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Recognize & Report Phone Fraud

Recognize Phone & Telemarketing Fraud

Every sales call you get by phone is an opportunity for a gut check: Ask yourself these questions and if the answers give you some doubt about the caller's intentions or methods, end the call.

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, say no thanks, and get off the phone.

What's their hurry? Fast talkers who use high pressure tactics could be hiding something. Take your time. Most legitimate businesses will give you time and written information about an offer before asking you to commit to a purchase.

If it's free, why are they asking me to pay? Question charges you need to pay to redeem a prize or gift. 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 'okay' so they can claim you approved a charge.

What time is it? The law allows telemarketers to call only between 8 am and 9 pm. A seller calling earlier or later is flouting the law.

Do I want more calls like this one? If you don't want a business to call you again, say so. If they call back, they're breaking the law. 

Report Phone & Telemarketing Fraud:
Recognizing fraudulent callers is important; reporting them to the appropriate law enforcement authorities is critical, too. When you report, you can help stop telephone scammers. Report telephone hucksters to the FTC and your state Attorney General so they can prosecute fraudulent telemarketers who try to steal your money.

To report phone fraud: visit or call 1-877-FTC-HELP.

Your complaint is entered into the Consumer Sentinel Network, a database that is used by law enforcement agencies across the country and around the world. It can help them track down scam artists, detect patterns in their calls, find other victims, and ultimately, stop the fraud.

** To register a phone number with the National Do Not Call Registry, visit
or call 1-888-382-1222. (Registration is free!)

If your number is on the National Do Not Call Registry, you should get calls only from those companies with which you do business or those that have your permission to call. If you get calls from a company you don't have a relationship with or from a company you have told not to call you report it. Jot down the name and number of the caller, and the date and time of the call.

To learn more: about how to recognize and report phone fraud, and how to place your phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry, go to