With all the stories about people getting ripped off by telemarketers, you’d think that telemarketing fraud would be a distant memory by now. Instead, using the telephone to steal from innocent victims has flourished along with the growth of modern consumer communication networks. Telemarketing scams are subject to criminal prosecution and can result in heavy fines and time in federal prison.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has committed significant resources to the investigation of telephone marketing schemes. Accusations of fraud against outbound sales operations have dramatically increased in recent years. Some of the more common types of telephone sales fraud are described below:
- Club Memberships – fraudulent memberships including advance payments and continuing debits for benefits never received
- Fundraising Scams – gifting clubs including participation in membership drives and donations to fraudulent charities
- Loan and Credit Offers – easy credit schemes without any cost or credit check
- Grant Scams – free government grants without any repayment requirement
- Identity Theft – using personal information like social security number and bank account information to illegally apply for credit cards
- Medical Discount Card Scams – low-cost medical plans without co-pay, deductible or preexisting condition restrictions
- Reloading Scams – scammers using sucker lists consisting of people that have been scammed before
- Business Scams – work at home and business opportunity schemes
Telemarketing Fraud Penalties
Telemarketing crimes, including robocalling, sweepstakes offers, and creative reloading schemes represent big business in Houston, Texas. Criminal charges for defrauding someone by using the telephone can result in substantial penalties. The FTC and local Texas authorities have teamed up to reduce telemarketing crime. A telemarketing arrest can lead to a prison sentence and hefty financial penalties.