US sues ‘consent farm’ operator for ‘massive’ telemarketing deception

By Jonathan Stempel

(Reuters) – The U.S. government sued a New York-based company on Monday for allegedly operating a so-called “massive ‘consent-farming’ business” to trick nearly a million people a day into providing personal information and agree to receive telemarketing calls.

Fluent LLC was accused of using deceptive ads and websites since 2011 to promise free rewards, including unobtainable big name brands like Amazon and Walmart, and interviews for jobs that didn’t exist. .

The Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission said Fluent’s real purpose was to sell “leads” to telemarketers who then inundated consumers with robocalls, text messages and emails about car warranties. , debt reduction, education for profit, pain cream, solar energy and other products. And services.

According to a lawsuit filed in federal court in West Palm Beach, Florida, tens of millions of people have been deceived, many on the National Do Not Call Registry, with Fluent in 2018 and 2019 alone generating 93.4 million dollars in revenue from selling over 620 million leads.

Fluent operates under names including Flash Rewards, the National Consumer Center, The Reward Genius, Up Rewards, FindDreamJobs, JobsOnDemand and StartACareerToday, according to the complaint.

A company attorney did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The complaint seeks civil penalties and an injunction against further violations of federal telemarketing laws.

On Tuesday, the FTC, in conjunction with 101 federal and state law enforcement agencies, plans to announce “Operation Stop Scam Calls,” a crackdown on telemarketers, lead generators and others responsible for billions of illegal telemarketing calls. .

The case is US v. Fluent LLC et al, US District Court, Southern District of Florida, No. 23-81045.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Aurora Ellis)

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