A Vermont court has permanently banned one more Canadian telemarketer and two telemarketing companies from telemarketing in or into the United States, and ordered each of the three to pay the State of Vermont $100,000 in civil penalties.
The order by Washington Superior Court Judge Helen M. Toor follows two earlier settlements in the same consumer fraud case, one with telemarketer Wolfgang Loss-Wells and the other with A&S Collections Associates, Inc., of Williamstown, Vt. Commenting on the case, Vermont Attorney General William H. Sorrell called on fraudulent telemarketers and companies that would provide services to them to "stay out of Vermont or risk legal action by the State."
The latest telemarketers to be sanctioned are a company called 9145-6467 Quebec, Inc., doing business as Callcom Financial; another company called 4269365 Canada, Inc., doing business as CAS Professionals; and Conrad Loss-Wells, the president and major shareholder of CAS. All are based in or around Montreal.
The settlement comes in a case originally filed in 2005 against A&S Collection Associates for printing unsigned checks (called "demand drafts") on behalf of Callcom and CAS without written authorization from consumers. Issuing demand drafts without prior written authorization is a violation of Vermont law.
In all, Callcom and CAS charged almost 1,500 consumers throughout the United States about $300 each, ostensibly to assist them in obtaining government grants or "fraud protection" services. In fact, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to offer a service that will actually result in the award of government grants to consumers or provide the promised "fraud protection." In recent years, fraudulent telemarketers have succeeded in obtaining money from consumers' bank accounts, using only the numbers at the bottom of the consumers' checks.
The Attorney General's Office has two recommendations to prevent this from happening: Never give your bank account information to people you do not know; and routinely review your bank account statements to make sure that you authorized each charge.