Telemarketing has become an extremely popular way to contact numerous potential customers quickly and easily in an effort to sell a variety of products and services. You may be contacted because of past purchases or charitable contributions or because you just have a telephone. At the same time telephone marketing has risen in popularity as a legitmate way of selling, it has also become a common mode of defrauding the public. Some schemes are aimed specifically at businesses while others prey on the individual. When you receive a telphone sales call, find out who is calling, ask the caller to mail more information if you might be interested, interrupt the caller and say you are not interested if that is the case, and ask the caller to take your name off their list if desired. It is always your choice to hang up when called by a stranger.
The Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) advises that you be particularly careful about supplying your credit card number over the phone when you did not place the call and are not familiar with the party on the other end of the line. Be extremely cautious if the caller says a decision on a purchase must be made immediately. Be wary of offers for free merchandise or prizes. If an offer sounds too good to be true, it generally is. If you suspect you have been the victim of telemarketing fraud, do not hesitate to report it to your Better Business Bureau, Federal Trade Commission (FTC), U.S. Postal Inspector, or other appropriate agencies.