Knowing Your Way Around Telemarketing Fraud
I know what you are thinking. There are telemarketing rules? They are not rules for telemarketing so much as they are rules that telemarketers must abide by. I still know what you are thinking. Telemarketing still exists? Yes, despite ubiquitous ownership of devices that regularly interact with satellites in space, it could not be more clear from the daily news that privacy is still a hot button issue in this country, if not more than ever. Are we going to solve the problem here? Of course not, yet we can look at the rules, specifically as they apply right here in New Jersey. We can also look at telemarketing fraud and the forms it can take.
The state of New Jersey has its own definition of “telemarketer”: “A telemarketer is any person or company making residential telemarketing sales calls to a customer in New Jersey, whether on its own behalf or on the behalf of another.” As for telemarketing fraud, it comes in different forms, such as:
- Credit repair schemes
- Charity scams
- Investment rip offs
Sadly, enough, the target of most telemarketing fraud are senior citizens. Perhaps it is because they still rely on land lines or are not as familiar with mobile phones. Whatever the reason, such scams are on the rise, so much so that there have been warnings from the U.S. District Attorney.
While many victims report telemarketing fraud to the federal government, New Jersey has its own laws, or rules:
- Do Not Call: We have all heard of the Do Not Call list. There is both a New Jersey list and a National list. But how does it work? You can either register at https://www.donotcall.gov/ or call the Federal Trade Commission at 1-888-382-1222. Upon receiving the Do Not Call list, telemarketers have 30 days to remove every name on it from their calling lists or face a penalty of up to $1,000. If the person contacted is 60 or older, the fine can be as much as $3,000. Calls that are exempt from the list include: calls that you request; calls made by businesses to existing customers or to consumers who have done business with the company in the past 12 months; debt collection calls; calls from tax-exempt charitable or fraternal organizations; calls from veteran organizations; and calls made on behalf of political groups or candidates.
- Consumer Affairs Telemarketers must register with Consumer Affairs in order to call any New Jersey resident. They must do so annually and disclose certain information about their operations and principals.
- Prohibited Hours: Telemarketers are not to call New Jersey residents between the hours of 9 p.m. and 8 a.m.
- Caller ID: Telemarketers cannot intentionally block caller identification.
- Identify Yourself: At the beginning of every sales call, telemarketers must disclose their name, the name of the telemarketing company, the name of the person or company the telemarketer is calling on behalf of and the purpose of the call.
If you are already surprised to find that telemarketing still persists as a problem or that so many rules exist, it should not come as a surprise at all that laws related to telemarketing can get rather complicated. After all, telemarketing fraud is still under the jurisdiction of not only the New Jersey Department of Consumer Affairs, but the Federal Trade Commission(FTC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
If you have any questions regarding telemarketing fraud or consumer law, contact the Law Office of H. Benjamin Sharlin LLC for a free consultation.
Please be advised that this blog is for informational purposes only, is not legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.
The Law Office of H. Benjamin Sharlin LLC
is owned and operated by H. Benjamin Sharlin and serves all of Mercer County, New Jersey and the surrounding areas. Mr. Sharlin is a bilingual Spanish-speaking attorney who vigorously represents the interests of all his clients.
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