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The Belly of the Santa Barbara Telemarketing Monster Exposed

Federal officials lodged a complaint against a Santa Barbara company called National Sales Group back on March 2,2011 for the alleged scamming of customers to the tune of over $8 million. In Santa Barbara alone, there have been 15 companies and 20 individuals since 1996 that have made themselves targets for the FTC on the grounds of telemarketing practices of a less than honest nature.

Using the South Coast area as the basis of gathering conclusions on the industry, it’s apparent that most formidable scammers follow a script. In one such case, false avenues to new jobs are advertised and then purchased. The promise is not kept, but the charges remain.

Such cases as this have resulted in $20 million in settlement damages levied. However, according to a Business Times analysis of FTC complaints over the years, only a few hundred thousand dollars have actually been recovered.

Back to the National Sales Group, which is the latest crackdown target: posted “non-existent” jobs on that prompted the FTC’s complaints. The firm used telemarketers to call consumers to tell them they had been recruited. The company then took $97 from the customers for services that didn’t come to fruition. They did so all while making it almost impossible to get a refund.

The number’s to the company were disconnected and the firm itself couldn’t be reached. Guy Ward, who is the FTC attorney working the case, has said there is no evidence so far that the firm is connected to firms previously accused by the FTC. “It’s always possible that people who are working at an enterprise like this have worked at other similar kinds of enterprises, perhaps not as officer or director,” Ward said.