Linswritings

Telemarketers find new way to get around the “Do Not Call” list

Posted on: May 15, 2012

Has this happened to you, you pick up the phone and immediately get a recording from “Political Opinions of America” asking you to take a survey? They even say that there is a reward if you answer these questions. Well forget about it – it is just a new scam by telemarketers.

According to an article on Fox News, companies are disguising their sales pitch as poll questions just to scam you out of your money as well as time. Here is how it works: An automated voice asks the recipient to complete a quick survey with questions like: “What’s the most important thing to restore our economy?” Other questions include: “How would you rate the job that President Obama is doing?”

After answering, the user is transferred to a live operator from “corporate travel services” who is giving away free cruises thanks to an anonymous donor. The offer allows up to four free guests and requires a $60 per person “port fee” to be secured by a credit card.

That alone should be a warning flag – never give out your credit card number to anyone soliciting to you. Hang up immediately or even better hang up when you hear that they are from “Political Opinions of America.”

But take heart, a Boston law firm is preparing a potential class-action lawsuit against a Florida-based The Berkley Group, which is behind the campaign. The law firm says, “When, one is offered a ‘free’ cruise, which is really designed to expose people to sales pitches for vacation timeshares. If you received such a call, you may have a claim against these companies, whether or not you paid them any money.”

FTC officials said to remember that if the purpose of the call is to sell something, its telemarketing and all rules apply. Simply adding a few questions about unrelated topics such as politics or weather does not constitute a bona fide survey. At least two similar “sham survey” ruses have resulted in enforcement actions against companies for such illegal calls.

To add your number to the national Do Not Registry, call   (888) 382-1222 from the phone you wish to register.

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