Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Telemarketing Fraud

Laws and Regulations

Fraudulent telemarketers may make offers that involve foreign lotteries, investment opportunities, prizes, and “free” or “low-cost” vacations. According to the Federal Trade Commission, telemarketing fraud robs Americans of more than $40 billion annually.

Know the Signs of a Scam

Be on the lookout for these common warning signs of telemarketing fraud:

  • The phone number does not display on your caller ID.
  • The caller uses high-pressure sales tactics and insists on an immediate decision.
  • The offer sounds too good to be true.
  • The caller requests your credit card number.
  • The caller offers to send someone to your home or office to pick up your payment, or suggests you send it by overnight mail.
  • The caller claims an investment is "risk-free."
  • The caller is unwilling to provide written information or references. Legitimate telemarketers answer questions, provide written material to back up their claims, and give the consumer ample time to decide.
  • The caller suggests that you should buy or invest on the basis of trust.

Protect Yourself from Telemarketing Fraud

All non-exempt telemarketing companies and telemarketing salespeople must be licensed with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS). View a list of exemptions.

Before buying anything over the phone, research whether the telemarketer or telemarketing salesperson is registered with FDACS and if there have been any complaints filed against them. This can be done by visiting our Business/Complaint Lookup or by calling 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) or 1-800-FL-AYUDA (352-9832) en Español.

In addition, follow these tips to avoid becoming a victim of telemarketing fraud:

  • Allow yourself time to decide.
  • Require written information by mail about the product, service, investment or charity. Additionally, ask for written information about the organization.
  • Make certain you fully understand the investment before purchasing. Do the math. For example, if you are offered your choice of six magazines for only 15 cents an issue per day, that's $1,620 for a five-year subscription and may far exceed even the newsstand cover price.
  • If investing or making a major purchase, request information also be sent to your accountant, financial advisor, banker or attorney for evaluation.
  • Ask what recourse you have if you buy and are not satisfied.
  • Beware of testimonials that you have no way of verifying.
  • Don’t give out your bank account, credit card or personal information (date of birth, mother’s maiden name, Social Security number, etc.) over the phone, unless it is to a known and trusted source.
  • If necessary, HANG UP.
  • Avoid unwanted sales calls. Subscribe to the Florida Do Not Call Program online or by calling 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352).

File a Complaint

To file a complaint about a telemarketer, use our online form or call 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352).