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Protect Yourself from Telephone Fraud

Proceed with caution if a caller:

  • Uses high-pressure sales tactics
  • Insists on an immediate decision
  • Offers something too good to be true
  • Requests your credit card number for "verification"
  • Gives an urgent demand for payment
  • States that something is "free", with a requirement that you pay for something such as handling, mailing or references you can contact
  • Suggests you should make a purchase or investment on the basis of "trust"
What to Look for and be Aware of:
  • Carefully examine sweepstakes entries or other unsolicited materials you plan to return to ensure you are not agreeing to make a purchase that could show up on your phone bill, switch your long distance carrier or local services carrier. 
  • Never pay anything in order to enter a sweepstakes or claim a prize. Legitimate sweepstakes or prize offers don't ask for payment because it's illegal. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. 
  • Never agree to dial a few numbers to help a caller test your phone lines. Telephone companies can test your lines remotely without bothering you. 
  • Never give Personal Identification Numbers (PIN), Social Security or credit card numbers to someone who has called. Local telephone companies never call customers to verify this information. 
  • Be cautious about returning pages or answering machine messages to area codes you don't recognize. Consult the phone book or call the operator to verify the area code is domestic. 
  • The phone is just like a door to your home. You don't have to open it or invite someone in, and you can ask guests to leave at any time. Remember, sometimes it's not rude to simply hang up the phone. 
If you feel you have been victimized by telemarketing fraud, call the Better Business Bureau or the National Fraud Information Center (NFIC) at (800) 876-7060.