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RECOGNIZE Phone Fraud Learn about common telemarketing scams and how to avoid them.
REPORT Phone Fraud Your complaint helps law enforcement officials track down scam artists and stop them.
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Reloading Phone Call Scams

If you've been a victim of telemarketing fraud once, chances are you're on a list to be called-and scammed-again. Telephone hucksters call these 'sucker' lists. They include names, addresses, phone numbers, and other information, and they are created, bought, and sold by crooks. They're considered invaluable, because dishonest promoters think that consumers who have been tricked once are likely to be tricked again.

How Reloading Scams Work

Double scammers are known as "reloaders." They use several methods to rip off consumers:

  • They call - claiming to work for a government agency, a private company, or a consumer organization that could recover money you lost or a product or prize that hasn't been delivered yet - for a fee. The catch is that the second caller is following up on the first fraud, and may even work for the company that took your money originally. If you pay the recovery fee, you will have been fooled twice. You can expect more calls - and more convincing stories. Report the company to the FTC.

  • Another scam uses prizes as incentives to get you to continue to buy merchandise. If you make one purchase, chances are you will get a second call claiming you're eligible to win a more valuable prize if you keep buying. The second caller makes you think that buying more merchandise increases your chances of winning. If you act on the offer, you may be called yet again with the same sales pitch.

How to recognize a reloader

  • Their offer requires a "recovery fee." Legitimate organizations, like national, state, and local consumer enforcement agencies and non-profit organizations, do not charge or guarantee results for their services to help you get your money back from a telemarketing fraud.

  • Their offer requires you to wire money or send it by a courier.

  • They contact you several times to urge you to buy more merchandise to increase your chances of winning so called valuable prizes.

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