Can you recognize a phone fraudster? The Federal Trade Commission today announced a new consumer education campaign named "Who's Calling?" that aims to combat telemarketing scams. It features a new Web site – in both English and Spanish – and a short video.
To recognize and avoid telemarketing fraud, the FTC recommends consumers ask:
- Who’s calling - and why? Telemarketers must tell you it’s a sales call, the name of the seller, and what they’re selling before they make their pitch. If they don’t give you the required information, say “no thanks” and hang up.
- What’s their hurry? Fast talkers who use high pressure tactics could be hiding something.
- If it’s free, why are they asking me to pay? Free is free. If you have to pay, it’s a purchase – not a prize or a gift.
- Why am I “confirming” my account information – or giving it out at all? Some callers have your billing information before they call you. They’re trying to get you to say “OK” so they can claim you approved the charge. Or they want your account number.
- What time is it? The law allows telemarketers to call only between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. A seller calling earlier or later is flouting the law.
- Isn’t there a National Do Not Call Registry? Yes, and adding your number to the registry will stop most telemarketing calls – but not all. Register your land line or wireless number online at https://www.donotcall.gov or call 1-888-382-1222. (Also, contrary to e-mail messages circulating via the Internet, the federal government is not releasing cell phone numbers to telemarketers.)
Also today, the FTC announced a huge crackdown on telemarketing scammers.