Communications

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

  • 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.

Telemarketing

  • 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.

Radio

  • 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.