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Top Helena, MT Telemarketing Fraud Lawyers Near You

Telemarketing Fraud Lawyers | Helena Office

211 5th Ave, Helena, MT 59601

Helena Telemarketing Fraud Information

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Find a Telemarketing Fraud Attorney near Helena

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.

Best Time to Seek Legal Help

No matter what your legal issue may be, it is always best to seek legal help early in the process. An attorney can help secure what is likely to be the best possible outcome for your situation and avoid both unnecessary complications or errors.

Tips on Approaching an Initial Attorney Consultation

  • Use the consultation as a means of gaining a better understanding of your legal situation.
  • Ask the attorney how many cases similar to yours he/she has handled. An attorney’s experience and knowledge can speak to their expertise (or lack of) in addressing your situation.
  • Your attorney should be able to articulate roughly how long a case like yours will take to resolve and what sort of procedures to expect.
  • Determine how comfortable you are working with the lawyer and/or law firm.

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

Pro se – This Latin term refers to representing yourself in court instead of hiring professional legal counsel. Pro se representation can occur in either criminal or civil cases.

Statute – Refers to a law created by a legislative body. For example, the laws enacted by Congress are statutes.

Subject matter jurisdiction – Requirement that a particular court have authority to hear the claim based on the specific type of issue brought to the court. For example, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court only has subject matter jurisdiction over bankruptcy filings, therefore it does not have the authority to render binding judgment over other types of cases, such as divorce.

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