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Post date: June 7 1999

State And Federal Authorities Combine Forces To Combat Telemarketing Fraud

Attorney General Spitzer today joined the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and other federal and local authorities in an event to educate consumers about telemarketing fraud.

"Telemarketing fraud is a pervasive and significant problem that demands a concerted and dedicated effort to address," Spitzer said. "Working with other appropriate officials, I will aggressively pursue any ‘tele-sharks' who perpetrate their scams on residents of New York State to fullest extent of the law, both criminally and civilly."

Spitzer also announced that his office is forming a task force with experts in criminal law and consumer protection law to work with Canadian authorities to streamline investigations and enforcement proceedings against telemarketing scam artists who move across the border to avoid prosecution.

Today's Reverse Boiler Room will include telephoning over 6,500 New Yorkers, mainly seniors, to warn them that their names and phone numbers are on fraudulent telemarketing lists, sometimes referred to as "mooch lists," and to educate them on how to avoid becoming a fraud victim. The list of individuals to be called were provided by the FBI as a result of a raid on a Los Angeles area telemarketing boiler room operation.

The event's name is a take-off on phone centers, oftentimes referred to as "boiler room" operations, which are commonly used by fraudulent telemarketers. The purpose of the Reverse Boiler Room is to raise awareness about telemarketing scams and to provide consumer education in ways to protect themselves from becoming victims of fraud.

Joining the Attorney General, was Charles Leven, State President of the AARP, along with: William Ratliff, Special Agent In Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigations; Linda M. Byam, Field Office Inspector In Charge, the U.S. Postal Service; Senator George D. Maziarz, Chair of the State Senate Aging Committee, Assemblywoman Barbara M. Clark, Chair of the Assembly Aging Committee and Clinton County District Attorney Penny Clute.

Individuals interested in receiving more information about protection themselves from telemarketing scams are encouraged to contact the Attorney General's consumer hotline at (800) 771-7755.