Network News - July 2013

July 2013
Volume 6 | Issue 3
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Sentinel now can tell you whether Better Business Bureau complaints have been resolved. If a business has responded to the BBB’s satisfaction, BBB considers it “Administratively Closed.” “Resolved” means that the consumer verified her satisfaction with the result; “Assumed Resolved” indicates that a business has addressed the issue without consumer verification. “Resolution Delayed” means a business has responded, but not within the BBB’s timeframe.


In 10 years of Do Not Call enforcement, 105 cases have been brought; courts have ordered $118 million in civil penalties.

Sentinel Skills

The Sentinel team has been training users online and on the road. During the last few months, the team demonstrated the benefits of Sentinel to a gathering of Veteran Service Organizations at the American Legion Headquarters and to attendees of ID360: The Global Forum on Identity at the University of Texas. The team also has trained users in the Texas Attorney General’s Austin office, Department of Homeland Security staff focusing on immigration services fraud, and the U.S. Secret Service’s Electronic Crimes Division on researching identity theft and Internet fraud complaints. Online training sessions are available on a rolling basis; contact for details. 

Tripping Up Fraud

The FTC and its partners announced 191 actions to stop fraudulent operations promising timeshare property resale services and travel-related prizes. The actions include three FTC cases, 83 civil actions by 28 states, and 25 actions brought by law enforcers in 10 countries. More than 184 individuals are facing criminal prosecution. Resellers lured timeshare owners into paying hefty up-front fees claiming, falsely, that they had interested buyers ready to pay top dollar for the properties. But there were no buyers, and property owners lost hundreds and thousands of dollars. The FTC also has updated tips on travel planning and a new infographic explaining how a timeshare resale scam works.

Do Not Call Birthday Suit

Mortgage Investors Corporation has agreed to pay a record $7.5 million to settle charges that its telemarketers called more than 5.4 million U.S. servicemembers and veterans whose phone numbers were on the National Do Not Call Registry. According to the FTC, the telemarketers pretended to be affiliated with the Department of Veterans Affairs, and pitched low-interest, fixed-rate mortgages at no cost. In reality, they offered only adjustable-rate mortgages with payments that would rise as interest rates increase. A new infographic marks the milestones in the Registry’s 10-year history.

Mobile Cramming

The FTC has sued to shut down an operation that allegedly took in millions of dollars by cramming unauthorized charges on people's mobile phone bills. The complaint against Wise Media, LLC, Brian M. Buckley and Winston J. Deloney is the first FTC case against mobile cramming. According to the FTC, the defendants allegedly billed mobile users – without their permission – $9.99 per month for so-called “premium services.” The FTC’s complaint asked the court to freeze the defendants’ assets immediately and order a stop to their deceptive and unfair practices.

Fraud: Surveying the Scene

A statistical survey of fraud in the United States during 2011 showed that an estimated 25.6 million adults – 10.8 percent of the adult population – were victims. While online shopping offers greater choice and convenience, the FTC survey indicates that, as of 2011, buyers also were most likely to hear about fraudulent offers on the internet. An estimated 17.3 percent of African-Americans and 13.4 percent of Hispanics were victims; among non-Hispanic whites, 9 percent were victims.


The Attorneys General of Louisiana and Maine now contribute their complaint data to Sentinel, bringing the number of state data contributors to 16. Sentinel also has 15 new members from 10 states – 10 are police or sheriff’s departments. Among them are a federal agency, a city attorney, and the Attorney General of Guam.


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