Card Insurance

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Fraudulent Credit Card Loss Protection Insurance Phone Scams


A Victim Story

VISA and MasterCard say that this scam is currently being worked throughout the Midwest with some variance as to the product or amount.

My husband was called on Wednesday from "VISA" and I was called in Thursday from "MasterCard". It worked like this:

Person calling says, "This is (any name) and I'm calling from the Security and Fraud Department at VISA. My Badge number is 12460. Your card has been flagged for an unusual purchase pattern, and I'm calling to verify. Did you purchase an Anti-Telemarketing Device for $497.99 from a marketing company based in Arizona?"

When you say "No". The caller continues with, "Then we will be issuing a credit to your account. This is a company we have been watching and the charges range from $297 to $497, just under the $500 purchase pattern that flags most cards. Before your next statement, the credit will be sent to (gives you your address), is that correct?"

You say, "Yes". The caller continues . . . "I will be starting a fraud investigation. If you have any questions, you should call the 800 number listed on your card 1-800-VISA and ask for Security. You will need to refer to this Control  #".

Then gives you a 6 digit number. "Do you need me to read it again?" Caller then says he "needs to verify you are in possession of your card. Turn the card over. There are 7 numbers; first 4 are 1234 (whatever) the last 3 are the security numbers that verify you are in possession of the card.

These are the numbers you use to make internet purchases to prove you have the card. Read me the 3 numbers." Then he says "That is correct. I just needed to verify that the card has not been lost or stolen, and that you still have your card. Do you have any other questions? Don't hesitate to call back if you do."

You actually say very little, and they never ask for or tell you the card number. But after we were called on Wednesday, we called back within 20 minutes to ask a question. Are we glad we did!

The REAL VISA security dept. told us it was a scam and in the last 15 minutes a new purchase of $497.99 WAS put on our card.

Long story made short . . we made a real fraud report and closed the VISA card and they are reissuing as a new number. What the scam wants is the 3 digit number and that once the charge goes through, they keep charging every few days.

By the time you get your statement, thinking a credit is coming, it's harder to actually file a fraud report. The real VISA reinforced that they will never ask for anything on the card (they already know).

What makes this more remarkable is that on Thursday, I got a call from "Jason Richardson of MasterCard" with a word for word repeat of the VISA Scam. This time I didn't let him finish. I hung up.

We filed a police report (as instructed by VISA), and they said they are taking several of these reports daily and to tell friends, relatives and coworkers.


UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF VERMONT

FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION, Plaintiff,

v.

ICON AMERICA, INC., a Florida corporation,
METE SUATAC, individually and doing business as ICON AMERICA, INC., and
JONATHAN PARKS, individually and doing business as ICON AMERICA, INC., Defendants

5. Icon America, Inc. ("Icon America"), a Florida corporation with its principal places of business in Swanton, Vermont and Hollywood, Florida, telemarkets credit card protection services. Icon America transacts or has transacted business in the District of Vermont.

6. Defendant Mete Suatac is an officer or director of, and does business as, Icon America. Individually or in concert with others, he formulates, directs, participates or controls the acts and practices of Icon America, including the acts and practices complained of herein. He transacts business in the District of Vermont.

7. Defendant Jonathan Parks is the general manager of, and does business as, Icon America. Individually or in concert with others, he formulates, directs, participates or controls the acts and practices of Icon America, including the acts and practices complained of herein. He transacts business in the District of Vermont.

COMMERCE

8. At all times relevant to this complaint, defendants have maintained a substantial course of business in the offering for sale and sale, through telemarketing, of credit card protection services, in or affecting commerce, as "commerce" is defined in Section 4 of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. § 44.

DEFENDANTS' BUSINESS PRACTICES

9. Since at least 1999, defendants have telemarketed credit card protection services to consumers throughout the United States. Defendants have engaged in these practices under the name Icon America.

10. To induce consumers to purchase credit card protection services, defendants have represented, either expressly or by implication, that defendants are calling for Visa, MasterCard, or the consumer's credit card issuer. Defendants have also represented that recent changes in the law requires the purchase of services such as those being offered by defendants.

11. Defendants have told consumers that criminals are stealing consumers' credit card numbers via the Internet and other technology, and that consumers need to purchase defendants' credit card protection service because consumers are not currently protected against unauthorized use of their credit card accounts by such criminals. Defendants have claimed that, if a consumer's credit card number is stolen or misappropriated, a consumer can be held fully liable for any unauthorized charges to the consumer's credit card account.

12. Defendants have claimed that purchase of their credit card protection service protects consumers from liability for unauthorized credit card charges.

13. Defendants have claimed that there is a thirty (30) day unconditional money back guarantee covering the purchase of their credit card protection services.

14. In numerous instances, defendants do not disclose promptly, or in a clear and conspicuous manner, that the purpose of the call is to sell the consumer the defendants' credit card protection services.

15. Defendants have persuaded consumers to divulge their credit card numbers by high pressure tactics, by telling consumers that defendants need the numbers for verification purposes, by reciting one or more of the first digits of consumers' credit card account numbers and then requesting the consumer to state the remaining digits of the consumers' credit card account numbers, or by reciting the consumers' entire credit card account numbers.

16. Defendants have obtained consumers' credit card account numbers and, without consumers' authorization, have caused charges to be posted on those accounts.

17. Defendants have charged consumers fees ranging from $299 to $369 for their services.

VIOLATIONS OF SECTION 5 OF THE FTC ACT

18. Section 5(a) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. § 45(a), prohibits unfair or deceptive acts and practices in or affecting commerce.

COUNT I

19. In numerous instances, in connection with the offering of credit card protection services to consumers, or in the course of billing, attempting to collect, or collecting money from consumers, defendants have made various representations, expressly or by implication, including but not limited to the following:

a. Defendants are affiliated with, or are calling from or on behalf of, the consumer's credit card company or issuer;

b. If consumers do not purchase defendants' services, consumers can be held fully liable for any unauthorized charges made to their credit card accounts;

c. Defendants will refund the purchase price if for any reason a consumer seeks a refund within 30 days of purchase; or

d. Consumers have given authorization for their credit card accounts to be charged for defendants' services.

20. In truth and in fact:

a. Defendants are not affiliated with, or calling from or on behalf of, the consumer's credit card company or issuer;

b. Under Section 226.12(b) of Regulation Z, 12 C.F.R. § 226.12(b), and Section 133 of the Truth in Lending Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1643, a consumer cannot be held liable for more than $50 for any unauthorized charges to a credit card account;

c. In numerous instances, defendants do not refund the purchase price when a consumer seeks a refund within 30 days of purchase; and

d. In numerous instances, consumers have not given authorization for their credit card accounts to be charged for defendants' services.

21. Therefore, defendants' representations, as set forth in paragraph 19, are false and misleading and constitute deceptive acts or practices in violation of Section 5(a) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. § 45(a).

COUNT II

22. In numerous instances, defendants cause consumers' credit card accounts to be charged for defendants' services without having previously obtained the consumers' authorization for such charge. Many such consumers have never been advised that their credit card accounts would be charged, or have advised defendants that they did not agree to purchase the defendants' services. Therefore, consumers cannot reasonably avoid the defendants' billing for these services.

23. Defendants' practice of charging consumers' credit card accounts without authorization causes substantial injury to consumers that is not outweighed by countervailing benefits to consumers or competition.

24. Therefore, defendants' practice, as outlined above, is unfair and violates Section 5(a) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. § 45(a).


Government records show the directors of

ICON AMERICA, INC.

Filing Information
Document Number P99000030490
FEI Number NONE
Date Filed 04/01/1999
State FL
Status INACTIVE
Last Event ADMIN DISSOLUTION FOR ANNUAL REPORT
Event Date Filed 09/22/2000
Event Effective Date NONE

Principal Address
1861 N FEDERAL HWY.
SUITE 297
HOLLYWOOD FL 33020

Registered Agent Name & Address

ESTES, JAMES W
1861 N FEDERAL HWY.
SUITE 297
HOLLYWOOD FL 33020

Officer/Director Detail
Name & Address
Title D

ANTENUCCI, (name removed upon request)
1861 N FEDERAL HWY. #297
HOLLYWOOD FL 33020

Title D
ANTENUCCI, ANTONIO
1861 N FEDERAL HWY. #297
HOLLYWOOD FL 33020

Title D
CARLINI, ANTONIO
1861 N FEDERAL HWY. #297
HOLLYWOOD FL 33020

Title D
SUATAC, METE'
1861 N FEDERAL HWY. #297
HOLLYWOOD FL 33020

Mete Suatac, Antonio Antenucci, Antonio Carlini, (name removed upon request) Antenucci

A permanent injunction was issued against the following.

ICON AMERICA, INC., a Florida corporation, 9066-3451 QUEBEC, INC., d/b/a SIERRA ENTERPRISES, a Quebec corporation, METE SUATAC, individually and doing business as ICON AMERICA, INC., and JONATHAN PARKINSON, a/k/a JONATHAN PARKS, individually and doing business as ICON AMERICA, INC., Defendants.

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