Thats a pretty good ROI. Who says crime doesn't pay?

     

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  2.  
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    Sefu, Aug 20th, 2007 @ 8:09am

    Crime does pay

    I'd take those kind of odds. And who went to jail. I know some young brothers that are doing 25 and 30 years for sticking up 7/11's and gas stations and all they maybe got was a coupla hundred. And these fools steal millions and don't do a day. Sorry to say but betcha they white guys.

     

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  3.  
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    Norm, Aug 20th, 2007 @ 8:12am

    Refund check tiggers charges

    I once saw a crammer work by sending what looked like a refund check for $1 to our company's Accounts Payable department. Rather than bothering to verify such a small check the clerk simply deposited it. On the back of the check is wording that said "By depositing this check you sign up for our service"

     

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  4.  
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    Sanguine Dream, Aug 20th, 2007 @ 8:14am

    Re: Crime does pay

    You shouldn't be sorry since more than likely it is true. Although I think it is not so much as race as it is class. The new freedoms you get when you have lots of money are amazing. Pay less taxes (if any at all), get the best lawyers, and jail time (if any is actually assigned) is optional appearantly.

     

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  5.  
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    Annon Cow, Aug 20th, 2007 @ 8:16am

    Re: Crime does pay

    Oh come on! Why do you have to play the race card? Money talks, and thats all that matters. If you've got the big bucks, it doesnt matter if you're a giant purple rat-man with 7 dill pickles hanging from your top lip, you can buy your way out of most trouble.

    It's attitudes like yours that keep racism alive in this country. GROW UP!

     

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  6.  
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    GoblinJuice, Aug 20th, 2007 @ 8:31am

    Re: Refund check tiggers charges

    Standard method. Haven't gotten one of those in looong time, tho.

     

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  7.  
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    GoblinJuice, Aug 20th, 2007 @ 8:31am

    Re: Crime does pay

    Progress takes time. =)

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2007 @ 9:05am

    Re: Crime does pay

    Sorry to say but betcha they white guys.
    You make it sound like white guys somehow smarter or sumthin. That not very nice thing to say.

     

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  9.  
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    OMG, Aug 20th, 2007 @ 9:36am

    re: crime does pay

    black ,white . rich , poor. People ITS A CRIME put them in jail. They did it in the ENRON fiasco so it can be done!!

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2007 @ 10:07am

    Re: Crime does pay

    Actually Sefu, they could easily be hispanic or Asian.

    Race aside, it really does become a class issue. Kinda sad that people changed the laws so that the US has actually classes when everyone is supposed to be 'equal'.

    Of course, the law makers all seem to be in the class that gets a tax break . . .

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2007 @ 10:10am

    It's a pretty poor comparison you are trying to make between armed robbery and cramming. While I agree it's quite weak that the crammers only pay back 5% of what they manipulated out of people, they didn't stick a gun in someone's face and have them empty the register. Direct violent behavior has an impact on sentencing (usually).

     

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  12.  
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    Reed, Aug 20th, 2007 @ 11:14am

    White collar crime pays, ohhh yeah!

    This is very typical for companies that scam people and then get busted. They rarely have to pay back anything but a fraction of what they stole and a few executives generally get to spend some time in federal prison. In federal prison they get out on the weekends for good behavior and can have things like microwaves and televisions in their cells (that's some real hard time there).

    Considering blue collar crime amounts to a small percentage of the money that is lost in white collar crime, it has always amazed me how easy we go on these guys that are literally costing our country an arm and a leg.

    Perhaps since they follow the greed above everything mantra, our government goes easy on them. After all, they are just repeating the same stuff they see perpetrated by big business and government everyday.

     

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  13.  
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    EW, Aug 20th, 2007 @ 11:25am

    +1 to Comment 11. Those "young brothers" are in prison for that long primarily because of the violence they threatened (or even committed), not the couple hundred dollars they stole.

     

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  14.  
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    RandomThoughts, Aug 20th, 2007 @ 12:04pm

    Actually, the country club prisons have pretty much gone away and any executive that gets any significant time won't be in a very nice place.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2007 @ 3:58pm

    Of course, you could ask the question, is preying on people's greed and stupidity a crime?

    Sure, it's not nice, in fact immoral, to take advantage of stupid people but every time one of these scams come to light everyone jumps on the bandwagon to condemn the scammers. Don't get me wrong, I don't condone what they do, but where are the comments about the personal responsibility of the "poor people" who got scammed? Seems these days nobody has to assume any personal responsibility for what they do, everything is always somebody else's fault. I don't have much time for scammers, they're arseholes, sure, but I don't have much respect either for somebody who, through greed and stupidity, allows themselves to be scammed.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2007 @ 8:53pm

    Re:

    I don't have much respect either for somebody who, through greed and stupidity, allows themselves to be scammed.
    Spoken like a true scammer.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2007 @ 9:04pm

    Re:

    Actually, the country club prisons have pretty much gone away and any executive that gets any significant time won't be in a very nice place.
    Damn, is there anybody with money you won't shill for? While they may not be very nice from an "executive" point of view ("What, no golf?"), the minimum security federal facilities these executives go to are still much nicer than the prisons for the less fortunate.

     

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  18.  
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    thecaptain, Aug 21st, 2007 @ 5:45am

    Apparently, the firms claim that the $1.2 million is all they can afford.

    Gee...I wish I could only get fines that I could afford when I get busted for something.

    "Well gollee judge...I know I was doing 100 in that 25 zone and that I parked illegally but I can only afford 40 cents today...what? That's ok? Here ya go!"

    Yeah...cracking down on crime alright.

    Stuff like this makes me sick.

     

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  19.  
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    RandomThoughts, Aug 21st, 2007 @ 6:44am

    Umm, AC, guidelines were changed and anyone that receives significant amount of prison time do not go to "camps" but go to regular federal prisons.

    Information hurts sometimes, doesn't it?

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 21st, 2007 @ 9:24am

    Re:

    Umm, AC, guidelines were changed and anyone that receives significant amount of prison time do not go to "camps" but go to regular federal prisons.
    While it is true that people serving life, or even very long, sentences don't usually do so in minimum security facilities, most white collar convicts aren't given such sentences in the first place. Hence, they avoid supermax.

    Information hurts sometimes, doesn't it?
    No, what hurts is misinformation. That's why I like to point it out when I see someone spreading it.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Responder, Jan 10th, 2011 @ 7:07am

    Re: Re: Crime does pay

    You wanna be equal? Look at what "equality" did to Russia... People should be careful what they ask for.

    People are people regardless of what color they are. Some are good people and some are bad people. Equal as in people are people is one thing.

    If I went to school to become a doctor or a lawyer and you finished high school and became and admin at your local construction company. I obviously make more because I've worked harder to get where I am.

    You get what you choose in this life. Granted many people are just handed things in life they don't necessarily deserve like Rev. Runs (from Run's house on MTV) daughters and their High End Clothing Store & Fashion House when they obviously didn't work for it.

    But their parents did well enough to give their children a chance to do something they couldn't. That's life... You want it, work for it...

    That's AMERICA... sure you can bit#h about not having it too that's also okay in AMERICA.

    But if you want to jump classes you have that option in AMERICA where as in places like India, the Middle East, & Parts of Asia, if you aren't born to a high class family you can't change your "fate".

    Sacrifice is the name of the game... Why can immigrants come to AMERICA and in the short span of a few years be successful? Because they are used to less! People shun those who live 10 people to a 1 bedroom apartment. To thwm it's luxury...

    At least they aren't crapping in the same hole, aren't getting wet from the rain, and have warm showers and plenty of food to eat while they save all of their money to invest in higher education or their very own business.

    The point in all of this is... With true equality Doctors are paid the same as bakers and shoe shiners. Look it up... liberal dogma always leads to socialism and its always sold to the lower classes as "equality". I'm considered lower class and I'm a mixed race it's not easy in this world... some people are Dicks but with sacrifice and work anyone can accomplish what they want... It's just that simple...!!

     

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