It is very possible to use broadcast advertising to run a scam – the FTC frequently cracks down on the use of deceptive or fraudulent marketing. But to really purloin the money of consumers, computer marketing is hard to beat.
Digital advertising techniques can be used to do the job, as it would be done in broadcast or print advertising.
But digital scammers also have websites and email in their arsenal, and if they play their cards right, they can even get access to their victim’s bank account.
In the case of the Independent Association of Businesses (IAB), a website was the tool of choice. According to the FTC, consumers seeking health insurance “…submitted their contact information to websites purportedly offering quotes from health insurance companies. They paid an initial fee ranging from $50 to several hundred dollars, and a monthly fee ranging from $40 to $1,000 purportedly for comprehensive health insurance coverage, but instead they were enrolled in an IAB membership. The program included purported discounts on services such as identify-theft protection, travel, and roadside assistance, as well as certain purported healthcare related benefits, including limited discounts and reimbursements on visits to certain doctors or hospitals, subject to broad exclusions and limitations.”
Telemarketing was also part of the scam.
FTC said a settlement order “…imposes a $125 million judgment that will be partially suspended once the defendants surrender assets valued at almost $2 million, including $502,000 in IRA funds and personal property that includes five luxury cars (a Lamborghini, two Mercedes, a Porsche, and an MG Roadster). A separate settlement order requires relief defendant Avis. K. Wood to pay $60,000 from an IRA account that was funded by the defendants’ allegedly unlawful activities.”