The FTC told companies last fall about impending prohibitions under the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) on certain payment methods that legitimate telemarketing businesses don’t use, but con artists have been known to exploit: remotely-created checks, remotely-created payment orders, cash-to-cash transfers, and cash reload mechanisms. Well, as of June 13, 2016, these prohibitions are in effect.
The changes to the TSR will stop telemarketers from dipping directly into consumers’ bank accounts through checks and payment orders that have been remotely created by the telemarketer or seller. Since they’re remotely created, they’re never actually signed by the account holder – and that makes it easy for telemarketers and sellers to dip directly into consumers’ bank accounts. And it’s then hard to reverse the transactions with consumers’ banks (again, a reason why con artists love using these methods).
In addition, with the updated rule in place, telemarketers now can’t get payments through traditional cash-to-cash money transfers – the type provided by companies like MoneyGram and Western Union. Scammers use these cash transfers as a quick, anonymous, and irrevocable way to get money from consumers. Once the seller picks up the transfer, the money is gone.
The TSR changes also prohibit telemarketers from accepting as payment cash reload PIN numbers. That means no requests for payment by using MoneyPak, Vanilla Reload, or Reloadit packs, used to add funds to existing prepaid cards. Because scammers use the cash reload PIN numbers to apply the funds to their own prepaid debit cards – and disappear with the money. Except not anymore, under the updated TSR.
Legitimate telemarketers and sellers don’t use these practices – but to learn more about these and other changes, check out the updated business guide, Complying with the Telemarketing Sales Rule.