Teen Track

Teen Citizens & Consumers: Telemarketing Scams

Protect Yourself from Telemarketing Scams

Telemarketing con artists cost consumers over $40 billion a year. And anyone with a telephone is susceptible to their tactics.

"Telesharks" can be friendly and understanding -- or aggressive and demanding.

They know how to push the right buttons to get you to "buy" what they're selling. Unfortunately, they're usually selling a scam.

But you can beat telesharks at their own game by educating yourself.

And remember, when the phone rings, you can get the last word by just hanging up.

Don't be scammed. Follow these tips to protect yourself:

Don't be afraid to hang up the phone if you are not interested;

Resist high pressure sales tactics. Legitimate businesses don't oversell their product;

Take your time. Ask for written information before you commit;

Your financial commitment may have long-term consequences -- talk with someone you trust about the offer, such as friends and family members;

Never pay an advance "fees" or "service charges." These are sure signs of a scam;

Before you pay, check out the company with your local consumer protection office, Better Business Bureau, or the Attorney General's Office.

Keep personal financial information, such as credit card and bank account numbers, to yourself until you are certain who you are dealing with;

Federal law limits telemarketing calls to between 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

What to Watch for:

An excited voice is on the other end of the phone: "Congratulations! You are a grand prize winner."

You are offered goods or services at a "discount" or "drastically reduced" price. But you have to act fast!

" How about a small donation for widows or crippled children?"

Who wouldn't want a free vacation or a low-cost trip to exotic-sounding places?

Sound familiar? Many times, telemarketers use attractive offers to separate you from your money.

Many scams are built on each other. When a consumer is scammed, their name is added to a "sucker list" that is often sold to other scam artists.

Don't be scammed. Follow these tips to protect yourself and your money.
And remember, "If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is!"



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