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Americans buy billions of dollars of goods and services over the phone every year and a lot of it is wasted when we’re conned into sending money to fraudulent operators.

How can you protect yourself? Make sure your name is on the national “Do Not Call” registry by going to or by calling 1-888-382-1222 from the phone number you want to register.

Understand that calls are not covered if they come from political organizations, charities, telephone surveyors or companies with whom you have an existing relationship.

If your number is on the registry for at least three months and a telemarketer calls, file a complaint at You’ll need to provide the date of the call and the phone number or name of the company that called you.


  • Telemarketers cannot call you before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m.
  • They must tell you it's a sales call, the name of the seller and what they're selling before they make their pitch.
  • Before you pay, telemarketers must tell you the total cost of the goods, any restrictions on getting or using them and if a sale is final or non-refundable.
  • Demand written materials before doing business with any unfamiliar company.
  • Don’t fall for high-pressure sales tactics. If the caller won’t give you time to think it over, hang up.
  • Be wary of anyone offering to come right over to pick up your money.
  • Don’t give your bank account or credit card information to any unfamiliar company.
  • Take notes & make the salesperson slow down so you can accurately write down their names, company, address and phone number. Make them repeat it as many times as necessary.


The Federal Trade Commission
Direct Marketing Association
Federal Citizen Information Center



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