How to Spot a Telemarketing Scam

You just finished dinner and the phone rings, you get up from your comfortable chair, turn the volume down on the television and expect to hear a familiar voice on the other end of the phone. But you don't. Instead, the person on the other end of the phone line - who's voice you don't recognize but knows your name - is telling you about the deal of a lifetime; about the trip or prize you just won; about discount health plans; about a business directory. It could be anything. With so many scams, how can you be sure that you are not being scammed?

There are three primary ways con artists contact their victims: by phone, mail and door to door sales.

Most scams do take place over the phone. People have a false sense of security with caller ID available. And although Caller ID does display the phone number of the caller, you shouldn't always believe that phone number being displayed is actually correct. There are spoof cards that a person can use that will display any phone number that they want to show up on the Caller ID. The only way that you will be 100% sure a phone number being displayed on your caller ID is correct is to call it back and verify with an outside source. Reverse phone lookup services can provide you with information such as the owner's name, address, city and state of the phone number. Get the name of the representative and inform them that you will call them back. If the number is fake, or the company doesn't employ a representative by your caller's name, then you know it's a scam.

You should also be careful of direct mail advertisements sent through the United States Postal Service. Although these advertisements may look official, some may not be. Just because a piece of paper is mailed to you, doesn't necessarily mean it is truth. Also, people tend to think that if you call a number, it must be correct. But take a moment to verify the phone number with a phone directory. Again, the reverse phone search service is the fastest way to get this information.

Door to door salesmen usually pry on the elderly who are home during normal business hours and often are lonely looking for company. Again, it is important to collect information from the sales person and verify – using your own resources. If they provide you with a phone number that is unlisted, take a moment a do a reverse phone search to find out who the owner really is!

Remember you can always check with your local Better Business Bureau as they should be able to tell you whether or not the company is legitimate.

Find out who's calling by running a Reverse Phone Lookup: