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How not to pay a telemarketer

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You get a call from a telemarketer selling a fancy new product, and after talking, you decide you want to buy it. That’s when he asks you to wire money for payment, specifying cash pickup. Do you do it?

The answer: No way. Don’t send the money. If you wire money, you can’t get it back. And, thanks to recent changes to the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule — aka the TSR — it’s just plain illegal.

Under the updated Rule, it’s against the law for the caller to ask you to pay with:

  • a cash-to-cash money transfer (like Western Union or MoneyGram)
  • a  “reload” card, used to load money on a prepaid debit card

The expanded TSR also has new rules about what a telemarketer can do with your bank account number behind the scenes. Unless you’ve done business with a company before, giving out your bank account number on the phone can be dicey. Consider pulling out that credit card or debit card instead. 

The bottom line is that these payment methods help scammers stay in the shadows, and they offer you little or no protection from fraud.

In fact, you should be skeptical about any telemarketer that pressures you to pay a certain way. Credit cards offer you the most protection, but even then, you’ll want to make sure you aren’t dealing with a phone scam.

Under the TSR, telemarketers also aren’t allowed to charge an up-front fee to help someone recover money lost to fraud.

These changes add to protections you already have under the TSR, including:

  • the National Do Not Call Registry
  • rules about when telemarketers can call, and what they have to tell you when they do
  • rules about billing, abandoning calls, and caller ID transmission
  • limits on robocalls

If telemarketers don’t follow the rules, hang up — and report them to the FTC. Read The Telemarketing Sales Rule to learn more.


This information is helpful but is not very realistic. I have many times filed a complaint with the fTC over calls I get from telemarketers. I still keep getting them many times from the same companies. Most of them are robocalls from machines and all you can do is hang up. If someone is breaking the law as these telemarketers are they should be arrested and put in jail. Basically I think that the FTC is a joke as the telemarketers ignore the law and still keep calling.

The calls you are receiving are probably coming from outside the US. We all have to help ourselves nowadays by screening phone calls. If you do not recognize the number, don't answer it. If you do make the mistake of answering a call and you don't recognize the number, your number is then sold to other scammers, because you responded positively to the caller by picking up the phone. Another tip that has helped some folks is to speak with your phone company about blocking all international phone calls. Screening and blocking international phone calls will go a long way in getting rid of unwanted phone calls & scammers.

I was scammed by a 'microsoft' security and upgrade to my computer. They took $275.00 from my bank account (debit)and it cleared the bank in 30 minutes. I was on the phone trying to stop the transaction. Couldn't do it. It was withdrawn at a Western Union office in Denver to an out of country account. I believe the FTC has since held them accountable by prosecution! Hooray! One down and another crime committed every minute...some silly old fool who once bought pet rocks! Trust me, the wiser old fool...I signed up with the DO NOT CALL LIST at, and my phone is now silent, except to the occassional 'non-profit ', to which I say I help support '____________', can't afford any more and you have a nice day. END OF STORY

I have a landline and I hardly use it because of all the spam calls I get regularly. Every day I get these more than once. I don't ever answer. I learned my lesson. I just let it go to my voice mail now. They never leave a response. Tired if it all. I know the FTC is doing all they can for this problem but it is getting worse instead of better.

Thank you so much for this information I am glad to have it if I need it I know that I am within my rights. Thanks again for this information have a great holiday for Thanksgiving

I've received Robocalls and remember, they pause, sometimes inappropriately and they understand I AM ON THE F.T.C. DO NOT CALL LIST AND IT UPSETS THE 'CALLER'. I'm usually on the offensive by the time I decide to answer...IF it's a real person, I begin my questionaire: What is your name?, What is the name and address of your company? May I have the company's actual phone number?, and by the time I get started repeating the questions they can't answer because I caught them off guard, they hang up in frustration, esp. when I'm through telling them what I'm going to do with the information. Sometimes I do it just to enjoy getting even.

i lost5000 thousand naira in oceanic bank recently now eco bank.i was with my phone i got alert of debit with out usein been their for any transanction,i reported to their customer care details they gave was-some1 else widraw my from uba atm machine in festac in lagos nigeria till today oceanic bank did not refund my money.ftc let all this credit atm cards have security,i work hard to have & someelse come steal from me not good.

Sam: You're right. And you know who the biggest violator of the DNC rule is? If you have a business, it's Google. I've been trying to stop them from calling for four years.

I agree with this statement. Google is relentless in the pressure game. A class action lawsuit needs to be brought against them.

Another good tip: never answer a tele-marketer with "yes" or "no." Say "I can neither confirm or deny," it drives 'em nuts!

I have a lot of fun answering these telemarketers questions using words from the Klingon language that I wrote down from Star Trek shows. Drives them nuts!

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