New Jersey Telemarketing Fraud Law

In New Jersey, telemarketing fraud can come in the form of sweepstakes, credit repair schemes, charity scams or investment rip offs -- just to name a few. Senior citizens are particularly at risk for this type of crime. The number of telemarketing scams aimed at seniors has been on the rise, prompting warnings from the U.S. attorney.

A common scheme used by unscrupulous telemarketers include prize offers. You usually have to do something to get your "free" prize -- attend a sales presentation, buy something, or give out a credit card number. The prizes are generally worthless or overpriced.

Signing up for the New Jersey state and nationwide "Do Not Call Registry" will help cut down significantly on the telemarketing calls you receive at home. Most telemarketers must take your home phone number off of their call lists if you've signed up for the Registry. New Jersey’s “Do Not Call” law is separate from the federal law. It allows the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs to keep tabs on the activities of telemarketers operating in the state.

In many instances, victims will report telemarketing fraud to the federal government, but here is a general overview of New Jersey's telemarketing laws. See Federal Telemarketing Rules, Property Crimes, and White Collar Crimes for more information.

What is a 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 other.

Enforcement Agencies Office of the Attorney General, Division of Consumer Affairs and local district attorneys.
Remedies

Criminal and civil penalties including fines, declaratory judgments, injunctions, individual damages, reasonable attorney's fees and class action lawsuits. Prosecutors can file a range of charges including violations of the The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act (PDF).

Hours Calls can only come between 8 a.m.-9 p.m.
Do Not Call Registry

New Jersey "Do Not Call" List

National "Do Not Call" List

Telemarketers must then remove every name on the Do Not Call list from their calling lists within 30 days of receiving the list. A violation of the law carries a civil penalty of up to $1,000 or $3,000 if the person contacted is age 60 or older.

Who Can Bring an Individual Lawsuit? The Attorney General, a county prosecutor, or individual consumer may bring a lawsuit.
What are the telemarketing rules?
  • Prohibits telemarketers from making sales calls to New Jersey residents who have placed their
    residential and/or mobile phone numbers on the national “Do Not Call” registry;
  • Bars telemarketers who haven’t registered with Consumer Affairs from calling any New Jersey resident;
  • Prohibits telemarketers from calling New Jersey residents between the hours of 9 p.m. and
    8 a.m.;
  • Bars telemarketers from intentionally blocking caller identification;
  • Requires telemarketers or sellers that carry out “any plan, program or campaign” to sell
    merchandise to consumers in New Jersey to register with Consumer Affairs annually and disclose certain information about their business operations and principals;
  • Imposes stiff penalties against violators of up to $10,000 for the first offense and up to $20,000 for each subsequent offense;
  • Covers most telemarketing calls regardless of where the telemarketer is calling from;
  • Requires telemarketers and sellers to maintain in-house “Do Not Call” lists pertaining to “existing customers” who have said they do not want to receive sales calls from the telemarketers;
  • Requires telemarketers at the beginning of every sales call to disclose the name of person making the call as well as the name of the telemarketing company, the name of person or company the telemarketer is calling on behalf of and the purpose of the call.
Do telephone solicitors/salespeople need to register with the state? Yes, solicitors must register (PDF) with the state.
Are some calls exempt from the Do Not Call registry?

 

  • 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, for example: calls from banks with whom you have accounts or your credit card company;
  • Debt collection calls;
  • Calls from tax-exempt charitable or fraternal organizations;
  • Calls from veterans organizations;
  • Calls made on behalf of political groups or candidates.

Federal Protections against Telemarketing Fraud

The FCC, FTC, and US Department of Justice enforce federal telemarketing laws including violations of the National "Do Not Call" Registry and deceptive business practices including:

Enforcement Agencies

If you feel you have been victimized by a telemarketing scam, here is some contact information that can help you:

Because telemarketing laws can sometimes get complicated, it may also be a good idea to consult an experienced consumer protection lawyer in New Jersey if you have questions about your specific situation.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.