The Federal Trade Commission says that American Tax Relief is preying on citizens already in financial distress and ratcheting the distress up, luring them to its services via a fraudulent advertising campaign. A federal judge has stopped the company’s operation.
According to the FTC, ATR “allegedly bilked consumers out of more than $60 million by falsely claiming it can reduce people’s tax debts – the company’s California state business license was suspended last year for not paying its own taxes, the FTC alleges.” The FTC is seeking customer retribution from the service.
“We’ve made it a top priority to go after scammers who try to exploit the financial hardship of others,” said David C. Vladeck, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “For people having a tough time paying their taxes, the last thing they need is to lose more money to a fraud.”
TV, radio and Internet ads were all involved in American Tax Relief’s marketing program in which it “…falsely claims it can settle consumers’ delinquent federal and state taxes for a fraction of the amount they owe,” said FTC.
A typical television ad shown during the FTC announcement of the legal action is below.
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