Before You Take that Call Beware of Telemarketing Scams
October 27th, 2011
These telephone fraudsters may also call to engage you in “cramming” and “slamming.” Nope, not the kind of cramming and slamming that’s featured in a WWE wrestling match. In a cramming scam, you’re charged for products or services that you haven’t ordered or authorized, and which mysteriously end up on your telephone bill (under vague terms, such as “service charge” or “membership plan”). As for slamming, that happens when your telephone service is switched without your permission.
Here are some examples of common telemarketing scams:
- Bargain Magazine Subscriptions
- Prizes/Sweepstakes Scams
- Free or Bargain Vacation Scams
Other examples of false or deceptive telemarketing include credit repair fraud, franchise and business opportunity scams, advanced-fee credit card scams, and government auctions scams. In fact, 19% of fraud complaints made to the FTC every year involve telemarketing. You don’t want to be part of this crowd. Here’s what you can do:
- Sign-up to have your personal number(s) on the National Do Not Call Registry to limit the number of telemarketers who call you.
- Be wary of calls asking you to “verify” confidential information.
- Do not give out credit card information, Social Security numbers, or banking details over the phone to a telemarketer – EVER.
- Before agreeing to any deal over the telephone, ask for a written contract that confirms any offers the caller makes verbally. Don’t deal with anyone who refuses such a request and asks you to make a decision immediately over the phone.
- Free is free. Don’t agree to any deal that requires you to pay for a transaction, shipping and handling fees, currency conversion, or any other type of fee if it’s supposed to be free.
- Be realistic – your chances of winning a foreign lottery are less than growing a second head.
- Keep a close eye on your telephone, cable, and utility bills for incorrect or unfamiliar charges.
If you believe that you have been a victim of a fraudulent or deceptive telemarketing call, you can contact your State Attorney General and the FTC at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357), or at reportfraud.ftc.gov.
The practice of charging customers for cell phone services that they did not request or approve.
A business form that involves an entrepreneur (the ‘franchisee’) partnering with a large, established company (the ‘franchisor’) to open and run one or more of the company’s stores. These stores are a kind of one-size-fits-all proposition, with real limits placed on the way that the entrepreneur (the franchisee) can run the business and present the company’s brand to the public. In return, the entrepreneur is assured that he or she will have exclusive rights to a given geographic area in which the franchisor will award no further franchises, thereby limiting the amount of competition that the entrepreneur will have to face in the marketplace. When considering entering into a franchise agreement, entrepreneurs should proceed very carefully and closely examine the disclosure documents that the franchisor is required by to share by law with prospective partners prior to the signing of any deal.