Rachel from cardholders services-phone spoofing-telemarketing-Do Not Call Registry-Federal Trade Commission
No getting rid of Rachel from cardholder services
January 24, 2015  //  By:   //  Consumer News  //  No Comment

by Carol Thompson

Getting rid of Rachel from Cardholder Services is seemingly impossible as she has new tricks up her sleeve- spoofing local cell phone numbers.

Michael Burns was shocked when he was on vacation in Germany and his cell phone kept ringing with angry callers asking why he was blowing out their phones with telemarketing calls.

The upstate New York resident said he was dumbfounded. “I was overseas and all these calls from angry people in the U.S. were costing me a fortune,” he said. “After the second call, I figured out that my cell phone number had been spoofed.”

When Burns arrived back in the states, he called his cell phone service provider, who offered little remedy. “They said there was really nothing they could do but offer to change my number and not charge me.”

Those who had been targeted by the spoofed calls were from his local area code, making it more likely that the call wouldn’t be ignored.

Rachel of Cardholder Services has been the nightmare of the Federal Trade Commission, who went so far as to sponsor a contest for techies who could come up a solution to block or catch the culprits behind the calls. Many unscrupulous companies use the same recording, making it next to impossible to stop.

The calls are difficult to block because multiple numbers are used and it does no good to press “1” to speak with a representative to inform him or her that you’re on the Do Not Call Registry. The representative will simply hang up and the calls will continue from a different number.

There’s also an option to press “2” to stop the calls, but the calls continue.

Those falling for the scam, offering to lower their credit card interest rate, are asked to provide their credit card and social securities numbers- a red flag that points to potential identity theft. Callers are also asked to send in fee, ranging from several hundred dollars to $3,000, for the service.

The Federal Trade Commission has shut down a number of Rachel telemarketing firms but more keep popping up. The agency has dubbed Rachel as “public enemy number 1.”

While to some it may seem that the Do Not Call Registry doesn’t work, since 2009 when all telemarketing robocalls were made illegal, the FTC says it has stopped one billion calls, imposed $117 million civil penalties on violators and recovered $28.2 million for consumers who were defrauded.

The agency receives approximately 150,000 complaints per month pertaining to Rachel.

For Burns, he’s no longer receiving calls from angry people. “It was a relief when it stopped. I can only hope it doesn’t ever happen again,” he said.

Image: Flickr/Sean MacEntee

 

 

About the Author :

Carol Thompson is a veteran investigative reporter residing in central New York. She spent 23 years with a local newspaper, The Valley News, before leaving for the Syracuse New Times, and now, VNN. Thompson has won dozens of first-place awards for investigative reporting and was the 2006 recipient of the Syracuse Press Club’s prestigious Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award. Thompson’s reporting has resulted in the arrest of public officials and has prompted policy changes. She uncovered two money laundering schemes that traveled the globe and resulted in the indictments of several developers.