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Law establishes protections against telemarketing fraud

By Sun Advocate

Telemarketing fraud has become a multi-billion dollar business in the United States.
In order to avoid falling victim to the fraudulent activities, Carbon County residents should treat telephone solicitations with skepticism, indicates the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.
The con artists are after consumers’ money and never run out of scams.
Common fraudulent activities include free prize offers, special travel packages, vitamins and health products, phony investment opportunities, rip-off charity and recovery scams.
Carbon County citizens should be aware of the U.S. Telemarketing Sales Rule, points out the federal agency. The law designed to help protect consumers from abusive and deceptive telemarketers.
The federally implement legal guideline requires tele marketers to make specific disclosures and prohibits certain misrepresentations.
In addition, the FTC rule empowers American consumers to stop unwanted telemarketing calls.
The guideline provides law enforcement agencies with the authority to prosecute fraudulent telemarketers operating across state lines.
The rule covers most types of telemarketing calls to consumers, including calls to pitch goods, services, sweepstakes, prize promotions and investment opportunities.
It statute applies to calls consumers make in response to postcards or other materials received in the mail.
Under fedeal law, it is illegal for a telemarketer to contact consumers who have asked not to be called.
In the event the situation occurs, the trade commission advises Carbon residents to hang up and report the telemarketers to the Utah Attorney General’ Office.
The federal statute retricts telemarketing calling times to the hours between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.
In addition, telemarketers must tell consumers up front that the contact constitutes a sales solicitation call and identify the seller before making a pitch.
If the telephone contact involves a prize promotion, the callers must tell Carbon County residents that no purchase or payment is necessary to enter or win.
If asked by a telemarketer to pay for a prize, local consumers should promptly hang up the phone.
After all, free means free, points out the FTC.
The federal statute specifies that it is illegal for telemar-keters to misrepresent information, including facts about goods or services, earnings potential, profitability, risk or liquidity of an investment or the nature of a prize in a promotion scheme.
Pursuant to the federally established statute, telemarketers must disclose the total cost of products or services, clearly explain any restrictions and indicate whether a sale is final or non-refundable before collecting a payment from consumers in the United States.
In connection with a prize promotion, telemarketers must tell consumers the odds of winning.
The solicitors should also indicate that no purchase or payment is necessary to win and any restrictions or conditions of receiving the prize.
It’s illegal for a telemarketer to withdraw money from a consumer’s checking account without the individual’s express, verifiable authorization, according to the federal guidelines.
In addition, the trade commission indicates that federally implemented guidelines prohibit telemarketers and company operators from misrepresenting the facts to get consumers to pay.
The mandated prohibition applies in all situations, no matter what method of payment a consumer may select.
The FTC emphasizes the fact that consumers do not have to pay for credit repair, recovery room or advance-fee loan/credit services until the services have been delivered.
The repair firm telemar-keters claim that, for a fee, the companies can change or erase accurate negative information from consumers’ credit reports.
However, the fact is that only time can erase accurate negative information from a consumers credit report, stresses the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.
Recovery room operators contact American consumers who have lost money to previous telemarketing scams, explains the federal agency.
For a fee or donation to a charity specified by the telemar-keter, the operators promise to recover lost money or the products or prizes never received by the consumer.
However, the operators frequently fail to deliver through on the promise.
It is difficult for consumers to recoup money if they have been cheated over the telephone, cautions the FTC.
Before opting to purchase products or services marketed by telephone, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has released several recommendations for Carbon County residents to consider.
The federal agency’s suggestions include :
•Refrain from purchasing products or services from an unfamiliar company.
Legitimate businesses readily comply with consumer requests for additional information.
•Never accept or respond without fully understanding an offer promoted via a telemar-keting operator.
Legitimate companies do not pressure consumers to make snap decisions.
•Never send money or give out credit card or bank account numbers to unfamiliar companies over the telephone.

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