Phones and the radio are common to consumers’ everyday lives. Click below for information you can use to prevent scams that are conducted over the phone and through the radio.

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  • Phone scams are very common.
  • Phone scams happen quickly. Scammers who operate by phone do not want to give you time to think about their pitch and will try to get you to give up information or money as quickly as possible.
  • Most scams claim to offer consumers a great deal: travel packages, free trial offers, lottery winnings, or great investment opportunities.
  • If you suspect a call may be a scam, ask if it is a sales call, the name of the seller, and what they are selling so that you can do independent research.
    • If you ask, telemarketers are legally required to tell you this information before they make their pitch.
  • If you suspect you have been scammed, report it to the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP or here.


  • Cramming is the practice of placing unapproved or deceptive charges on a telephone bill.
    • These unauthorized charges on mobile phone accounts are often done by third parties.
  • Crammers rely on automatic payments and confusing, lengthy bills in an attempt to trick consumers into paying for services they never received or allowed.
    • Sometimes consumers do authorize payments to third parties, such as a “text donation.” However, the prices reflected in the bill are much greater than what the consumer originally agreed to.
    • These charges often appear buried in phone bills and have generic descriptors such as “usage charges.”
    • Consumers with prepaid mobile phone accounts do not receive a bill at all; unauthorized charges are simply deducted from their available balance of minutes.
  • Cramming can also occur when a telephone company does not clearly or accurately describe all of the relevant charges when marketing a service such as long distance calling.
  • Consumers should carefully read their bills and statements, talk to their telephone company for any disputed fees, and file a complaint with their appropriate attorney general.
  • Ways to avoid cramming:
    • Don’t enter your phone number on unsecured websites.
    • Don’t respond to unsolicited text messages, and if you receive unsolicited text messages check your phone bill.
    • Ask your phone carrier about services to block third-party charges.


  • The FTC has developed a specific rule telemarketers must follow: the Telemarketer Sales Rule.
    • Telemarketers can’t call you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
    • Telemarketers must promptly tell you if the nature of the call is a sales call. The seller must also provide their identity.
    • Telemarketers are prohibited from lying about any terms of their offer.
  • It is always illegal for telemarketers to:
    • Ask you to pay with a cash-to-cash money transfer, including MoneyGram and Western Union.
    • Ask you to pay by giving the PIN from a cash reload card like MoneyPak or Vanilla Reload.
    • Ask for your bank account information to create “remotely created payment orders,” a type of check that you never see or sign.


  • When it comes to your favorite radio station, federal law requires that radio advertisements are truthful, not misleading, and, when appropriate, backed by scientific evidence.
  • Claims about food, over-the-counter drugs, dietary supplements, alcohol, and tobacco are almost always subject to Truth in Advertising regulations, the FTC regulations that ensures these consumer protections.