Telemarketing fraud and direct mail appeals cost Americans $40 billion each year.
Elderly are a major target
- Phony fundraiser - false charities
- Bogus investment and insurance schemes
Common Telemarketing Fraud Tricks
- Travel scams - usually involve prizes or awards - requires a "deposit" charged to a credit card - space not available for trip.
- Prize offers - winners receive postcards announcing they are "guaranteed" a prize - must call a "900" number to verify prize - are charged for use of 900 numbers.
- Magazine subscriptions - victims are talked into multi-magazine contracts with multi-year automatic renewal agreements. Victims often make a financial commitment of hundreds of dollars for magazines of marginal interest that could have been bought more cheaply on the newsstand.
- Telefunding scams - questionable charitable causes.
Phone Fraud - Do's And Don’ts
Do be wary of telephone calls or postcards with offers "too good to be true." They usually are.
Do refuse to be pressured to make a hasty decision
Do be skeptical of you are told you've won a prize, but have to pay something to receive it.
Do refuse a prize if you have to make a purchase to claim it.
If you feel you may have been conned, do call the police or the Better Business Bureau.
Do tell children and elderly friends and relatives never to reveal financial information to callers.
Before you agree to support a charity that calls seeking money, do ask for written information about its finances and programs.
If you are calling a 900 number in response to an advertisement or something you received in the mail, make sure you do know all the charges up front.
Do beware of companies and charities with "copy cat" names - such as Salvation League instead of Salvation Army.
Do beware of no risk, high yield investments.
Don't send cash, check or money order to any telemarketer insisting on immediate payment.
Don't provide a telemarketer with the name of your bank, checking account number or copy of your signature.
Don't be embarrassed to report telemarketing fraud.
*District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis and AARP encourage you to call the National Fraud Information Center at 1-800-876-7060.
Refuse to be pressured
Tell the authorities