Posted: 5/16/2017

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The Federal Trade Commission obtained an Order to shut down California-based companies, ABC Hispana, Inc. and ISB Latino, Inc. from engaging in imposter scams that primarily targeted Spanish speaking individuals. The operation used telemarketers in Peru to solicit consumers and sell instructional materials, primarily the English-6 language learning products “Ingles Sin Barreras” and “Ingles Sin Fronteras” and tablets. The companies apparently misrepresented their products.

imposter scam

The Federal Trade Commission obtained an Order to shut down California-based companies, ABC Hispana, Inc. and ISB Latino, Inc. from engaging in imposter scams that primarily targeted Spanish speaking individuals. The operation used telemarketers in Peru to solicit consumers and sell instructional materials, primarily the English-6 language learning products “Ingles Sin Barreras” and “Ingles Sin Fronteras” and tablets. The companies apparently misrepresented their products.

Among the deceitful things the operation engaged in, their telemarketers claimed to be with the government, from centro de ayuda or a “help center”, and well-known companies such as Wal-Mart or from Spanish-language radio stations. They also falsely claimed consumers had won or were specially selected to receive a learning course at an 80 discounted price, quoting prices ranging from $199 to $799. They even stated some consumers were eligible for a government grant or scholarship. In several instances, they said the courses included personal instruction by teachers and a certificate or diploma when completed.

Further, when selling tablets they claimed consumers had won the device but they needed to pay around $200 to cover shipping, handling, taxes, insurance, or a warranty. They deceptively claimed the tablets were recent brand named models, such as Samsung or Apple iPads.

Sadly, their claims were riddled with outright lies. Neither company is affiliated with the stated entities, the products consumers received were not worth more than the amount the consumers paid, and there were no available grants or scholarships. Consumers who received tablets were given generic brands and older models without any insurance or warranty.

Consumers that declined the offer, attempted to cancel the delivery, or did not pay, received threats that they would be sued, arrested, or have their homes seized. The culprits even went so far as to make collection calls representing themselves as attorneys or government officials trying to strong-arm consumers into paying. Harassing calls were made to relatives, friends, and other references as well. In order to get consumers to answer calls, they also spoofed phone numbers so the caller I.D. made it appear that consumers were getting calls from emergency responders or people they had listed as references.

Business Consumer Alliance assisted in the investigation of these sham companies and referred the complaints we received on both entities to the FTC. Check out the reports for both F-rated companies ABC Hispana, Inc. and ISB Latino, Inc. to view complaints and read details regarding the FTC’s actions.

Scams like these are abundant. To help avoid falling victim to these scams, heed the following tips:

  • Don’t be fooled by “free” prize offers, especially if you are asked to pay any money.
  • If someone threatens you in order to get you to pay for something over the phone, don’t pay them or give any personal information. Just hang up.
  • Never wire money to someone that you do not know or have not checked out thoroughly. It is the same as sending cash. If you are dealing with a scam, there is virtually no way to get that money back. The same goes for paying with prepaid cards.
  • Check out the business or offer by contacting BCA.
  • Seek advice from someone you trust. If you are considering paying money or providing your information for an offer, get a second opinion by talking it over with someone you trust.

BCA has a wealth of information on topics such as this, other scams, consumer tips and more. Check out our blog section and Resource Guides for more information.

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About Business Consumer Alliance

Business Consumer Alliance (BCA) is a non-profit company that started in 1928. The broad purpose of BCA is to promote business self-regulation. BCA's mission is achieved by assisting consumers in resolving complaints with businesses and using that complaint information, along with other relevant information such as customer reviews, to forecast business reliability. With community support, BCA can identify trustworthy and ethical businesses and warn the public to avoid unscrupulous businesses whose purpose is to defraud the marketplace. BCA also helps businesses promote themselves by providing services and tools to protect their business and reach out to their customers. BCA obtains its funding from member businesses who support the mission and purpose of the organization and who agree to abide by high standards of ethical business practices.

Tags: scam, telephone scams, telemarketers

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