A federal court has stopped the operations and froze the assets of a national debt relief telemarketing business that is under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission and the state of Florida.
The defendants, including Steven Short, Karissa Dyar and their businesses, used a variety of phony business names with associated websites to call consumers with credit card debt and falsely promise that, for an upfront fee, they would save people thousands of dollars by reducing their credit card interest rate, the FTC said in a press release Tuesday. The average fee ranged from $695 to $1,495. The consumer was promised a refund if the company failed to get results, the FTC said.
The telemarketers identified themselves as being with card services, credit services and card member services, telling consumers that they had their personal information, such as the consumers amount of card debt, to win their trust, according to a complaint filed in June in a U.S. District Court in Florida.
The defendants claimed that they had a business relationship with the consumers lenders. Consumers did not receive the promised results or refunds, the FTC said in its release.
The complaint claims that Short and Dylar participated in a similar scam, Pro Credit Group, that was shut down in 2013 by the court following an FTC action.
The defendants allegedly violated the FTC Act, the FTCs Telemarketing Sales Rule and the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, the FTC said.
The other defendants include E.M. Systems & Services, Administrative Management & Design, Empirical Data Group Technologies, Epiphany Management Systems and KLS Industries. The complaint also names Christopher Miles and his telemarketing company, One Easy Solution.