Consumer Protection Division
- It is illegal for a telemarketer to call you if you’ve asked not to be called.
- Calling times are restricted to between 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- Telephone solicitors must tell you it is a sales call and who is doing the selling before they make their pitch.
- Telephone solicitors must tell you the total cost of the products or services they’re offering, any restrictions and if a sale is final or nonrefundable.
- Telephone solicitors must tell you the odds of winning a prize and that no purchase or payment is necessary to win and notify you of any other restrictions if there is a prize.
- It is illegal for a telephone solicitor to withdraw money from your account without your expressed, verifiable authorization.
Minimizing Your Risk
- Don’t let a telephone solicitor pressure you to make an immediate decision.
- Don’t give your credit card, checking account, or social security number to an unknown caller.
- Don’t pay for something because you will get a "free gift."
- Avoid wiring money or sending cash. Money orders and personal checks allow you to have a receipt to dispute fraudulent charges.
- Always ask for written material about any offer or charity that you do not recognize. Ask about their refund policy.
- Check unfamiliar companies with the AG’s consumer protection agency or the Better Business Bureau where the company is located before agreeing to a purchase.
- Talk over big investments with a trusted family friend or financial advisor.
- Never immediately respond to an offer you don’t thoroughly understand.
Common Telephone Scams
- Prize offers – You usually have to do something to get your free prize such as buying something or listening to a presentation. Sometimes they ask for your credit card number.
- Travel packages – Free or low-cost vacations can end up costing a lot of money or may never happen.
- Vitamins and other health products – often also include a prize to convince you to pay hundreds of dollars for something worth a much smaller value.
- Investments – People lose millions to “get rich quick” schemes.
- Charities – con artists often label phony charities with names that sound like better-known reputable organizations.
- Recovery scams – If you fall into any of the above scams, you may get called by someone offering to get your money back, but sometimes they may require a “finders fee.” This means you may have to pay again with no assurance that your money can be recovered.
Stop Telemarketing Calls
- Whether you think a telephone solicitor is fraudulent or not, if you want them to stop calling you, ask them to take you off their call list. Federal law requires the telephone solicitor to stop making calls to you and to keep a record of your request for 10 years.