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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has finalized changes to Telemarketing Sales Rule (“TSR” or “Rule”). These amendments define and prohibit the use of certain payment methods in all telemarketing transactions; expand the scope of the advance fee ban for recovery services; and clarify certain provisions of the Rule. The amendments are necessary to protect consumers from deceptive or abusive practices in telemarketing.

Scammers and fraudulent telemarketers use systems that allow quick and easy payment options to obtain money secretly. Payouts using cash-to-cash transfers such as Western Union, prepaid debit cards or cash reload mechanisms such as Vanilla Reload are popular due to the anonymity of the users. Starting June 13, 2016 the Telemarketing Sales Rule bans the use of these payment methods.

Telemarketers are also banned from contacting you for bank information and from remotely creating a check that does not require a signature. The rule also expands the TSR’s ban on advance fees for recovery services relating to losses.

Other protections include:

• restricting when telemarketers can call;
• verification of the charges must include “an accurate description, clearly and conspicuously stated of the goods and services or charitable contribution for which the payment was sought.”;
• limiting the number of robocalls; and
• prohibiting calls to those registered with the National Do Not Call Registry.

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