Telemarketing Fraud

Dear New Yorker:

It is estimated that consumers lose $40 billion a year through telemarketing fraud. A recent Louis-Harris Survey conducted for the National Consumers League found that 92% of adults in the U.S. reported receiving fraudulent telemarketing offers. The FBI estimates that there are 14,000 illegal telephone sales operations deceiving consumers every day.

According to the National Fraud Information Center, there are a number of themes that are common telemarketing fraud scams. The ten most prevalent scams include: (1) prizes/sweepstakes; (2) advance fee loans; (3) work-at-home schemes: (4) per-per-call services; (5) slamming: (6) magazine sales; (7) credit card offers; (8) lotteries; (9) business opportunities/franchises; (10) travel/vacations.


NEVER give out personal information, especially social security numbers and bank account numbers to someone who makes an unsolicited telephone call trying to sell you something!! It’s always wise to request that they send you information through the mail so that you have an opportunity to research the product or service being marketed -- and also so that you can verify the legitimacy of the company itself!

If you believe that you’ve received a fraudulent telemarketing solicitation or if you believe you are a victim of telemarketing fraud, call our consumer hotline for assistance. The number is (800) 771-7755 or visit NYSAG website at:


Office of the New York Attorney General
The State Capitol 
Albany, New York 12224 
(800) 771-7755 

Understand the offer: be sure you find out who and where the company is and how to reach them. Ask specific questions about the product/service being sold, the total price, the delivery date, the return and cancellation policy and any guarantee/warranty terms.

Check the company’s track record with the Better Business Bureau or with a local consumer protection entity.

Pay with a credit card, if at all possible: federal laws protect consumers against having to pay for charges on their accounts when they haven’t received the ordered merchandise.

Be careful to whom you provide your personal information: it’s advisable never to give out your bank account number, credit card number, social security number or other personal information unless you know the company.

Take your time making decisions: never let pushy sales people convince you to make an immediate decision. Reputable companies will always hold an offer open to you.

Resist pressure to send payments via private courier, wire transmission or overnight delivery: These tactics are sometimes used to prevent you from changing your mind and to avoid law enforcement authorities and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Don’t enter contests or other games of chance or sweepstakes with a company with which you are not familiar.

Telemarketers are restricted to calling between the hours of 8 AM and 9 PM and they must tell you that they’re selling something before they make their pitch. If you do not want any further telephone solicitations from that company, be sure to demand to be placed on their "Do-Not-Call" list. If they continue to call, complain to the Attorney General’s office.

Don’t be shy about hanging up!