FTC bans payment methods to weed out scammers

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – Scammers might call and ask for money, but new limits on telemarketers provide a big clue on how you can distinguish fraud from the real thing.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, fraudulent telemarketers want people to pay with systems that deliver a fast, anonymous cash payout like cash-to-cash transfers or cash reload card PINs. But as of late last year, the FTC amended the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) starting June 13, banning telemarketers from asking for these types of payments.

These payment methods include:

  • Cash-to-cash money transfers -- like those from MoneyGram and Western Union
  • PINs from cash reload cards like MoneyPak, Vanilla Reload or Reloadit packs.

Therefore, if telemarketers ask you to pay using one of these methods, they are breaking the law.

Another amendment includes banning telemarketers from asking for bank account information to be used for making a "remotely created check" that you never see or sign. If an unfamiliar telemarketer asks you for your bank information, or pressures you to pay a certain way, it's important to hang up and report them to the FTC.

Under the TSR, asking for up-front fees is also prohibited, especially in regards to helping you recover lost money to fraud. Other protections under the TSR include limits on robocalls, "hang-up" calls, and when telemarketers can call and what they must tell you.

The FBI also asks consumers to watch out for signs of telemarketing fraud like receiving a "free gift" or "high profit, no-risk" offers. They want to remind consumers how difficult it is to get money back after being cheated over the phone, and recommend never sending money or giving out personal information such as credit card numbers and expiration dates, bank account numbers, dates of birth, or Social Security numbers to unfamiliar companies or unknown persons.

Article written by: Sara Girard, Call Christina Team Member.

Follow Girard on Twitter @SaraYGirard.