What if I am a victim of Identity Theft?
The first step is to file a complaint with your local police department. This report will be a valuable tool when disputing fraudulent charges. Next, call the fraud unit at each of the three credit bureaus (refer to Contact Information below). They will send your credit report for you to review. Check carefully and dispute all inaccuracies directly with the credit bureau. For more information, call the ID Theft Hotline at 877-382-4357.
Is there a better chance of winning a publisher sweepstakes if I make a purchase from the company?
It is illegal for sweepstakes promotions to require consumers to buy or pay anything. Anyone not making a purchase (i.e. magazines) must be given the same chance of winning as those who do make a purchase.
If I receive an “awards notification” does it mean I am a guaranteed winner?
Phone prize offers are common vehicles for scams. Although it is tempting to believe you have actually won something, be careful. Usually, such “deals” end up costing you money in a hidden way. It is not much of a prize when you must purchase something, make a donation or send a bogus tax or processing fee payment in advance to claim the “prize.”
Are there any types of telephone solicitations that should immediately send up a red flag?
Yes. Consumers should be wary of telemarketers who insist on immediate payment by courier, wire or overnight delivery. Do not send money to anyone who insists on this type of payment. Legitimate businesses respect the fact that you may need time to consider a purchase.
Should I give out personal information over the telephone?
When being solicited by phone, do not give out any personal information over the telephone especially your credit card, bank account or social security numbers.
Is there anything I should consider before responding to a telephone solicitation?
If you are interested, ask the telephone salesperson who offers a product or service to contact you by mail so you can see the offer in writing.
What should I consider when faced with high-pressure sales tactics?
Feel free to hang up on telephone solicitors who tell you they need an immediate commitment or use other such tactics. Most legitimate businesses do not expect you to make an instant decision.
What do I need to know about charities that solicit contributions over the telephone?
If you receive a call asking for a donation, ask the caller to identify themselves and the charitable organization for which the solicitation is being made. Next, ask if a professional fundraising company employs the caller and what the amount of the contribution the charity will receive as opposed to the solicitor.
If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is… Beware of offers for free products, claims you won a contest you did not enter, or get rich quick schemes.
More Online Resources:
- RI Attorney General Consumer Protection Unit – Frequently Asked Questions
- Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection
- Consumer Protection Info from USA.gov
- Equifax – (800) 525-6285 or www.equifax.com
- Experian – (888) EXPERIAN (397-3742) or www.experian.com
- TransUnion – (800) 680-7289 or www.transunion.com