Telemarketing Scam Alleged; Mesa Firm Fleeces the Elderly With Bogus ID Theft Protection, AG Says

A Mesa phone soliciting firm has fleeced untold numbers of elderly victims since 2000 by promising identity theft protection, says the state Attorney General's office.

A lawsuit filed June 30 says that reps from the Consumer Benefits Group, which lists an address of 12 West Main Street, call people at home to sell them services that aren't worth anywhere near what they're charging.

For instance, for $388, the company sells an "Identity Watch Program" that consists of an application for a credit card, an application to obtain a consumer's credit report (available free from and access to the company's "counselors" in case of identity theft. In other words, customers get next to nothing.

As far as we're concerned, that's pretty much the case with other, supposedly reputable anti-identity-theft firms like the Tempe-based LifeLock, too. But we digress. 

The owners of CBG are Cory McCormick, his wife Tesha and associate Robert Meier. We left a message on the company's voicemail but haven't heard back yet. They might be too busy badgering old folks, judging by the lawsuit's allegations.

The only question here is what took Attorney General Terry Goddard so long to go after these guys?

Oklahoma took the company on in 2004, resulting in a settlement that banned the company from making sales calls in the state. The latter link to the 2006 story details other "products" the company sells, including a $127 thermometer CBG calls its "Stress Check Computer."

Goddard alleges the company has not followed the proper rules for setting up a telemarketing company in Arizona, such as letting customers know they have three days to get a full refund if they don't like what they bought.

News of the lawsuit first broke on, but the lawsuit link wasn't working, last time we checked. Also, one of the scanned-in pages of the lawsuit was missing. We love this Web site too much to diss it just yet, though -- we'll check back later and update this post with the correct link, if it comes back.


KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.