Tired of telemarketers interrupting your family during dinner? The FTC working hard to change that. Currently, the agency’s Telemarketing Sales Rule dictates what telemarketers are and aren’t allowed to do on the phone. A proposed update to the rule will hopefully improve the ways in which consumers are protected from telemarketing fraud.
Aiming to increase protection from phone scams designed to gain access to victims’ bank accounts and credit card information, the FTC is proposing a set of changes that will further regulate the way callers can interact with consumers on the phone.
It will also restrict the actual methods that callers are able to use when processing transactions.
Each change proposed by the FTC is designed to make sure that fraudulent telemarketers won’t be able to steal from consumers anonymously or easily.
Telemarketing: An Evolving Problem
Technology moves at a rapid pace, which means that the way tech-oriented crimes like telemarketing scams are constantly evolving. The FTC’s recent movement towards regulating telemarketers is a smart and forward-thinking way to go about making sure that laws keep up with the times.
Currently, the Telemarketing Sales Rule dictates the times of day during which telemarketers can call. It also limits what they’re allowed to say. These measures are in place so that consumers can’t be lied to outright or deceived into giving out bank account or credit card information.
The Times Are Changing
The Federal Trade Commission has realized that fraudulent telemarketers are developing new ways to scam people all the time.
In a smart move, the FTC has proposed a number of changes to the Telemarketing Sales Rule to limit the ways in which telemarketers and phone-based salespeople can process and receive payments from consumers. The FTC’s website describes the changes in more detail:
“The proposed changes would make it illegal for telemarketers and sellers to use unsigned checks and ‘remotely created payment orders,’ payment methods that have allowed scammers to dip into consumers’ bank accounts without getting the proper authorization.”
The changes that have been proposed by the FTC also address “cash-to-cash” money transfers and devices known as “cash reload” mechanisms. These are all methods of payment that can enable fraudulent telemarketers to take money quickly and easily from unsuspecting consumers.
Protect Your Money, Protect Your Identity
It’s important to always make sure that your money and personal information are protected, and it’s smart to know what kind of warning signs to look out for, so that you don’t get duped by an especially clever telemarketing fraudster.
For example, it turns out that a surprisingly common telemarketing scam is one in which consumers are convinced to pay an advance fee — for a service that will help them recover money that they lost in a telemarketing scam.
The FTC has already enacted protections against this specific scam, but the proposed changes to the Telemarketing Sales Rule will make it against the law for telemarketers to collect an advance fee for any type of service or transaction, no matter what.
Phone-based scams, whether simply looking to collect your personal information or steal money straight out of your bank account, can be a complete nightmare.
Keep your wits about you when you’re approached by any business or organization over the phone. If something seems suspicious, it’s usually smart to simply hang up.
Do you have any tips for dodging phone-based scams? Let us know in the comments.