Top East Helena, MT Telemarketing Fraud Lawyers Near You
Telemarketing Fraud Lawyers | Helena Office | Serving East Helena, MT
211 5th Ave, Helena, MT 59601
East Helena Telemarketing Fraud Information
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How Does Telemarketing Fraud Work?
Telemarketing fraud is the practice of scamming or fleecing recipients of your call by falsely representing a legitimate business or other enterprise.
Typically, scammers begin the call by creating a sense of urgency within the recipient of the call — perhaps saying that the recipient has won a prize (a cruise, etc.) and must supply their credit card information to pay for a nominal deposit. While a large number of call recipients may hang up or refuse to comply, a certain percentage of individuals inevitably will comply, and this is the payoff for the fraudster.
Once purchase or cash advances have been made against the victim’s card the scammer disappears.
What Are Some Examples of Telemarketing Fraud?
There are a number of popular telemarketing fraud schemes, ranging from the free cruise or vacation scam to simple cold-calling for sales products that will never be delivered (nonexistent culinary products, beauty products, medical products, etc.).
Perhaps the most popular example of telemarketing fraud involves the overpayment scheme. In this scenario, fraudsters use the phone to call unsuspecting victims while adopting the persona of a collections or accounting agent for a legitimate business or government agency such as VISA or the IRS. Under this guise, the fraudster advises the victim that they are in debt, with interest accruing at an unacceptable rate, and that they must pay their debt outstanding immediately. By using the aura of authority to intimidate their victims — as well as by creating a sense of urgency in order to get the victim to comply immediately, without considering the consequences or reliability of the caller — fraudsters manipulate their victims into emptying their bank accounts.
Who Investigates Telemarketing Fraud?
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is charged with investigating most serious cases of telemarketing fraud.
What Is the Penalty for Phone Scamming?
At the federal level, telemarketing fraud and email fraud are bundled together in the United States Code. Per these guidelines, there is an automatic forfeiture of all proceeds gained from the fraud in order both to make restitution to the victim(s) while also acting as a punitive measure. Penalties can be enhanced if fraudsters are seen to be taking advantage of pensioners or the elderly, with mandatory penalties ranging from 5 to 10 years in jail.
Generally speaking, phone scamming and telemarketing fraud are also prosecuted under the broader federal fraud statutes (regarding mail or wire fraud). Such offenses can lead to a punishment of no more than five years in federal prison — before considering aggravating elements.
Though telemarketing and email fraud are typically investigated by the FTC and charges are generally laid in federal court, states are also empowered to levy civil fines and further penalties for minor infractions. Fines can range from $1,000 to $3,000 per offense, plus restitution for any ill-gotten gains.
Can You Go to Jail for Telemarketing Fraud?
Yes. Because telemarketing fraud is so closely connected to other forms of fraud at the federal level, it is certainly possible to face incarceration in federal prison in response to a conviction.
For this reason, you should immediately secure the services of a skilled criminal defense attorney if you are facing charges related to telemarketing fraud. Not only can an attorney who is knowledgeable in the field of fraud law help you to navigate your charges — and how best to deal with them — but attorney-client privilege protects your discussions, keeping them private and allowing for honest conversation.
In many cases, your lawyer may be able to negotiate with the prosecution in favor of a reduced sentence, perhaps avoiding the prospect of jail entirely. A plea bargain may involve further financial restitution, some form of community service or both. A conviction on federal fraud charges is a very serious matter, and repeat offenders — or those who are accused of defrauding pensioners or other vulnerable populations — could face a lengthy prison sentence if found guilty.
What sort of issues can I seek legal help with?
Specialized legal help is available for most legal issues. Each case is unique; seeking legal help is a smart first step toward understanding your legal situation and seeking the best path toward resolution for your case. An experienced lawyer understands the local laws surrounding your case and what your best legal options might be. More importantly, there are certain situations and circumstances – such as being charged with a crime – where you should always seek experienced legal help.
Top Questions to Ask a Lawyer
- What is the usual process to resolve my case? How long will it take to resolve this?
- What are likely outcomes of a case like mine? What should I expect?
An experienced lawyer should be able to communicate a basic “road map” on how to proceed. The lawyer should be able to walk you through the anticipated process, key considerations, and potential pitfalls to avoid. Once you’ve laid out the facts of your situation to the lawyer, he/she should be able to frame expectations and likely scenarios to help you understand your legal issue.
How to Find the Right Attorney
- Determine the area of law that relates to your issue. Attorneys specialize in specific practice areas around legal issues within the broad field of law.
- Seek out recommendations from friends, family, and colleagues. A successful attorney or practice will typically have many satisfied clients.
- Set up consultation appointments to get a better understanding of your case as well as gauge your comfort level with different attorneys. Find the attorney who is the right fit for your needs.
Common legal terms explained
Plaintiff – a person or party who brings a lawsuit against another person(s) or party/parties in a court of law. Private persons or parties can only file suit in civil court.
Judgment – A decision of the court. Also known as a decree or order. Judgments handed down by the court are usually binding on the parties before the court.