Telemarketing Fraud

This is one of the most common types of fraud against senior adults, so let’s look at some tips to help prevent telemarketing fraud. Be sure to tell those you love to watch out for these buzzwords for fraud. The tip-offs can be:

  • You must act “now” or the offer will expire.
  • You have won a “free” gift, vacation or prize, but must pay taxes or some other charge.
  • You must send money via Western Union, give a credit card or bank account number, or have a check picked up via courier—before you’ve had the chance to fully carefully consider the offer.
  • You don’t have to check with anyone regarding the company—like a family lawyer, accountant, local Better Business Bureau, or the Bureau of Consumer Protection.
  • You don’t need to have written information about the company or its references.
  • You cannot afford to miss this “high-profit, no risk” offer.

Also, be on guard for area code “876,” as this is the code for Jamaica and these types of calls can appear just like regular ones on a caller ID. Jamaican phone scams are increasing, so be aware of that.

It’s also important that a person knows his or her rights when it comes to being the targets of fraudulent telemarketers. For example, in Wisconsin specifically:

  • It is illegal for a telemarketer to call you if you have not asked to be called.
  • Calling is restricted to between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.
  • They must tell you if it is a sales call, the name of the seller, and what they are selling before making their pitch. If it’s a prize promotion, they have to tell you that you do not have to pay anything or buy anything to enter or win.
  • They cannot lie about any information, including facts about goods or services, earnings potential, profitability, risk or liquidity of a prize in a promotion scheme
  • Before paying, they must tell you the total cost of the goods, any restrictions on get or using them and if the sale is final or nonrefundable.
  • They must tell you the odds of winning, if it’s a prize promotion, that no purchase is necessary to win, as well as any restrictions or conditions to receiving the prize.

These are some laws, there are more; however, we don’t have time to cover everything, so let’s move on. Now, let’s finish by looking at some tips to help lessen calls:

  • Never give personal information to someone on the phone unless you called first and have confidence in the person or agency you’re talking to.
  • If callers offer something free, you shouldn’t have to pay for it.
  • “Limited time offers” shouldn’t require an immediate decision then and there.
  • Legitimate companies will never ask you to keep the call a secret, telemarketers may.
  • Request materials be mailed to you and then you will decide, as it can be difficult to understand all the details of a verbal offer.
  • Finally, if something seems off, or if you’re being pressured, simply hang up.