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PHOENIX -- Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne won a $250,000 settlement against several Arizona companies convicted of credit card fraud, his office announced in a press release.

The companies, National Bankcard Monitor and Financial Interest Strategies and their owner, Gino Niccoli, took money from thousands of customers nationwide between April 2010 and November 2012 and promised them a lower interest rate on credit cards.

"Customers complained that the telemarketers pretended to be affiliated with their credit card companies and made a money-back guarantee that they would lower their interest rates on their credit cards," Horne said. "The companies' real product was merely an accelerated payoff plan, recommending that customers pay off their highest interest debts first."

For example, the company said it charged $1,499 to lower interest rates and would save consumers $2,000 to $5,000 in charges. Rather than actually dropping interest rates, the company used a program that would pay off the highest interest debts first.

Anyone who paid for service from the companies should contact Horne's office by calling (602) 542-5763 in the Phoenix area, (520) 628-6504 in Tucson or (800) 352-8431 nationwide.

To file a claim online or for more information, click here.

Martha Maurer, News Editor

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