FTC Obtained Injunctive Relief Against Elite IT Partners, Inc and it CEO James Martinos

FOR RELEASE
March 7, 2019
TAGS: deceptive/misleading conduct Technology Bureau of Consumer Protection Consumer Protection Advertising and Marketing Online Advertising and Marketing Telemarketing
As part of a state, federal, and international crackdown on tech support scams, the Federal Trade Commission has temporarily shut down a Utah-based scheme that tricked consumers into believing their computers were infected with viruses in order to sell them costly computer repair services.

FTC Chairman Joe Simons speaking at Department of Justice Tech Support Takedown 2019 Elder Fraud Event
Chairman Joe Simons reaffirmed FTC’s commitment to keeping older adults safe during a speech at the Department of Justice Tech Support Takedown 2019 Elder Fraud Event.

At the request of the FTC, a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order against Elite IT Partners, Inc. and its founder, President and CEO James Martinos. In a complaint, the FTC alleges that Martinos and his company used deceptive tactics to gain access to consumers’ computers and then sell costly and unnecessary computer repair and other services. The vast majority of the scheme’s victims were older consumers, according to the complaint.

The FTC’s action is part of an initiative announced today with the Department of Justice and other federal and state partners aimed at cracking down on elder fraud, with a particular focus on tech support scams. The effort is part of the Department of Justice’s largest coordinated sweep of elder fraud cases in history.

“In 2018, older consumers reported losing money to tech support scams more frequently than younger adults,” said FTC Chairman Joe Simons, who discussed the issue at a news conference today at the Department of Justice. “The actions announced today show that we are committed to keeping older adults safe by shutting down these tech support scams and holding the operators accountable for their illegal actions.”

The FTC today released new complaint data that shows tech support scams may disproportionately affect older adults. The FTC’s latest Consumer Protection Data Spotlight shows that consumers 60 and older were about five times more likely in 2018 to report losing money to a tech support scam than younger adults (those between the ages of 20 and 59). Over the past four years, older adults filed more reports of a loss to a tech support scam than any other FTC fraud category.

In addition, the FTC also is releasing updated guidance for consumers and businesses on how to spot and avoid losing money to a tech support scam. This includes a new three-minute video featuring a consumer who fell victim to a tech support scammer.

How to Avoid a Tech Support Scam
The first-person story about a retired business consultant’s tech support scam experience, what he did about it.
SharePlay Video

FTC Targets Utah-based Scam
The FTC alleges that Elite and Martinos used Internet ads targeting consumers looking for email password recovery help. Consumers who responded to Elite’s Internet ads were encouraged to provide their names, email addresses, and phone numbers. Once they reached consumers, Elite’s telemarketers often claimed to be associated with well-known companies like AOL or Yahoo, or falsely claimed that these companies are defunct and no longer provide customer service.

Elite’s telemarketers falsely told consumers that their problems most likely stemmed from a computer virus or infection in order to persuade consumers to provide access to their computers, the FTC alleges. Once they gained access, the telemarketers ran bogus “diagnostic” tests that tried to pass off normal computer files and functions as problematic or dangerous and made other deceptive claims.

The telemarketers often told consumers that these sham “diagnostic” tests showed their computers were in imminent danger in order to sell them unneeded computer repair and antivirus software and services, according to the FTC complaint. They used other scare tactics and misrepresentations to sell additional service plans costing as much as $39.99 per month. The FTC alleges that the company failed to adequately disclose that it required a one-year commitment and consumers would be automatically renewed for a second year if they did not cancel in writing at least 30 days before the end of the year. In addition, consumers who tried to cancel within the first year were charged a $150 fee not disclosed prior to purchase.

The FTC alleges that the defendants violated the FTC Act, Telemarketing Sales Rule, and Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act; ROSCA prohibits the sale of goods or services on the Internet through negative option marketing without the proper disclosures.

The Commission vote authorizing the staff to file the complaint was 5-0. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, Central Division.

NOTE: The Commission files a complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The case will be decided by the court.

The FTC would like to thank Oath (now known as Verizon Media) and Microsoft for their assistance with this case.

The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357). Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, read our blogs, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

CONTACT INFORMATION
MEDIA CONTACT:
Juliana Gruenwald Henderson
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2924

STAFF CONTACTS:
Colleen B. Robbins
Bureau of Consumer Protection
202-326-2548

Amanda Grier
Bureau of Consumer Protection
202-326-3745

FTC PRESS RELEASE

 

Advertisements

WhoIs Deloplen.com

Similar to checkpost.space, pushmenews.com, lodder.club, and many others, deloplen.com is a rogue website designed to deliver dubious content and cause redirects. As with the aforementioned websites, users often visit deloplen.com inadvertently.

They are redirected by intrusive advertisements (displayed on other rogue sites) and potentially unwanted applications (PUAs), which usually infiltrate computers without permission. In addition to causing redirects, PUAs generate intrusive advertisements and gather information relating to internet browsing habits.
Norton Block Intrusion Attack
Address lookup
canonical name deloplen.com.
aliases addresses 5.11.86.222
88.85.82.153
Domain Whois record
Queried whois.internic.net with “dom deloplen.com”…

Domain Name: DELOPLEN.COM
Registry Domain ID: 2374424842_DOMAIN_COM-VRSN
Registrar WHOIS Server: whois.pananames.com
Registrar URL: http://www.pananames.com
Updated Date: 2019-03-29T15:04:12Z
Creation Date: 2019-03-29T15:02:12Z
Registry Expiry Date: 2020-03-29T15:02:12Z
Registrar: URL Solutions, Inc.
Registrar IANA ID: 1449
Registrar Abuse Contact Email: abuse@pananames.com
Registrar Abuse Contact Phone: +1.9727369998
Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited https://icann.org/epp#clientTransferProhibited
Name Server: NS-1332.AWSDNS-38.ORG
Name Server: NS-2018.AWSDNS-60.CO.UK
Name Server: NS-430.AWSDNS-53.COM
Name Server: NS-809.AWSDNS-37.NET
DNSSEC: unsigned

Domain Name: DELOPLEN.COM
Registry Domain ID: 2374424842_DOMAIN_COM-VRSN
Registrar WHOIS Server: whois.pananames.com
Registrar URL: http://www.pananames.com

Updated Date: 2019-03-29T15:04:12Z
Creation Date: 2019-03-29T15:02:12Z
Registrar Registration Expiration Date: 2020-03-29T15:02:12Z
Registrar: URL SOLUTIONS INC.
Registrar IANA ID: 1449
Registrar Abuse Contact Email: abuse@pananames.com
Registrar Abuse Contact Phone: +1.9727369998
Reseller:
Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited — https://icann.org/epp#clientTransferProhibited

Registry Registrant ID:
Registrant Name: Private Whois
Registrant Organization: GLOBAL DOMAIN PRIVACY SERVICES INC
Registrant Street: Tower Financial Center Flr 35, 50th St y E. Mendez St
Registrant City: Panama
Registrant State/Province: NA
Registrant Postal Code: NA
Registrant Country: PA
Registrant Phone: +1.9727369998
Registrant Email: deloplen.com.1ib8qmulb0w8h@domains-anonymizer.com

Registry Admin ID:
Admin Name: Private Whois
Admin Organization: GLOBAL DOMAIN PRIVACY SERVICES INC
Admin Street: Tower Financial Center Flr 35, 50th St y E. Mendez St
Admin City: Panama
Admin State/Province: NA
Admin Postal Code: NA
Admin Country: PA
Admin Phone: +1.9727369998

Admin Email: admin.deloplen.com.1ib8qmulb0w8h@domains-anonymizer.com
Registry Tech ID:
Tech Name: Private Whois
Tech Organization: GLOBAL DOMAIN PRIVACY SERVICES INC
Tech Street: Tower Financial Center Flr 35, 50th St y E. Mendez St
Tech City: Panama
Tech State/Province: NA
Tech Postal Code: NA
Tech Country: PA
Tech Phone: +1.9727369998

Tech Email: tech.deloplen.com.1ib8qmulb0w8h@domains-anonymizer.com

Name Server: NS-1332.AWSDNS-38.ORG
Name Server: NS-2018.AWSDNS-60.CO.UK
Name Server: NS-430.AWSDNS-53.COM
Name Server: NS-809.AWSDNS-37.NET
DNSSEC: Unsigned
URL of the ICANN WHOIS Data Problem Reporting System: http://wdprs.internic.net/
>>> Last update of WHOIS database: 2019-08-08T22:35:45Z <<<

Update: Mugshot Operators Arrest

It appears like the law is finally catching up with mugshots operators. The infamous operators of Mugshot.com have been arrested and facing extradition to California The individual arrested are Sahar Sarid, Kishore Vidya Bhavnanie,Thomas Keesee and David Usdan.

According to their website, these guys now claim they are a new organization

mugshotdotcom

NOTICE:

MUGSHOTS.COM IS A NEWS ORGANIZATION. WE POST AND WRITE THOUSANDS OF NEWS STORIES A YEAR, MOST WANTED STORIES, EDITORIALS (UNDER CATEGORIES – BLOG) AND STORIES OF EXONERATIONS. OUR CONTENT REVOLVES AROUND CRIME, ARRESTS AND THE FIRST AMENDMENT. WE BELIEVE IN THE CONSTITUTION AND OUR FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHT TO PUBLISH UNPOPULAR SPEECH. OPEN RECORD LAWS WERE WRITTEN TO PROTECT THE PUBLIC; BY INFORMING THE PUBLIC OF ARRESTS AND TO HOLD LAW ENFORCEMENT ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE HUMANE TREATMENT OF ARRESTEES. MOST OF, IF NOT ALL “MUGSHOT LAWS” WERE CRAFTED TO PROTECT THE PUBLIC FROM FEES FOR REMOVAL OF ONLINE MUGSHOTS AND TO FURTHER PROTECT THE PRESS FROM THOSE VERY SAME “MUGSHOT LAWS”. TO BE CLEAR: WE DO NOT ACCEPT PAYMENT FOR REMOVAL OF ARREST INFORMATION AND/OR BOOKING PHOTOGRAPHS. WE HAVE OUTLINED UNDER OUR RECORD MAINTENANCE POLICY WHAT WE BELIEVE TO BE A FAIR PROCESS FOR ALL. SIMPLY PUT: IF THE COURT SAW FIT TO EXPUNGE YOUR RECORD, SO WILL WE, FREE OF CHARGE. ARRESTS DO NOT IMPLY GUILT AND CRIMINAL CHARGES ARE MERELY ACCUSATIONS, EVERYONE IS PRESUMED INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY IN A COURT OF LAW AND CONVICTED. FCRA DISCLAIMER: MUGSHOTS.COM DOES NOT PROVIDE CONSUMER REPORTS AND IS NOT A CONSUMER REPORTING AGENCY. OUR DATABASE CANNOT BE USED TO MAKE DECISIONS ABOUT CONSUMER CREDIT, EMPLOYMENT, INSURANCE, TENANT SCREENING, OR ANY OTHER PURPOSES THAT WOULD REQUIRE FCRA COMPLIANCE.

Related Link – SFA Reports

FTC Sued Day Pacer, LLC. and Edutrek, LLC.

The Federal Trade Commission has charged a telemarketing operation and its owners PayDayLoanwith making millions of illegal, unsolicited calls about educational programs to consumers who submitted their contact information to websites promising help with job searches, public benefits, and other unrelated programs.

According to the FTC’s complaint seeking civil penalties, corporate defendants Day Pacer, LLC and Edutrek, L.L.C., and individual defendants Raymond Fitzgerald, Ian Fitzgerald, and David Cumming, obtain consumers’ phone numbers from websites that claim to help consumers apply for jobs, health insurance, unemployment benefits, Medicaid coverage, or other forms of assistance. Instead of offering these services, the defendants and their affiliates call consumers to market vocational or post-secondary education programs, according to the FTC.

“Telemarketers have a duty to ensure that they are not placing calls to people on the National Do-Not-Call Registry,” said Andrew Smith, Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection, “And they cannot rely on affiliate websites that use fine print and other deceptive tactics to lure consumers.”

The job and benefits websites allegedly use different tactics, like small print, to hide their telemarketing purpose. For example, in the exhibit below, the web page states, “Jobs In Your Area” and “Thousands of Government Jobs In Your Area Are Looking to Hire Immediately,” and includes the misleading seals of several federal government agencies. At the bottom of the page is a block of small text that is illegible without substantial magnification. It states that clicking the “submit” button to request information about government jobs provides “consent” to receive telemarketing calls about various subjects unrelated to obtaining a government job.

FTC Exhibit: screenshot of website claiming to find government jobs for users

Similarly, the complaint alleges that the defendants have purchased leads from “FindFamilyResources.com,” a website offering to provide information about Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), welfare benefits, and unemployment insurance. The exhibit below shows a landing page that tells consumers they may “Learn More About Benefits Assistance” by submitting contact information in the boxes provided onscreen. The “yes” or “no” checkbox asking for consent to receive telemarketing calls is placed directly under an unrelated question about residency and age.

FTC Exhibit: screenshot of website claiming to help users find information about government assistance

The defendants are charged with violating the Telemarketing Sales Rule by initiating over five million unsolicited outbound telemarketing calls to numbers on the Do Not Call Registry since 2013, and by providing substantial assistance to other telemarketers who placed calls to numbers on the Do Not Call Registry.

The Commission vote authorizing the staff to file the complaint was 5-0. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on March 29, 2019, after being referred back to the FTC by the U.S. Department of Justice.

NOTE: The Commission authorizes the filing of a complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated, and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest.

The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357). Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, read our blogs, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

CONTACT INFORMATION

CONTACT FOR CONSUMERS:
Consumer Response Center
877-382-4357

CONTACT FOR NEWS MEDIA:
Nicole Drayton
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2565

STAFF CONTACTS:
Jason Schall
Bureau of Consumer Protection 
202-326-2251

What Is Lead Generation

In marketing, lead generation (/ˈliːd/) is the initiation of consumer interest or enquiry PayDayLoaninto products or services of a business. The FTC say there are unscrupulous lead generator operators online.

You’ve probably shared your contact information online to, say, get details about a job opening. Usually, that’s fine. But sometimes you might be looking for one thing and wind up getting something else – like calls about stuff you never asked for or wanted.

Lead generators are companies that collect your contact information, then sell it to marketers who use it to promote their own products and services. While some lead generators are upfront about what they do with your information, others trick you into sharing it for their own profit – regardless of what you asked for.

The FTC sued Day Pacer, LLC for allegedly making unwanted calls as part of a scheme that used just this kind of bait-and-switch. According to the lawsuit, Day Pacer is a lead generator that got its leads from websites with convincing graphics and language to make people think they were in the right place to get what they needed. People went to these websites and shared their phone numbers to get help applying for jobs, health insurance, unemployment benefits and other assistance. But that’s not what they got. Instead, people got unwanted phone calls from Day Pacer with sales pitches to enroll in post-secondary and vocational schools operated by its clients. The company disturbed millions of people with these calls – even though their numbers were on the National Do Not Call Registry.

When you search online for jobs, benefits, or government assistance, you want to be sure you wind up where you need to be. So, once you have your search results:

  • Check out the URL before you click. Search online for that URL, plus the words “review” or “complaint.” Do the same thing with the company name, if you can find it. That will tell you what other people have experienced with that site.
  • Look for sites with “.gov” in the URL. Of course, there are many reliable, non-government, online sources. But government sites are the safest bet. So, for example:

And if you know someone who’s gone through this kind of bait-and-switch, report it to the FTC.

Tell Signs To Look Out For Before Buying A Car Online

You can buy practically anything online, including used cars. But before you shell out any hard-earned cash, here’s a warning about scammers trying to sell cars they don’t have or own.

Here’s how the scam works:

Criminals post ads on online auction and sales websites, like eBay Motors, for inexpensive used cars (that they don’t really own).

They offer to chat online, share photos, and answer questions. They may even tell you the sale will go through a well-known retailer’s buyer protection program.

Recently, sellers have been sending fake invoices that appear to come from eBay Motors and demanding payment in eBay gift cards. If you call the number on the invoice, the scammer pretends to work for eBay Motors.

Trusting buyers have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past year alone.

So how can you tell if an online car sale is fake?

  • You find bad reviews online. Check out the seller by searching online for the person’s name, phone number and email address, plus words like “review,” “complaint” or “scam.”
  • Sellers try to rush the sale. Resist the pressure. Scammers use high-pressure sales tactics to get you to buy without thinking things through.
  • They can’t or won’t meet in person or let you inspect the car. Scammers might have an excuse, like a job transfer, military deployment, or divorce, for why you can’t see them or the car. But experts agree that you should have an independent mechanic inspect a used car before you buy it.
  • They want you to pay with gift cards or by wire transfer. If anyone tells you to pay that way, it’s a scam. Every time.
  • The sellers demand more money after the sale for “shipping” or “transportation” costs.
  • The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) doesn’t match the VIN for the car you’re interested in. vehicle history report can help you spot such discrepancies.

For more tips, check out ftc.gov/usedcars and Online Auction Buyers. Want to avoid the latest rip-offs? Sign up for free consumer alerts from the FTC at ftc.gov/subscribe. If you spot a scam, report it at ftc.gov/complaint.

 

Blog Topics: Money & Credit

FTC Summer Film Series: Avoiding Student Loan Debt