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Scam Alert

Do Not Call list used as ploy
Scam artists are riding the Do Not Call wave, making money from frustrated consumers who are tired of having their dinners interrupted. Sign-up for the Do Not Call list is free -- but that's not what the scammers would have you believe. The Federal Trade Commission is warning about ads that say you must pay a $2.95 fee to be on the list. The number to call in these fake ads is 1-800-DO-NOT-CALL. This is not the number for the FTC's Do Not Call registry. The correct number is 1-888-382-1222. You may also register at www.donotcall.gov.

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Watch out for -- ironically -- telemarketing calls claiming to be from the FTC's Do Not Call Registry. The Du Quoin Evening Call in Illinois reports that an elderly woman received a call from a telemarketer who falsely claimed to be a federal representative. The woman gave the caller her checking account information in exchange for a list of the companies that were not allowed to call her. She was told that the $3 charge would be taken from her account every month. She became suspicious and reported the call to her local sheriff.

The FTC offers these tips to avoid falling victim to these scams:

  • Keep information about your bank accounts and credit cards to yourself -- including the numbers -- unless you know who you're dealing with.

  • Never share your Social Security number with a person you don't know.

  • Don't share your personal information if someone calls you claiming to represent a Do Not Call registry, an organization to stop fraud or even the FTC itself. If you get such a call, either hang up immediately or write down the caller's organization and phone number and report it to the FTC at www.ftc.gov or 1-877-FTC-HELP, or to your state attorney general.

Read about more scams.

-- Posted: Oct. 10, 2003



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