Feds shut down telemarketing scam

Under the settlement approved by a Florida court, the Hamiltons are banned from engaging in any telemarketing in the future, including through someone else or another company. The court also ordered them to destroy any consumer information collected in the scam. 

The Hamiltons will also be subject to FTC supervision for up to 10 years.

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Federal regulators say thousands of consumers bought the “bogus” health insurance, which targeted the unemployed, the uninsured and those with pre-existing conditions.

Consumers would collect a starter’s fee, ranging from $50 to “several hundred” dollars. They  would then pay $40 to $1,000 monthly to receive the “health benefits,” which ended up being the IAB membership.

The companies violated the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule, including calling consumers on the Do Not Call Registry.

“The FTC is committed to cracking down on those who prey on vulnerable consumers, including the unemployed, uninsured, and consumers with pre-existing medical conditions, by falsely claiming to offer coverage that is generally accepted by medical providers across the nation,” David Vladeck, the director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in October.

Cases are still pending against the other defendants: IAB Marketing Associates LP, Independent Association of Businesses, HealthCorp International Inc., JW Marketing Designs LLC, International Marketing Agencies, LP, International Marketing Management LLC, Wood LLC and James C. Wood, James J. Wood, Michael J. Wood and Gary D. Wood.

The FTC receives hundreds of constituent letters forwarded by members of Congress regarding the Do Not Call Registry and telemarketers each year, according to records obtained by The Hill, and this complaint is part of a larger action to take action against them.