No credit card phone sex

17 Mar

"Someone called my boss and told him that I was making '900' phone calls," another consumer told the Attorney General's office, referring to telephone-sex lines with the 900 prefix."I have never placed such a call," the consumer added."Before the recession, consumers were encouraged to carry debt, and spending was seen almost as a patriotic thing to do to stimulate the economy," said Michael Solomon, professor of marketing and director of the Center for Consumer Research at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia. Credit card debt isn't as accepted now; it carries more of a stigma." The recession, which began at the end of 2008, saw consumers sharply curtail credit card spending.The overall amount of credit card debt dropped 8.8 percent in 2009 and 7.6 percent in 2010, before leveling out in subsequent years, according to the Federal Reserve.The Federal complaint is a civil action, and Michael R.Stiles, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, refused to say at the news conference here whether his office would file criminal charges.

"Some victims claim they did not owe any money at all, either because they had paid their debts or they had never used the phone line at all." On Tuesday, a Federal judge granted the Federal prosecutors' request to close the business temporarily and seize its assets, pending a court hearing next week.

PHILADELPHIA, June 9— A company that specialized in collecting debts for calls to telephone-sex lines extorted more than million by threatening to inform spouses and employers about clients' debts for the calls, Federal prosecutors said today at a news conference.

Some victims said they had never called the sex services but had paid the collection agency to avoid embarrassment, according to complaints made to state and Federal authorities.

"They are still calling our home," one consumer complained to the Pennsylvania Attorney General's office last September after she had paid a bill for that she said she did not owe.

Other people who refused to pay say the company carried out its threats.