Kathleen G. Kane - Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General - Protecting Pennsylvanians

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Protect Yourself From Telemarketing Fraud

Sometimes it's hard to know when a sales call is legitimate.  With the growing problem of telemarketing fraud, consumers need to be very skeptical whenever they receive an unsolicited sales call.  Even companies whose names you recognize and may even trust have been sued for fraud.

Consider enrolling your home phone number and cell phones on the federal and state Do Not Call List. It is easy, free, and allows you to choose with whom you speak about purchases. Since signing on to Do Not Call restricts telemarketing calls to only those with whom you request call you or those companies with whom you already have a business releationship, it is more likely the selection pool will be of higher quality.

Here are some quick tips to help keep you from becoming a victim of telemarketing fraud:

  • Always ask the telemarketer for the company's full name and address and a clear explanation of their offer
  • Ask the caller to send you written material to review before making a purchase
  • Do not pay for any prize or send money to improve your chances of winning
  • Never give a caller your credit card or bank account number

Remember the Telemarketing Registration Act prohibits:

  • Conducting telemarketing business between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m.
  • Calling a person who has previously indicated a desire not to be called
  • Failing to end a telemarketing call when the consumer indicates a desire to end the call

Remember, if the telemarketing calls are from home improvement contractors, the Office of Attorney General has a database of over 70,000 registered contractors. Being registered on the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act (HICPA) database does not ensure reliability, integrity or competence but does provide business contact information.

Consumers with questions or complaints may contact the Bureau of Consumer Protection's Toll-Free Hotline at 1-800-441-2555 or log onto the Attorney General's website at www.attorneygeneral.gov.