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How to Avoid a Telemarketing Scam

Every year, thousands of consumers in the United States lose tens of billions of dollars to telemarketing fraud. Some may lose a couple of dollars, while others may lose as much as their entire savings.

Even with the advent of new technology and increased use of the Internet and e-mail, fraud still runs rampant. For example, in the past week alone, police have cracked down on a pair of fraudsters running a timeshare scam, targeting several communities in Florida and Southern Illinois. Similarly, the US Department of Justice has recently charged three Utah telemarketing firms for fraudulent operations, and calling millions of citizens on the National Do Not Call Registry.

Interestingly, many telemarketers are now targeting the elderly and senior citizens, the thought being that this demographic is more trusting, less informed, and can be easily swindled. Indeed, many fraudsters have successfully preyed on the unassuming elderly.

That's why it's important to inform people of the dangers of these scams, including the elder demographic, as they are the largest target audience right now. It's important to know what types of scams are out there, and also warning signs to look out for, how to avoid them, and how to prevent and report them. Below is an informative visual graphic that details just that.

Fortunately, organizations such as Project COLT--a coalition of US and Canadian law enforcement agencies--are dedicating themselves to cracking down on this type of fraud.  We ask that you help us and them in spreading the word of the dangers of telemarketing by sharing this with friends, family and loved ones. Don't let yourself become the next target: find out who is calling you and put an end to telemarketing scams.

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