How not to pay a telemarketer
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