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FTC Whacks "Rachel From Card Holder Services" 289

coondoggie writes "Just two weeks after it challenged the public to come up with a better technological way to stop incessant robocalling, the Federal Trade Commission pulled the plug on five mass calling companies it said were allegedly responsible for millions of illegal pre-recorded calls from 'Rachel' and others from 'Cardholder Services.' 'At the FTC, Rachel from Cardholder Services is public enemy number one,' said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz at the announcement of the cases."
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FTC Whacks "Rachel From Card Holder Services"

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  • by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Thursday November 01, 2012 @01:24PM (#41843907) Homepage

    Now, assuming we bust all 5 companies and take everything they have, is there any way to go after the owners personally for the frauds they've committed? Or is this going to be yet another instance of the all-too-common business plan:
    1. Set up a scam company.
    2. Scam people.
    3. Government busts the company, forces it into bankruptcy.
    4. Personally, you avoided punishment because it's limited liability.
    5. Profit!
    6. Repeat as many times as you like.

  • Yes! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anon-Admin ( 443764 ) on Thursday November 01, 2012 @01:34PM (#41844039) Journal

    I am so fed up of these calls as well as the collection companies trying to collect on debts from 20 years ago.

    I did find a way to get them to pull you from the list.

    1) Set up asterisks phone system.
    2) Record the three tone sound and message that is played when you call a number than no longer exists.
    3) Set the message played to a blocked caller in asterisks to be the recording of the tones with the message that the number no longer exists.
    4) Blacklist every one of those F***ERS

    When the system detects the tone it will remove your number from the list, Even if they have someone check the number it will play the "Has been disconnected or is no longer in service" message.

    It cut my calls down to maybe one a month getting through and I just hit *32 after they get through and add the new number to the black list.

  • by JBMcB ( 73720 ) on Thursday November 01, 2012 @01:36PM (#41844069)

    Limited liability only protects you from torts (some private person suing you personally for something your company does.) It doesn't shield you from criminal liability. If your company breaks the law, you are personally responsible, if it was your decision. This is why Bernie Madoff is in jail - his company was defrauding it's investors, but it was his decision to do so.

  • Re:Halleluja! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 01, 2012 @01:42PM (#41844147)

    There is a reason the numbers are always different.

    Not many know that caller ID is in no way reliable or secure. If you have a PRI/BRI/digital phone circut/whatever (Pretty much anything but an analog POTS line) you can specify the calling party number however you like. It doesn't even need to be a valid phone number! (It's fun to call your friends with the caller ID number of '666' and speak in a creepy voice)

    Legitimately, this is so you can treat your physical lines as an aggregate pool in a phone system so your user can have the correct caller ID from any outgoing line in the pool.

    Technically, however, it's illegal to spoof your caller ID for the purposes of evading identification. The caller ID number should resolve to something you can call back on. Either that, or it should report as caller ID blocked. (You can request that the phone company block all caller-id blocked calls.)

    Nowadays, the law (correctly, imo) pretty much makes running profitable robocall operations illegal. Since for-profit robocallers are now fly by night illegal operations anyway, they flaunt the caller ID spoofing laws.

  • by amicusNYCL ( 1538833 ) on Thursday November 01, 2012 @01:45PM (#41844179)

    All 5 cases are linked in the article. As to "when", the cases are dated today, the 1st. As to "how", the cases include things like temporary restraining orders, permanent injunctions, and asset freezes that the FTC is requesting from the court.

  • by amicusNYCL ( 1538833 ) on Thursday November 01, 2012 @01:48PM (#41844215)

    Take a look at the 5 cases, they are linked to in the article. I like this one:

    Federal Trade Commission, Plaintiff v. ELH Consulting, LLC, also d/b/a Proactive Planning Solutions; Purchase Power Solutions, LLC; Allied Corporate Connection, LLC; Complete Financial Strategies, LLC; 3Point14 Consulting, LLC, also d/b/a Elite Planning Group; Key Tech Software Solutions, LLC, also d/b/a Key One Solutions; Emory L. Holley IV a/k/a Jack Holley, individually and as the sole member of ELH Consulting, LLC; Lisa Miller, individually and as the sole member of Allied Corporate Connection, LLC, Complete Financial Strategies, LLC, and Purchase Power Solutions, LLC; Rares Stelea, individually and as the sole member of 3Point14 Consulting, LLC; and Justin Journay, individually and as the sole member of Key Tech Software Solutions, LLC, Defendants.

    Over the 5 cases, in addition to the various corporate entities they name 12 individuals.

  • by realityimpaired ( 1668397 ) on Thursday November 01, 2012 @02:04PM (#41844399)

    How can you spoof the caller ID anyway? I mean shouldn't the telephone company know the caller ID of whoever is initiating the call (to know where to send the invoice for the call)?

    They do know, when the call originates in their network. When it passes off to another network, they only know which network it came from, and who *that network* says it is. The honour system is what keeps ATT and Verizon (and so forth) from passing deliberately bad information between each other (and the threat of pissed off customers). That's how spoofing caller ID works... when you pass off into another network, give them bad information about the identity. If the call originates from a VOIP phone, especially an international VOIP phone, then there isn't much control over what information gets passed to your local carrier. And you can't simply block all VOIP lines, because there are legitimate VOIP carriers in the market, too.

    Obligatory disclaimer: I work for a phone company, though in a different LOB.

  • by John Hasler ( 414242 ) on Thursday November 01, 2012 @02:31PM (#41844733) Homepage

    > This means that the LLCs have no money on purpose.
    > They will just close them down and open under new names.

    Look up "piercing the corporate veil". Not to mention that the FTC can refer the cases to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution (the FTC itself has no criminal authority).

  • Although... (Score:5, Informative)

    by msauve ( 701917 ) on Thursday November 01, 2012 @03:00PM (#41845103)
    perhaps there's some vigilante justice out there.

    According the the complaint, one of the companies was run by Christopher L Miano and Dana M Miano, and operated as A+ Financial, out of 10258 S US Highway 1, Port Saint Lucie, FL. The other companies were created and run by Willy Plancher and Valbona Toska, and was in the Longwood/Winter Park/Altamonte Springs, Florida area. Their last known address was 383 Emerson Plaza, Suite 416, Altamonte Springs, FL.
  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Thursday November 01, 2012 @03:04PM (#41845157)

    That only works within the local POTS network. If the call originates from a different exchange, they don't know the source number, only the exchange it came from.

    E911 services are not intended to be used across exchanges. When you call 9-1-1, you get routed to the dispatch center local to your exchange.

"It takes all sorts of in & out-door schooling to get adapted to my kind of fooling" - R. Frost