Top Whitefish, MT Telemarketing Fraud Lawyers Near You
Telemarketing Fraud Lawyers | Whitefish Office
911 Wisconsin Ave, Suite 201, Whitefish, MT 59937
Whitefish Telemarketing Fraud Information
Lead Counsel independently verifies Telemarketing Fraud attorneys in Whitefish and checks their standing with Montana bar associations.Our Verification Process and Criteria
- Ample Experience Attorneys must meet stringent qualifications and prove they practice in the area of law they’re verified in.
- Good Standing Be in good standing with their bar associations and maintain a clean disciplinary record.
- Annual Review Submit to an annual review to retain their Lead Counsel Verified status.
- Client Commitment Pledge to follow the highest quality client service and ethical standards.
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.
Top Questions to Ask When Hiring an Attorney
- How many years have you been practicing law? How long have you practiced law in the local area?
- How many cases similar to mine have you handled in the past?
- What is the likely outcome for my case?
In legal practice, experience matters. An experienced attorney will likely have handled issues similar to yours many, many times. Therefore, after listening to your situation, the attorney should have a reasonable idea of the time line for a case like yours and the likely resolution.
How to Prepare for Your Initial Consultation
Prepare for your consultation by writing down notes of your understanding of the case, jot down questions and concerns for the attorney, and gather your documents. Remember that you are trying to get a sense of whether the attorney has your trust and can help you address your legal issues. Questions should include how the attorney intends to resolve your issue, how many years he/she has been practicing law and specifically practicing in your area, as well as how many cases similar to yours the attorney has handled. It can also be helpful to broach the subject of fees so that you understand the likely cost and structure of your representation by a specific attorney and/or legal team.
Types of legal fees:
Bill by the hour: Many attorneys bill by the hour. How much an attorney bills you per hour will vary based on a number of factors. For instance, an attorney’s hourly fee may fluctuate based on whether that hour is spent representing you in court or doing research on your case. Attorneys in one practice area may bill you more than attorneys in a different practice area.
Contingent fee: Some lawyers will accept payment via contingent fee. In this arrangement, the lawyer receives a percentage of the total monetary recovery if you win your lawsuit. In sum, the lawyer only gets paid if you win. Contingent fee agreements are limited to specific practice areas in civil law.
Flat fee: For “routine” legal work where the attorney generally knows the amount of time and resources necessary to complete the task, he/she may be willing to bill you a flat fee for services performed.
Common legal terms explained
Personal jurisdiction – Requirement that a particular court have authority over a person, in order to bind that person to the judgment of the court, based on minimum contacts. International Shoe Co v. Washington is a landmark Supreme Court case outlining the scope of a state court’s reach in personal jurisdiction.