Learn the Warning Signs of Telemarketing Fraud

People who are over the age of 60 are often targets for scam artists selling bogus services or items over the phone. Women and people who live alone are more likely to receive these calls. Most telemarketing scams involve low-cost vitamins, inexpensive vacations, health aids and various free prizes.

These scams come with some warning signs. The following are common components of scams:

  • Action must be taken immediately to avoid letting the offer expire.
  • It is necessary to pay postage or handling charges to receive a free gift, vacation tickets or prizes.
  • The caller says there is no need to verify the company’s credibility with any bureaus, friends or attorneys.
  • The caller says consumers do not need to have written information about the company.
  • In the first couple minutes, the caller says a bank account number, credit card number or check number must be provided.
  • The caller says the listener cannot afford to miss this profitable or no-risk offer.

How To Avoid Telemarketing Fraud

There are ways to avoid these scam artists and their harmful practices. After giving money to one of these fraudsters, it can be very difficult to be compensated. Before buying anything over the phone, remember the following tips:

  • Never buy items from unfamiliar companies.
  • If a company will not provide requested information, hang up the phone.
  • Do not make a purchase before receiving written material about the product or service.
  • Always ask a professional before making any investment purchases.
  • Ask a local consumer protection agency for data about new companies.
  • Verify the salesperson’s phone number, address, name and city before doing business.
  • Ask about commission percentages before giving any money to charities.
  • Think about what guarantees are offered that the money will be spent wisely.
  • Beware of companies offering to send sales representatives to pick up money.
  • Never pay in advance for any type of service.
  • Do not let a company pressure an immediate decision when more time is requested.
  • If a free prize is offered, there should never be a charge for postage or handling.
  • Callers stating that free prize fees are applied toward taxes are breaking the law.
  • Do not respond to offers that are not completely understandable.
  • Keep in mind that personal data is often sold to third parties.
  • Do not give any financial data to a caller. Always verify information before buying.
  • Do not provide personal data such as a Social Security number or birth date.
  • Beware of people offering to help recover any types of losses.

If a caller is using pressure tactics or trying to push a sale, the best thing to do is politely decline and hang up the phone immediately. Consumers who receive calls from fraudsters should report them to local, state or federal law enforcement agencies immediately.