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May 24

The hunt for Rachel at Cardholder Services

Editor’s note: This is the first of four parts about the annoying “Rachel” from Cardholder Services telemarketing calls.

Back in January, I spotlighted the nightmare that is “Rachel”, and a court case to stop her. Little did I know, that I was only scratching the surface, and the facts in this case go much deeper.

Rachel calling...

Since I wrote about it in January, I’ve gotten a couple of more calls from “Rachel”, who promptly got the hang up treatment. Thinking that as the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission’s case went forward against Roy M. Cox and Castle Rock Capital Management, they would ultimately stop. But, as others have shared through the comments on my earlier post, this is not the end.

I set about to thinking about an operation like this, I came up with several questions, and set about trying to get answers. Hopefully with what I expose here, it will help readers understand it is going to take patience to end this scam.

What, exactly is this scam about?

In the scam,  the caller presents themself as being from a debt/interest rate reduction service, operating on behalf of your bank or credit card.  They tell you that if you have more than a specified amount of debt, they want to “work” with you to lower your interest rates to “better than most” levels.

Under the guise of this service, they ask for your credit card numbers, social security numbers, balances and bank contact numbers.  By this point, any intelligent person is suspicious of this activity.  Using this information, they claim they will work with your bank/credit card to lower the rate.

The cost for this service? Reports say anywhere from $1,000 to $1,500.  Working directly with the bank and/or credit card company may not make as extreme rate reduction as they promise, but will cost you $0 – and you would likely save what you would have paid the scam artists in interest fees.

If you show any sign of intelligence up front (remove me from your list, violation of do not call lists, etc.), they immediately hang up on you. Likewise if you select from the automated system that you want them to remove you from the list, you are immediately hung up upon, and they flag it as a live number to call and harass again later.

Who are the players?

Roy Cox and Castle Rock Capital Management are only one of several organizations that likely are employing this scam, and at the rate the DOJ is shutting them down, potentially new players are popping up (or is it the same players just changing their name?) as quickly as the courts place permanent injunctions on others.

I use the term “player”, just like they are all playing a big game of poker, each one trying to outdo the next.  It is also based on the fact that there are only so many “seats” at the table, otherwise the market would be too saturated for the scam to profit.  As one player leaves the table, another can step in and take that seat.

The fact that there are so many players leads me to believe that this racket must generate money, albeit illegally, to call for continued operations.

The players we know that are now involved, including names and cities are:

  • Ambrosia Web Design LLC, Chris Ambrosia, Mesa, Arizona
  • American Debt Negotiators, Ran David Barnea, Boca Raton, Florida
  • Associated Accounting Specialists Inc., William R. Page, Port Saint Lucie, Florida
  • Castle Rock Capital Management, Roy M. Cox, Laguna Niguel, California
  • Concord Financial Advisors LLC, Lee Cestine, Mesa, Arizona
  • Financial Services Solutions LLC, CEO Unknown, New York, New York
  • PHL International, Mark Burton, Deerfield Beach, Florida
  • Premiere Debt Solutions, CEO Unknown, Orlando, Florida
  • Red Leaf Capital LLC, Leroy Castine, Mesa, Arizona

And there are likely others as well.

In researching this, the three Mesa, Arizona based companies seem to all have corporate addresses of a single private residence.  The names Lee Cestine and Leroy Castine are likely aliases used by Chris Ambrosia.

Likewise, some of the companies above, including Castle Rock Capital Management, use a number of other shell companies extending this business outside the United States, likely with the thought of being out of reach of the Federal Government.

Who is “Rachel”?

“Rachel”, “Michelle”, “Heather” and others in these robocalls are likely voice talent for hire. Much like the announcements you hear on your voice mail, or at the airport, these women were likely employed at one time to record the announcements for the robocalls.

If the women still get paid for the use of that recording, and if they (or their employer) is selling it to companies directly, is hard to say. The recording could also be shared among the players, bypassing the original producer.

Ernestine the operator (Lily Tomlin)

“Rachel”, for as far as we know, could be a 78-year-old grandmother that makes extra income by recording these voice announcements.

Who is “Cardholder Services”

There actually was a company called “Cardholder Services” that may have started this robocalling promotion.  In March 2007, the Federal Communications Commission forced the Huntington Beach, California company out of business for violating the telemarketing rules.

It is my belief that the “Rachel” and other recordings may have been originally produced for them, and is now being used by the other players.

To create the cash for settling with the Government, the equipment was likely sold to some of the other players.  This could explain for the Rachel recordings continuing unchanged.

Next time: I’ll present my theory on what makes “Rachel” work, and what it likely costs.

 

About the author

Michael Jones

Michael Jones is the founder of On The Spot Communications and On The Spot Blog.

A native of Ottawa, Kansas (approximately 60 miles South-West of Kansas City), he was born in the early 70's and lived most of his early life without traveling far from home.

He has since lived in Lenexa, Kansas (suburb of Kansas City), Houston, Texas, and now resides in Frisco, Texas (north of Dallas, Texas). He has had the experience of traveling to Tokyo, Japan and Tel Aviv, Israel, as well as numerous places around the USA.

A self-professed computer geek, when Michael's not working in his telecommunications job, he enjoys Model Railroading and Paintball.

Michael Jones is the founder of On The Spot Communications and On The Spot Blog.

More about Michael »

Permanent link to this article: http://onthespotblog.com/the-hunt-for-rachel-at-cardholder-services/

  • DeletedMedia

    Thanks for listing those robo-scum-ers.
    We have a ton of info on some of them.
    Financial Services Solutions, LLC and Red Leaf Capital, LLC are part of Client Servces Inc’s fraudulent “affiliates”, based mostly in Missouri. They have other hidden call centers in Florida, Kansas, and Texas. When we requested TCPA DNC Polices from CSI and Financial Services Solutions, they shut down Financial Services Solutions and its website. We have printed copies of the corrupt BS they were selling, trading (stealing). They must have wore out papper shredders, trying to cover it all up, and talk trash to the American Consumer on another huge thread.

    http://complaintwire.org/complaint/TYkBAAAAAAA/client-services/30

    • http://onthespotblog.com/ On The Spot

      If you like what you see here, wait until part 4 of this series comes out – I reveal some more things about the “costs” of the operation (which was covered in part 2.)

      I know those boiler room call centers exist (I used to work for a company that had one in Duluth, Minnesota, pre Do-Not-Call list), and they can exist virtually anywhere (even virtually now, with agents literally working from home over an internet connection).

      • http://www.facebook.com/DeletedMedia Christopher Pike

        Thanks for the great blog spot. I have some more info on Financial Services Solutions, and some of the previously printed copies of their now defunct website are on our youtube videos.  (DeletedMedia)  

        http://youtu.be/9FX_o3O71R8

        This is an early report about “Robo-Call Software”.
        I’m not sure how accurate it is, but scary considering the mess the banks are in.

        Client Services Inc’s ILLEGAL foreign off-shore NY shell company Financial Services Solutions, LLC-
        So, now it reads differently, no surprise there. MANTA “business categories”- “Financial Services Solutions, LLC offer: Act software, Bmc software, V3 software, Custom software, and Discount software”.

        >Act Software; Relates to “Cloud Computing, Cloud Marketing“, keeps track of client and prospect details. Ever wonder how much American Consumer personal, and personal hard credit report information has been illegally accumulated?

        >Bmc Software; Relates to “Cloud Computing, Cloud Marketing, Cloud Telephony, Voice Broadcast, Robocall“, the delivery of computing as a Service rather than a Product, i.e., those recorded calls you keep getting.

        >V3 Software; Relates to MIG, Inc software, Social accounting matrices, examines transfer payments, or lack of transfer payments between financial institutions. How can that possibly be legal? Privacy laws.

  • Fmakrancy

    Is it just a coincidence that when you call the number 515-421-5843 that the name of the caller on the voicemail is Mike Jones?

    • http://onthespotblog.com/ On The Spot

      It wouldn’t surprise me at all that my name is being used. 

      Of course it is a common name – in Houston alone a few years ago, there were no less than 150 Michael Jones’ and variants in the phone book.

      I also know, based on visitors since this post went up, that at least one of the companies I mentioned has been looking at this site.  Their domain name came up in the traffic analysis tools.

      Part 3 is now available, but their eyes are going to bleed when they read the last part of my series.

  • D C Davis

    Get caller ID and a tape recorder.  Dial a number that isn’t in use and record the tones the phone company produces.  When a number you don’t know shows up on your CID, connect the call and play the tone.  Their system will automatically remove your number from their computer.

    • http://onthespotblog.com/ On The Spot

      If you’re referring to Special Information Tones (or as they’re called in the industry SIT tones) I’ll save you the trouble:

      http://onthespotblog.com/the-hunt-for-rachel-at-cardholder-services/sit/

      It won’t work though. Since around 2001-2002, the costs of “digital” business lines have dropped dramatically, along with Voice over IP (Internet) telephone service. Neither of these use the SIT tones as the call information is carried separate from the audio.

      In fact this separate call information tells the calling party digitally if the call was answered, busy, voice mail, forwarded, rejected, etc. This renders SIT tones useless. In fact the “TeleZapper” products that used to be on the market used this method as well, and were rendered ineffective for the same reasons.

      It is also through this separate call information message that the spoofed caller ID information is transmitted.

  • angrygramma

    I just got the robocall this morning from “Rachel”.  It sounds like a new recording but with the exact same script.  I did press 1 and listened for the pitch and then I said I hope the FBI shuts them down.  If you can as a private person get all this info, WHY CAN”T THE FCC AND THE FTC?  They are violating so many telemarketing regulations.  They are WHITE COLLAR ECONOMIC TERRORISTS with no morals, ethics, or good intentions and should be on a chain gang in the desert wearing pink underwear and eating bologna sandwiches.  That’s just my personal opinion.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_SXTFXLIXVBCXRCTMVAYCLDQIE4 Joseph

    Since the names and general locations of the perps are known I have to wonder why someone hasn’t just whacked them. I mean, if they started to ‘disappear’ or turn up with bullet holes in their heads you’d think the business model might start to lose some of it’s attraction for the remaining bottom feeders. Naturally I’m not advocating any illegal acts be committed but when thieves are operating openly and the government will do nothing about it (while at the same time making new laws about how much Coca Cola we can buy) then the citizenry might consider that it’s time to re-establish some sort of justice system that can function when others fail. People don’t have to settle for victimhood.

    • http://onthespotblog.com/ On The Spot

      Our Government is curently broken. Period. It has been broken since before the first world war, and it is going to take radical changes (and a lot of pain for a lot of us) to fix it.

      The problem has been made worse by the current administration, whom, while seeing the “Bridge Out” signs, instead of stepping on the brake is stepping further down on the gas.

      Rachel is an example of Government not addressing the people’s issues, but instead trying to address non-issues…

      • URLNTS

        The dumbest thing I ever heard,”current Administration”,why you would bring politics into a problem that everyone is having and dividing people!This is ridiculous and just makes solving the problem harder!But since you brought it up let’s have some facts … it’s the Republicans who constantly scream they would love to have no Regulations on thieving Corporations like this and Credit Card Companies in particular, they never want the Government to do anything to help people!Multiple Hypocrite!

  • http://www.facebook.com/DeletedMedia Christopher Pike

    Another “debt advocacy center/mortgage relief” scam shows up as sued by the FTC June 21, 2012.

    http://www.ftc.gov/os/caselist/0923143/index.shtm

    I’m not sure how the mortgage relief scammers are involved with the cardholder services scam, but I have found that “former employees” make the best report sources.
    It seems the robo-scammers just start back up with a different name and location.
    Here’s another “mortgage group” that has been reported on complaintwire.com doing the chs robos, by a former employee.

    I’m not sure how the mortgage relief scammers are involved with the cardholder services scam, but I have found that “former employees” make the best report sources.

    It seems the robo-scammers just start back up with a different name and location.

    Here’s another “mortgage group” that has been reported on complaintwire.com doing the chs robos, by a former employee.

    http://lenderfinder.org/mortgage/florida/destiny_mortgage_group_inc.html

  • Cow-911-go

    If they, NO they are financial terrorists.So why can’t someone more computer savvy than myself plant a hell of a virus as a spoofed virus and let them stew in their own juices?   Hmmm how come?
    Legitimate business doesn’t deserve it but these low life scum do. Maybe put an electronic hit on the lot of them and fry their robo toys. If Al Capone got pinched by the IRS guarantee these scum aren’t declaring the income either just shipping off shore. Sick the IRS on them if I knew how to trace like the B G does I’d be getting the proof and submitting it.
    Getting real tired of answering the now plethora of these annoying calls.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Shakyjimy Jimmy Lang

    I thought this was a company my wife contacted and I screwed up and gave them my info, I did not agree to anything.
    But they have my info
    What will they do with it?????

    • http://www.facebook.com/DeletedMedia Christopher Pike

      Do you have the name of the “company”? Was it “morgage relief”, or a run of the mill “robo-rachel” scammer? At least keep an eye on your bank accounts and credit report. Might also want to changeyour cc #’s.
       

  • Enough is Enough

    10/3/12 calls continue to come in daily. have now reported them to every government and law enforcement agency i could think of. thank you for your blogs. let’s bring these mf’s down

  • WayneN

    Today was the worst. I got a call from “Rachel” and pressed the 3 key to stop the calls then got another 5 minutes later. I pressed 1 and asked the person to take me off the list (as they are required to by law) and was addressed in very abusive language and threatened by name to be called daily. I told them several times to take me off the list. Why do they think I would want to avail myself of their “services”?

  • http://www.facebook.com/brad.debow Brad DeBow

    I’ve had about 30 to 40 of these calls on my cell from 14 different phone numbers, each of which I put into my contact list under a contact named Ass Hole that has a silent ring and no vibrate so I don’t know when they try again. They’ve usually tried two or three times on each number, so I get some minor satisfaction from later, when I look, seeing the “Missed call from Ass Hole.” Today (1-21-13) they had a different tactic. The call came from “Unknown” with no phone number shown so I couldn’t put it in my contact list under Ass Hole. The call content was the same as always except from Tiffany this time.

    As a museum director I get calls from all over the country, including those from “Unknown” which are usually valid calls, so not answering calls from someone I don’t know is not an option.

    Any suggestions?

  • jim_shipley

    How can a government that can’t stop card holder services ever stop cyber terriorism

  • El Be

    Another tack: let’s all go after the phone companies.
    They surely have the ability to monitor and control illegal traffic.
    Is it that they make scads of money from these scumbags that keeps them from doing so?
    The and the FCC should be able to act in unison.

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