Consumer - Telemarketing/Telephone Scams

Most telephone sales pitches are made on behalf of legitimate organizations offering bona fide products and services, however, there are many unscrupulous companies involved in telemarketing fraud. Fraudulent telemarketers use phony prizes, cheap products and high-pressure sales tactics to defraud consumers. It is estimated that telemarketing fraud robs consumers of more than $40 billion each year.

Seniors are three times as likely to become victims of telemarketing fraud. Fraudulent telemarketers try to take advantage of seniors on the theory that they may be more trusting and polite toward strangers. Older women living alone are particularly targeted.

  • Don't be pressured to make an immediate decision.

  • Don't give your credit card, checking account or Social Security number to unknown callers.

  • Don't pay for something merely because you'll get a "free gift."

  • Get all information in writing before you agree to buy.

  • Check out a charity before you give. Ask how much of your donation actually goes to the charity. Ask that written information be sent to you so you can make an informed giving decision.

  • Don't invest your money with an unknown caller who insists you make up your mind immediately.

  • Take control of the calls you receive.  If you want to reduce the number of telemarketing calls you receive, place your telephone number on the National Do Not Call Registry. To register online, visit www.donotcall.gov. To register by phone, call 1-888-382-1222 (TTY: 1-866-290-4236) from the phone number you wish to register.

More Information:

Virginia Telephone Privacy Protection Act
FTC Telemarketing & Phone Services

Where to File a Complaint:

Call to number on National Do Not Call Registry.

If you have registered for the National Do Not Call Registry administered by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), it will take 31 days from the date of registration before telemarketers subject to the Registry must stop calling you. If you receive a telemarketing call 31 days after you register, you may file a complaint. Complaints regarding telemarketing calls made to consumers who registered for the National Do Not Call Registry can be filed with the FTC:

Click here to file Do Not Call Complaint with the FTC.

Complaints filed online with the FTC are routinely reviewed by law enforcement agencies to determine whether a pattern or practice of violations of the National Do Not Call Registry is occurring. The National Do Not Call Registry can be enforced by the FTC, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the Virginia Attorney General’s Office among other governmental entities.

Call from company you asked not to call you and other telemarketing complaints not involving the National Do Not Call Registry.

If you have requested to be placed on a company's own "Do Not Call" list and that company calls you again, you may file a complaint with our office.  You also may file complaints regarding suspected telemarketing fraud with our office.