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'Rachel from cardholder services' not such a friendly gal

The Federal Trade Commission has been on a mission to eliminate the robocall scams that are targeting consumers with debt. By bringing criminal charges against those who organize and operate the scams as well as finding technical solutions to the problem, the FTC hopes to help protect consumers.

Most recently, complaints were filed by the FTC against five companies operating out of Florida and Arizona that offer rate reductions and quick debt solutions for an upfront fee. "Rachel from Cardholder Services" is the most common caller in these illegal scams, and an operator that FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz has called "public enemy No. 1."

What these companies do is conduct robocalls to homes across the United States with false or ambiguous Caller IDs. When the consumer answers their telephone, they are prompted by Ms. Automated Rachel -- or another caller -- to "press 1" if they would like to talk to a live representative who can help them reduce debt quickly under new rates as low as 6 percent or even closer to zero.

Option number two is to "press 2" and remove your name from the list, but one knows that rarely happens, but your number has instead been designated as a working one with a living, breathing person on the other end.

What happens when the consumer chooses option number one? They do get a live operator who makes even more promises that can all be fulfilled once a "small" upfront fee is paid. This up-front fee can range anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to as high as $3,000 in the most recent cases. This may seem like a small price to pay to get rid of debt, but once this fee is paid the promises of debt reduction are left unfulfilled under anyone's standards.

The companies named in the most recent set of complaints by the FTC were Treasure Your Success, Ambrosia Web Design, A+ Financial Center LLC, Green Savers and Key One Solutions LLC.

Source: Tulsa World, "Debt-reduction photo solicitations often are scams," Phil Mulkins, Dec. 26, 2012

If you want a debt reduction plan that isn't full of empty promises but instead address the unique circumstances of your individual situation, our Tampa Debt page provides information about some of your options.

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