Living with credit, Protecting yourself, Research, regulation, industry reports

I got one of those lower-your-credit-card-interest-rate robocalls

Connie Prater

The Federal Trade Commission has announced a crackdown on three companies at the center of millions of robocalls made across the country, claiming to be able to lower consumers’ credit card interest rates — for a fee, of course.

Never heard of a robocall? You’ve probably gotten one. They are automated calls used by telemarketers, debt collectors and debt settlement companies to reach a large number of people without using human labor to actually dial the numbers.

According to the FTC, the three telemarketing companies charged as much as $1,495 in upfront fees for their services and, annoyingly, called people whose names were on the national ‘Do Not Call’ list.

When I saw the FTC’s press release on the lawsuits filed to stop the calls, I flashed back to a bizarre call I got a couple of months ago on my cell phone.

A recording greeted me with a message along the lines of: “I have important information about your credit card account. You can lower the interest rate on one or more of your credit card accounts. Press “1” for more information.”

I was in my car at the time I got the call and had just pulled into my garage. Since I’m hypersensitive to anything related to credit cards (duh, I write for, I pressed a button to speak to a real live person. A woman came on the line and started asking if I needed my interest rates lowered. I said they were already low. Then, I asked: “How did you get my number?” They were clearly not from one of the my credit card issuers. She claimed she got it from my card issuers, but I didn’t believe her. I said thanks but no thanks to her offer and the call ended.

“The FTC has heard the public outcry against robocalls and has taken swift action to stop them. During these difficult economic times, the last thing anyone needs is to be bombarded by robocalls pitching worthless interest-rate reduction programs,” FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said in the press release. “The lawsuits announced today are not the first, nor will they be the last, that the agency brings to protect consumers from intrusive, illegal, and deceptive telemarketing robocalls.”

According to the FTC, virtually all robocalls conducted since Sept. 1, 2009, are illegal unless the telemarketers got advance, written approval from recipients to receive pre-record calls.

The companies facing federal suits are: Economic Relief Technologies, LLC, Dynamic Financial Group (U.S.A.) Inc., and JPM Accelerated Services (JPM). The FTC alleges the companies made pre-recorded robocalls to consumers, claiming to be from “card services,” “credit card services” or “account services.”

Yep. That’s what happened to me. They appeared to be from a legitimate credit card company’s card services division.

Unfortunately, consumers who fell into the deceptive trap laid open by the scheme never got refunds of the $495 to $1,495 they shelled out for services.

“After securing the fee, the defendants allegedly did not negotiate lower rates on behalf of consumers and provided few refunds to those who were dissatisfied with the service,” according to the FTC.

Here’s how the feds say the companies violated consumer laws:

  • Calling consumers whose phone numbers are on the National Do Not Call Registry.
  • Calling consumers who had previously asked not to be called.
  • Failing to transmit their caller ID information, as required.
  • “Spoofing” or masking their caller ID information.
  • Failing to promptly identify themselves, the purpose of their call, and/or the nature of the goods or services they were selling.
  • Improperly abandoning calls.
  • Failing to make required disclosures in their robocalls.

Now, think about it. Would your credit card company call you specifically to lower your interest rate? That’s like taking money out of their coffers at a time when banks are hurting for money. Sure, some customers are getting lower interest rates. Those are the prime customers or those generating a lot of revenue for the issuers.

If you want your credit card interest rate lowered, contact your issuer yourself, make a reasoned pitch for why your rates should be lowered and see what happens.

See related: What part of ‘do not call’ don’t you understand?

Join the Discussion

We encourage an active and insightful conversation among our users. Please help us keep our community civil and respectful. For your safety, we ask that you do not disclose confidential or personal information such as your bank account numbers, social security numbers, etc. Keep in mind that anything you post may be disclosed, published, transmitted or reused.

The editorial content on is not sponsored by any bank or credit card issuer. The journalists in the editorial department are separate from the company's business operations. The comments posted below are not provided, reviewed or approved by any company mentioned in our editorial content. Additionally, any companies mentioned in the content do not assume responsibility to ensure that all posts and/or questions are answered.

  • Martha

    I have an added concern about these calls – that they might be collecting credit card data for use in fraud. At best, they are taking advantage of the elderly.
    Having filed several FTC complaints and done considerable research on these and the car warranty call, I found one tactic to be effective at stopping the calls. I would press 1 to speak to the rep (pressing 2 to opt out just terminates the call) and ask if they were aware that there employer was operating illegally and potentially doing fraud. That must not be on their script because they continued to talk to me as I gave them the FTC phone number and suggested they might get a reward for providing information. In nearly every case, the rep was new and confirmed they were being paid more than would be usual in their area.
    At least I thought that worked until I got a robocall from “Heather” a few weeks ago. Heather had been “retired” for a while but apparently they rolled her out again.
    I expect these calls will continue until someone at the top gets some jail time.

  • dude

    I keep getting these calls. I knew they were bogus from the start, since my card issuer wouldn’t call me like that. I pressed 2 several times to reject it but they kept calling. They just called again and I hit 1 this time to speak to someone. I got a woman and she immediately asked if I wanted to lower my interest rates. I told her no and that I wanted her to take my number off their list because I’ve repeatedly rejected their offer. She said something else that I honestly couldn’t make out (the signal on the line was bad) and I was disconnected. Not sure if they’ll still keep calling.

  • Jennifer

    I received this type of call twice. Both times I asked how the got my number, and yes, they said from my credit card company. My response was, “Really? Are you absolutely sure?” Them, “Yes!” Me, “I find that interesting, since I don’t have credit cards, and never have had any.” Dead silence on the other end! I guess they didn’t figure on someone calling them on their lie, nor will they ever know for certain whether I was telling an untruth or not.

  • harold franklin

    I’ve received four of these calls (to a cell phone) in the past three days. Two calling phone numbers are involved 228-365-9632 (non working number in the Biloxi, MS), and 316-789-1356 (non-working number in the Wichita metro area). I’ve been on the Fed do not call list since Jan 2009. I’ve also filed complaints on these calls. I’M DAMN SICK OF THEM!!

  • Bill

    Receive these calls repeatedly, day after day, month after month. Royal pain.
    December 15, 2011

  • Paul R. Lewis

    These editorials about telemarketers failing to honor Do-Not-Call lists and annoying people are all well and good, but why doesn’t anyone creating these actually provide some helpful information instead of just babble about what we all have experienced and found annoying ourselves? It would be nice to post any little known or helpful links of how people can actually fight back. The do not call list and complaining about someone not honoring it, is a big fat JOKE! Like any other supposed “service” provided by our government, it’s simply not monitored, managed, or acted upon. If it was, we wouldn’t still be having these complaints years later. The telemarketers know they can get away with continuing to cold call anyone they like and the government will do nothing to stop it. The Do-Not-Call list is a “dead-end” list meant only to temporarily appease the public by making them believe they’ve actually done something worthwhile or that might have some affect… NOT!

  • Jacques Delente

    Today I received 7 of those calls and it is not 5pm yet!

  • mica d gifford

    i keep getting those same calls and i put myself and my husbands phones numbers on national do not call registal list so i would do that and all the calls will stop

  • Jill

    I have been getting these calls everyday. I am on the do not call registry. Is it illegal to make incrediably loud noises in the receiver when they call?

  • Imelton2

    I have been getting these calls regularly for about 2 years. I pressed 2 in the beginning but that is of no use. I now press 1 every time trying to get enough information to at least file a complaint. Most of the time they hang up as soon as I ask any question, some of the time they keep repeating that they need my credit card info….NOT! Since making a complaint on them is nearly impossible without knowing who they are, I am left with using them as a way to vent some pent up frustration! I have had my number registered with the Do-Not-Call Registry for a couple years, so, if they can break the law and keep calling me week after week, then I get to yell and scream at them till they hang up on me! I always feel better afterwards and can continue my day with a smile on my face! I will add, the last call I got, they actually told me they were with a company called Financial Rewards out of New York City. I haven’t found such a company to exist as of yet. I always ask who they are with to see if I can get information before I start yelling and screaming…. I give them a chance to be on the up and up until they start hammering me for my credit card info!
    I agree with an earlier post on here that the DNC Registry seems like a joke when this crap happens all the time.

  • Steve

    Fight back by keeping the live scammer on the line as long as possible, causing maximum expense to his employer.

  • JEM

    I get these calls constantly. I have pressed 3 to be taken off list. I have even pressed 1 to speak to someone and when I ask what it will take to be removed from their calling – they hang up. I tell them I have no credit cards. I ask for their address, etc, etc. Nothing works. I just had one say she didn’t call me. then who called as you came on the phone. They are rude. and I am P’O’d……..

  • Eddie

    I press “1”, get a live operator, tell them to take me off their list and then I get the “canned” air horn, you get them from the Dollar Store, and give them a blast with the air horn right into the mouthpiece of the phone. I still get the call but am having fun try to ruin their hearing.

  • Teufel Wolf

    If you agree to sign up and give them a fake credit card number (any random string of 16 numbers starting with 4 (visa), 5(Mc), 3 (amex), or 6 (Disc) really infuriates them more then anything else.

  • Pat Deck

    I cannot get these bozos to stop. Sometimes 2 calls/day. There has to be a law against this, and someone with brains and balls enough to enforce it.

  • robert b

    I am getting these calls daily, sometimes 2-3 times per day on my cell phone and home phone. They will not stop. This has been going on for over a year. I am on the do not call list. How can I get them to stop? I’m ready to take legal action if I thought I knew how to .

  • bob r

    I have a pre-paid cell phone, and every phone call I get costs me 20 cents a minute. So, these thieves are stealing from me to the tune of more than $100 a year, just from them calling me. If a thief broke into my house and stole $100 a year from me, I would kill them. I haven’t figured out where these people are located physically, but, in the meanwhile, I’m blowing an air horn into the receiver when a live agent answers the phone. That slowed the number of calls a lot, but today they began again. I just got a robocall that required me to enter my credit card number before I would be connected to a live agent. Simple solution; use fake credit card numbers. Meanwhile, I’m looking up IP addresses for physical locations and saving up for a plane ticket.

  • Sue

    If the FTC is “taking swift action” to stop these calls, they’re sure taking their sweet time about it. This article was written in 2009. It is now 2014 and we receive 3-4 calls per week from these people. They change their number every time they call, spoof numbers to make it look like a local call, and today – a new trick – they used OUR OWN NUMBER AND NAME ON THE CALLER ID. Seriously – I looked at the ringing phone and it had our name and phone number on the caller ID as the incoming call! I bought a phone with a call-blocking feature specifically to stop these clowns – but guess what? They change their number each time, so our 20-number call blocking list is filled up already, all with their numbers. Someone needs to stop this – but our government doesn’t seem to be doing it.

  • John Brady

    The organization “Card Services” calls my number several times a week with special rates and offers as “act now to save money on my credit cards or the offer would expire.” My phone is on the “no call list”. When I try to speak to them about it they just hang up. This has been going on for over a year. What can I do to stop these calls?

  • Dot

    I get these calls at least twice or three times a day and I don’t have a credit card.Somebody needs to stop these people soon.

  • Jan

    We continually get these robo calls. We honestly do not have credit cards and I’ve told them over and over but they keep calling. So, I now push one when they call and when someone comes on the phone I tell them that I’ve asked them to remove my number from their call list and since they won’t do that I will push one every time they call. If they want to aggravate me then I will do the same with them. Today the man told me it would not be a good idea to aggravate them. I asked him if that was a threat? He said “No” and that they are a legal company. I told him “Good, then he’d take my number off their call list since I am signed up on the do not call list and I will report them to the FTC. He told me the do not call list does not exist. We only have local service on our home phone so I don’t know who is calling until I answer. It’s really aggravating to answer the phone and hear a recorded message offering lower interest on something I don’t even have.

  • Anna Walton

    I have been getting these calls sometimes 3 or 4 a day every day and I am on the do not call list. There is never a phone no just a 1 there has got to be a way to stop whoever is doing this as I know they are not connected to my credit card co.

  • Wendy

    I just got one of those calls. My own number calling me. I answered and it was a recording that transferred me to an actual person. Asking to lower my credit card interest rate. I gave them no info because it sounded really fishy. They would not even tell me the name of their company. Then he asked if I could at least give him my banks name. I stupidly told him thinking it could do no harm but from there he started reading off my account numbers. As soon as he did this I called my credit card company and had my numbers changed. However, if he could get my number like he already did he could get it again. I don’t know what to do now. I am scared they can get all my info now. Anyone else had this happen…and if so what did you do?

  • Peter J

    We get these calls several times a week even though we have no credit card debt. These individuals fraudulently state “We have been monitoring your credit” which of course they are not. They are misleading the unwary or elderly and are little more than predators. These people have no clue who you bank with. They have no clue whether you have a credit card or not. They live to scam and the FTC needs to get off its collective rear ends. Don’t fine them. Put them in prison. We are talking about defrauding the public. After eight or more years of taking action, the FTC has proven worthless in dealing with this.

  • Zakk Waller

    So, here it is… April 4, 2018. Still getting these calls. Just got one a minute ago. So my question, what’s ACTUALLY being done to stop this? Nothing as far as I can tell. Wouldn’t surprise me one bit that at least one person higher up in the FTC was banking on all of this. Corruption is rampant in the world today.

    • Realityalt

      I get a call every night each time from a local number. They are using real people in my neighborhood to spoof a number. I have no credit cards. I have signed up with the do not call registry however the calls continue. I just turn off the phone in the evening.