FTC Bans Wire Transfers, Reloadable Cash Cards, And Payment Orders In Phone Transactions

We’ve shared warnings about many different types of telemarketing scams, but they all have one thing in common: they extract money from their victims using quick and untraceable methods like wire transfers or prepaid debit cards. Today, the Federal Trade Commission announced an amendment to current telemarketing rules that’s meant to protect consumers from fraud over the phone lines.

If someone is already calling up a vulnerable mark and telling them that their computer is full of viruses that the caller can detect and remove without access to the machine, they owe money to help out a grandchild in peril, to make a warrant for their arrest go away, or that they can pay their overdue taxes by prepaid debit card, this is just another pesky telemarketing rule that they will ignore.

However, the change signals to consumers that no legitimate business will ever ask for a wire transfer or prepaid card as a method of payment. “Con artists like payments that are tough to trace and hard for people to reverse,” Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement. These include wire transfers and prepaid cards, but also payment orders using the victim’s banking information. If fraud occurs using one of these, it can be difficult to trace back and determine whether the victim really authorized the payment or not.

How not to pay a telemarketer [FTC]

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