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.|
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?||
|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?||
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:
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.
Contact a qualified attorney.