In Pennsylvania, 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 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.
In most instances, victims will report telemarketing fraud to the federal government, but here is a general overview of Pennsylvania's telemarketing laws. See Federal Telemarketing Rules, Property Crimes, and White Collar Crimes for more information.
Pennsylvania Telemarketer Registration Act: 73 P.S. §§2241-2249
|Enforcement Agencies||Office of Attorney General and local district attorneys|
|Hours||Calls can only come between 8 a.m.-9 p.m.|
|Do Not Call Registry||
Pennsylvania "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?||
|Do telephone solicitors/salespeople need to register with the state?||Yes, solicitors must register with the state.|
|Definition of "telephone solicitor"||
A person or business entity that uses a telephone as part of a plan, program or campaign to sell goods or services, or to solicit contributions for a charity when either of the following apply:
|Are some calls exempt from the Do Not Call registry?||
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:
If you feel you have been victimized by a telemarketing scam, here is some contact information that can help you:
Learn More About Your Legal Options with a Free Evaluation
Fraud in general is taken seriously in Pennsylvania and other states, including fraud committing over the telephone. But sometimes there's a fine line between what is considered fraud and what is fair game. If you have been charged with telemarketing fraud in Pennsylvania, you might consider getting a free case evaluation.
Contact a qualified attorney.