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Telemarketing fraud differs from a sales call

Many Louisianans have received the dreaded dinner-hour telephone call. Whether it is from a telemarketer, a survey company or a campaigning politician, this type of call can often be an interruption into one's day and a potential irritation. Most of these calls, though possibly frustrating to the recipient, are perfectly legal. Telemarketing fraud, on the other hand, is a way that callers may try to scam another person, is illegal and is considered a white collar crime.

Telemarketing fraud involves a caller requesting money or financial information from the recipient of the call for fraudulent purposes or without legitimate business reasons. A person selling a product will generally be able to provide extensive information about the company and the product for sale, as well as provide his or her contact information and business license number. In contrast, a business or caller that may be illegitimate may not be able to provide this level of information, or the information provided may be inaccurate.

A fraudulent telemarketer may offer to send a messenger to a person's home to pick up money as part of the service provided. It is important when a person provides money to another, whether in person or over the phone, that he or she is able to verify where his or her money is going and where the recipient can be reached. Telemarketing fraud may also involve asking for payment for services prior to receipt of services. Typically, persons making sales calls will only request payment after services have been completed.

Telemarketing fraud may be a concerning issue for some Louisianans, but it is important to remember that just because the recipient of a call is unfamiliar with a caller's business or sales pitch, it is not necessarily fraud. When answering the phone and speaking to an unfamiliar person, it may be beneficial to obtain as much information as possible to determine the nature of a call.

Those accused of telemarketing fraud or any other type of white collar crimes should understand they have the right to defend him or herself. It is important to become knowledgeable with the details of the allegations as well as the potential penalties he or she could face. This could help the defendant initiate a proper criminal defense strategy

Source: fbi.gov, "Common Fraud Schemes: Telemarketing Fraud," accessed August 7, 2015

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