When you send money to people you do not know personally or give personal or financial information to unknown callers, you increase your chances of becoming a victim of telemarketing fraud.
Warning Signs - From the FBI
The FBI’s website provides several warning signs:
Beware of the following statements a caller may make, such as:
- "You must act 'now' or the offer won't be good."
- "You've won a 'free' gift, vacation, or prize." But you have to pay for "postage and handling" or other charges.
- “You must send money, give a credit card or bank account number, or have a check picked up by courier." You may hear this before you have had a chance to consider the offer carefully.
- "You don't need to check out the company with anyone." The callers say that you do not need to speak to anyone; including your family, lawyer, accountant, local Better Business Bureau, or consumer protection agency.
- “You don't need any written information about their company or their references."
- “You can't afford to miss this "high-profit, no-risk" offer."
If you hear these or similar statements from a telephone salesperson, just say "no thank you," and hang up the phone.
Some Tips to Avoid Telemarketing Fraud:
If you have signed up to be a part of the National Do Not Call list, the number of phone solicitations you receive has probably subsided. Nonetheless, it’s wise to understand the types of telemarketing fraud that exist. Once this fraud has taken place it's tough to get your money back. But you can avoid most fraud by carefully following these FBI guidelines:
- Don't buy from a company you know nothing about. Legitimate businesses understand that you want more information about their company and are happy to provide you with background information.
- Always ask for and wait until you receive written material about any offer or charity. If you get brochures about costly investments, ask someone whose financial advice you trust to review them. But, beware -- unfortunately, not everything written down is true.
- Always check out unfamiliar companies with your local consumer protection agency, Better Business Bureau, state Attorney General, the National Fraud Information Center, or other watchdog groups. Unfortunately, not all bad businesses can be identified through these organizations.
- Obtain a salesperson's name, business identity, telephone number, street address, mailing address, and business license number before you transact business. Some con artists give out false names, telephone numbers, addresses, and business license numbers. Verify the accuracy of these items. Before you give money to a charity or make an investment, find out what percentage of the money is paid in commissions and what percentage actually goes to the charity or investment.
- Before you send money, ask yourself a simple question. "What guarantee do I really have that this solicitor will use my money in the manner we agreed upon?"
- You must not be asked to pay in advance for services. Pay services only after they are delivered.
- Some con artists will send a messenger to your home to pick up money, claiming it is part of their service to you. In reality, they are taking your money without leaving any trace of who they are or where they can be reached.
- Always take your time making a decision. Legitimate companies won't pressure you to make a snap decision.
- Don't pay for a "free prize." If a caller tells you the payment is for taxes, he or she is violating federal law.
- Before you receive your next sales pitch, decide what your limits are -- the kinds of financial information you will and won't give out on the telephone.
- It's never rude to wait and think about an offer. Be sure to talk over big investments offered by telephone salespeople with a trusted friend, family member, or financial adviser.
- Never respond to an offer you don't understand thoroughly.
- Never send money or give out personal information such as credit card numbers and expiration dates, bank account numbers, dates of birth, or social security numbers to unfamiliar companies or unknown persons. Your personal information is often brokered to telemarketers through third parties.
- Never give out your ATM PIN to anyone.
If you have information about fraudulent activity, report it to your state, local, or federal law enforcement agencies.
What To Do If You Think Fraud has Taken Place
Immediately contact the Company, or Bank that represents your credit card, your checking account, loan etc. to let them know of any fraudulent activity directed against you. Call The Pleasant Hill Bank (816) 540-3104 to report any discrepancies with your checking or savings accounts. Describe the circumstances with as much detail as possible. Let them know about charges you did not make, or withdrawals from your accounts.They can give you the necessary steps to correct the problem.
Contact Information - To Report Fraudulent Activity
If you have information about fraudulent activity, report it to your state, local, or federal law enforcement agencies. The contact information for our area agencies is given by clicking Here.
If you'd like to learn more about fraud and how to prevent it, the following websites provide even more detail than we have covered here.