What Is Telemarketing Fraud?

There are legitimate companies that use telemarketing to reach potential customers, but telemarketing fraud costs consumers and businesses millions of dollars every year.

It isn’t always easy to recognize if someone on the other end of the line is trying to scam you. You can protect yourself and others by being aware of some of the danger signs of fraud and reporting any attempts.

How to Avoid Telemarketing Fraud

There are many ways you can protect yourself and your family from telemarketing fraud. For instance, make sure you are familiar with the caller’s company or charity. If you aren’t sure, you can always check for information about them with your state or local consumer protection agency. You might also find details online with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and any review sites.

Keep in mind, however, that even if you don’t find any negative information about the caller or the company, it doesn’t mean there aren’t or haven’t been problems. People who are part of fraudulent operations move quickly, and sometimes open and close before complaints can stick. A business could still be fraudulent, even if you don’t find any negative information.

It is important to look for other signs of fraud. Other ways to avoid telemarketing schemes include:

  • Easy money is a red flag: Fraudulent telemarketers often offer deals that can allow you to earn a large amount of money fast and easy, and usually without doing anything. This could be through seemingly legitimate methods like a loan or credit card or an opportunity to make money on an investment with “very little risk.” These offers are usually part of a scam that can cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
  • Beware of unfamiliar companies offering contest winnings: Fraudulent marketers sometimes use contest entries that contain personal information to identify potential victims. Be especially careful of contests that you did not enter claiming that you’ve won, and never pay to play. It is illegal for companies to require you to make a purchase or pay a fee to win or claim a prize.
  • Ask for more information: Legitimate companies will usually provide more information if you ask for it and give you time to think before making a decision. Be careful of marketers who want you to immediately decide, especially when money is involved. Ask for a number to call back after you’ve had a chance to think about the details. If the company will not provide more information it’s not a company you can trust.
  • Do not share your personal information: No matter how great the opportunity sounds, be vigilant about who you give your personal information to. Avoid requests for your birthday, Social Security number, or credit card or bank account numbers when dealing with marketers over the phone. Some scammers pose as law enforcement. Real police will never ask for your personal information over the phone in exchange for “helping” you.

What To Do if You Are a Victim of Telemarketing Fraud

Although victims don’t always get money back from telemarketing schemes, it’s important to report violations so officials can issue warnings to the public while trying to stop scams.

One organization that may be able to help is the National Fraud Information Center. Otherwise, you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or your state attorney general’s office.

How to Stop Telemarketing Calls

If you prefer to just stop telemarketing calls, under federal law, you can tell telemarketers to put you on their “Do Not Call” list. After you make this request, you should document it, including the date and company’s name and address. If they still call you, it is a violation of your Do Not Call rights, you may be able to sue for damages. Write down the date of the call and contact the FTC.

Speak to an Experienced Consumer Protection Attorney Today

This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified consumer protection lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local consumer protection attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.

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