FTC Bust "American Idol" Voting Scam
On behalf of the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a complaint and consent order against several Utah-based defendants settling Commission charges that they deceived approximately 25,000 consumers who were trying to call the popular television show "American Idol" to vote for their favorite performer during the 2002 and 2003 seasons.
According to the FTC's complaint, the defendants took advantage of callers who inadvertently misdialed the "American Idol" phone numbers by buying numbers that were very close to - but not the same as - the correct numbers (i.e., an 800 prefix instead of the 866 prefix or a switch in two of the digits (1-866-463-5701 instead of 1-866-436-5701)) and that routed the callers to the defendants' own toll-free lines. The callers were then allegedly led to believe that they had to call a 900 number to place their vote, and that they had to pay a fee ranging from $1.99 to $2.97 per call.
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