How do you know if a telemarketing call is a scam? That
friendly voice on the phone may belong to an honest salesperson who is just
trying to make a living or a crook who wants to trick you out of your money.
Three-quarters of the adults recently surveyed by Consumer Federation of
America (CFA) said that they think it is hard for most consumers to tell the
difference. And while nine in ten are concerned that telemarketing calls from
companies they haven’t done business with before might be fraudulent,
many do not know their basic telemarketing rights.
Knowing your telemarketing rights can help you spot fraud, because
legitimate companies usually follow the rules; scammers don’t. Is an
unfamiliar company calling you even though your phone number is on the
National Do Not Call Registry? Is it a recorded sales pitch when you never
gave the company written permission to make that type of “robocall”
to you? Is the company’s number blocked on your caller ID?
new guide to Understanding Your Telemarketing Rights and Avoiding Fraud
explains what telemarketers should and shouldn’t do and how you can
report violations. If the telemarketer is violating your rights, Stop! Hang Up! It may be a scam.
Other danger signs of telemarketing fraud include:
• Pressure to act immediately or you’ll lose this great
• Promises that you can make easy money working from home
• Offers to help you get a loan, fix your credit record, settle your
debts, save your home from foreclosure or recover money you’ve already
lost to a scam, if you pay a fee in advance
• Guarantees that you can make big returns on investments with
little or no risk
• Requests that you pay a fee to enter a sweepstakes or lottery or
send money for taxes, bonding, or legal expenses to claim your winnings. It’s
also a danger sign if a prize is being offered as part of a sales pitch and
the telemarketer doesn’t tell you that no purchase is necessary.
Another clue is how you’re asked to pay. Fraudsters usually want to
get paid fast and in cash — they don’t want to wait for checks to
clear or for payments to go through the credit card system, so they look for
other ways to get the money. If a telemarketer has money transfer as the only
method of payment it accepts, beware! Those services should only be used to
send money to companies you know and trust and to individuals you have met in
person. You should always have the choice of whether to use money transfers
or other ways to pay.
Scammers may even suggest that you put cash between the pages of a
magazine and send it to them. Legitimate telemarketers would never ask you to
do that. They are also exploiting new payment methods, telling people to send
them the money on a prepaid card or to put it on a MoneyPak, a product that
can be used to transfer funds to prepaid cards or make payments to authorized
merchants, and give them the serial number. Their aim is to cash in and
disappear before you realize that you’ve been robbed.
-- Courtesy of North American Precis Syndicate
Copyright © 2011 by Santa Monica Mirror. All rights reserved.