FTC Returns More Than $5.4 Million to Victims of Massive Cramming Scam

The Federal Trade Commission is mailing 139,357 checks totaling more than $5.4 million to consumers and businesses who were victimized by a massive fraudulent operation that placed unwanted charges on their telephone bills.

In 2010, the FTC stopped the scam, which was led by an internet services company known as Inc21. The company enlisted a number of third-party billing aggregators to place charges on  phone bills. In most cases, the victims were either never contacted by the company, were deceived about why they had been contacted, or in fact declined the services for which they were eventually billed.  The FTC’s Criminal Liaison Unit cooperated with criminal law enforcement partners at the Department of Justice, the Internal Revenue Service, and United States Postal Inspection Service, leading to the prosecution and conviction of Inc21’s owners.

Consumers who receive the checks from the FTC’s refund administrator should deposit or cash them within 60 days of the mailing date.  The FTC never requires consumers to pay money or to provide information before refund checks can be cashed.  The average amount of the refunds will be approximately $39, however amounts will vary based on how much money was lost.

The checks will be mailed by Epiq Systems, Inc., who is the redress administrator for this matter. Consumers with questions about the redress, can contact Epiq Systems directly at 1-866-328-1992. More information about the FTC’s refunds program is available on the FTC’s website.        

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them.  To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).  The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.  The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.  Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

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