Chances are, you did not win a million dollars in a lottery you don't recall entering. Nor do you have a bevy of "free" prizes waiting for you as a reward for being a valued customer. So, if a telemarketer calls with this kind of news and asks for your account number, other personal information or cash upfront to collect your "prize," hang up. It's a scam.
Find out more about avoiding telemarking scams.
Telemarketing fraud is a crime that affects millions of Americans every year. It usually starts with a phone call.
Good evening, Mr. Jones! We want to thank you for being such a good customer! To reward you for your loyalty, we'd like to send you several valuable free gifts.
That sounds good.
Now, in order to do this, we just want to verify some of the information...
They were just so friendly. I didn't know they were trying to rip me off. then I got my credit card statement. Those free gifts? They weren't free at all. Now I know better!
Sir, all you have to do is confirm the first few numbers on your bank account. It ends in 1234.
I don't think so. My bank account number is my business - not yours.
Telemarketing scammers are good at what they do. They'll say anything and target anyone to commit fraud.
Congratulations, Mrs. Smith! Your name was recently drawn as a winner in the Pan Pacific lottery. You could collect $2 million dollars!
I didn't think I entered a lottery. I filled out a couple of forms at the mall. But I didn't realize that the calls I'd been getting were connected to those forms. I'm not going to fall for that twice.
Mrs. Smith, because this is a foreign lottery, there are a few processing fees that need to be take care of. If you send me $3,000 you can collect your winnings.
Oh, I don't think so. Goodbye.
The Federal Trade Commission and your state Attorney General are working hard to stop telemarketing fraud. You can help.
Recognize, Report, Register
First, learn to recognize the signs of telemarketing fraud, like callers who ask for money first or who want to know your bank account, credit card or social security number. Scammers may even have your billing information before they call you. Often, they're trying to get you to say okay so they can claim you approved a charge.
Second, if you have been scammed - or you think someone is trying to scam you - report it to the Federal Trade Commission. It's as easy as going to ftc.gov and clicking on the link on the right. It's more helpful to the FTC if you can give the name or the phone number of the company that called you and the date they called.
Third, join the millions of Americans who have registered their phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry. It's easy! You can register online at donotcall.gov. Be sure to complete the process by clicking the link in the confirmation email you receive. You can also call toll-free 1-8-8-8-3-8-2-1-2-2-2 from the number you wish to register.
And remember, although telemarketing scammers may seem friendly, they're anything but. They're trying to worm their way into your wallet. You can stop them by keeping your information to yourself no matter how tempting the offer.
Let's say goodbye to fraudulent telemarketers! Visit FTC.gov/phonefraud to learn more about how to recognize and report telemarketing fraud.