FTC seeks public comment on rules to prevent telemarketing fraud

150px-US-FederalTradeCommission-Seal.svgThe FTC is seeking public comment on proposed amendments to reduce fraud by prohibiting telemarketers from charging consumer accounts using unsigned checks and prevent them from being paid with “cash-to-cash” and “cash reload” payment methods.

The regulator found that scammers and con artists often use cash-to-cash money transfers and cash reload mechanisms to get quick cash, because the payment methods are largely unmonitored.

Other changes would expand the Telemarketing Sales Rule’s ban on telemarketing “recovery services” in exchange for an up-front fee, a technique the commission has deemed a deceptive practice. The provision currently only applies to losses suffered in a prior telemarketing transaction but would be expanded to include offers to recoup losses suffered in any previous transaction.

Additionally, the FTC proposed amendments intended to clarify and improve a number of TSR provisions. The TSR was adopted by the FTC in 1995, and the rule requires certain disclosure and prohibits telemarketers from misrepresenting their services. It also bans abusive practices, including charging up-front fees or credit offers presented as “guaranteed.”

The public comment period will be open until July 29.

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