Proposed Changes Would Protect Consumers from Deceptive Telemarketing
Consumers may get some added protection from fraudulent telemarketers under some proposed changes to the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule. Right now, the Rule spells out when telemarketers can call and what they must say. The FTC has proposed changing the Rule to end the use of certain payment methods that fraudulent telemarketers prefer and as a result, increase protection for consumers.
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 proposed changes also would bar telemarketers from using “cash-to-cash” money transfers and “cash reload” mechanisms, still other payment methods that fraudsters have used to take money quickly and anonymously.
The TSR already bans telemarketers from asking for fees in advance when they offer to help someone recover money lost to a telemarketing fraud; in the FTC’s experience, those offers usually are part of a deceptive scheme. The Agency wants to expand that ban, so telemarketers can’t ask for an advance fee when they offer to help recover money from any prior transaction.