Learn the Signs. Learn the Lines. What's the Pitch? Where's the Hitch? Fighting Fraud shows how to recognize and avoid telemarketing scams. Visit the AARP for more details.
Things You Should Know about Fraud:
Congress estimates that Americans lose $40 Billion a Year through fraudulent sales of goods and services over the telephone.
AARP estimates that as many as 14,000 dishonest telemarketing operations exist at any one time in this nation. Each is capable of making hundreds of calls each day.
Almost 60 percent of telephone fraud victims are over the age of fifty. The FBI each year documents hundreds of crimes in which an elderly victim has lost his/her entire life savings to fraud that begins on the telephone.
The most common forms of telephone fraud involve:
Offering a "free prize" for a handling fee or another purchase;
Offering low-rate loans for processing fees...and never delivering the service;
Soliciting donations for "sound-alike" charities that do not exist;
"Recovery rooms" that go after victims a second time by offering to recover their money from fraudulent phone offers. Often, this "service for a fee" is run by a partner of the company that ripped you off the first time!
Phone investments and stock fraud.
Best means of self-defense:
When in doubt, hang up!
NEVER provide bank or credit card information over the phone in response to a solicitation.
Call the National Fraud Information Center at 1-800-876-7060 if you suspect being approached by a fraudulent firm. The center offers round-the-clock advice for people who believe they have been victimized by telephone or mail fraud.