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November 25, 2014

BISMARCK, ND – North Dakota consumers have seen a recent surge in the “lower interest rate” pre-recorded message scams, but Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem has taken action today to put a stop to one scam artist.

Steven Short, doing business as Epiphany Management Systems, LLC, of Seminole, Florida, has been banned from doing business in North Dakota. Short was running a sham operation leaving illegal pre-recorded messages with phony offers to lower the interest rate on the consumer’s credit cards.

“North Dakotans should be skeptical of any unsolicited offer to reduce the interest rate on their credit cards, especially when it comes in the form of an illegal pre-recorded message,” said Stenehjem. “These phony offers are favored by scam artists because they provide a quick return of cash,” he continued.

A consumer who responded to the phony offer was required to pay $795 for the service. When the promised reduction in interest rates did not occur, the consumer filed a complaint with the Attorney General’s consumer protection division. The pre-recorded message directed the consumer to call a telephone number to take advantage of the supposed offer. Investigators discovered the telephone number was owned by Short’s business, Epiphany Management Systems. Short also does business as Consigned Savings, Consignedsavings.com, Efficient Budgeting, and Efficientbudgeting.com.

Parrell Grossman, director of the Consumer Protection division, reminded North Dakota consumers that pre-recorded messages, or robocalls, are illegal in North Dakota. “If you receive an unsolicited pre-recorded message, you can be sure it is not a legitimate offer or service,” Grossman said.

Often, the scam artists use spoofing technology to mask the identity of the number they are using to make the calls and avoid enforcement efforts.

Consumers who receive an unsolicited pre-recorded message can file a complaint with the consumer protection division. 

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