Telemarketing is the act of selling goods and/or services over the telephone. Fraud is the act of making a statement with the intent to deceive via false representation of a fact. The misrepresentation of the fact causes the victim to rely on it to her legal detriment.

What Is Telemarketing Fraud?

Telemarketing fraud is the making of a false statement of a fact over the telephone to induce a victim to make a financial transaction. Telemarketing fraud occurs when someone calls a victim. He makes a false statement to the victim. The misrepresentation causes the victim to make a financial transaction with the caller.

What Kind of False Representations Are Made?

Telemarketing fraud happens in different forms, such as:

  • Prize offers
  • Winning a sweepstakes
  • Receiving free or discounted anti-virus software from a company
  • Credit card offers
  • Magazine sales
  • Loan offers
  • Programs to work from home
  • Vacation offers

How Is Telemarketing Fraud Prosecuted?

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is responsible for proving an individual guilty of telemarketing fraud. After someone files a complaint with the FTC, the agency investigates the complaint. If a violation has occurred, the agency will start adjudication proceedings to prosecute the violator. Also, each state has its own telemarketing fraud laws, and may go after the scam artists as well.

What Defenses Can I Use When Charged with Telemarketing Fraud?

There are a number of defenses available to anyone charged with telemarketing fraud. Keep in mind, though, that the specific defenses that you will want to use when facing telemarketing fraud charges will depend on the circumstances involved. Common defenses include:

  • No intent: To commit telemarketing fraud, a person must intend to make a fraudulent statement. A defendant can show she had no intent to deceive the victim.
  • No fraudulent statement: Another element in telemarketing charge is communicating a fraudulent statement to the victim to induce them into giving up money or property. A defendant can claim no false statement was made or the statement was a mistake.

Do I Need to Talk to a Lawyer about Telemarketing Fraud?

As with any fraud crime, telemarketing fraud carries serious criminal penalties, including heavy fines and potential prison time. Talk to a criminal lawyer about what defenses may be available to you when you are facing telemarketing fraud charges and how to proceed with your case.