Telemarketing Complaints Are on the Rise

Technology is making it cheaper and easier to target consumers with phone scams. Here's how to fight back.

Among the tens of thousands of complaints logged by state and local consumer protection agencies in 2013, the fastest-growing area of concern is related to telemarketing abuses including violations of do-not-call rights, according to the latest Consumer Complaint Survey Report issued by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and the North American Consumer Protection Investigators (NACPI). The most common consumer gripes were unchanged from the previous year -- complaints related to auto sales and repairs, home improvement and construction, and credit and debt issues -- but it's telemarketers who are increasingly drawing the ire of consumers.

Blame technology. ID spoofing software has made it easier for scammers to make calls anonymously or make it appear as though their calls are coming from a legitimate organization. They also are able to reach millions of potential victims by using auto-dialers, according to CFA and NACPI. Internet phone services allow cheap calls to be made from anywhere in the world.

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Cameron Huddleston
Former Online Editor, Kiplinger.com

Award-winning journalist, speaker, family finance expert, and author of Mom and Dad, We Need to Talk.

Cameron Huddleston wrote the daily "Kip Tips" column for Kiplinger.com. She joined Kiplinger in 2001 after graduating from American University with an MA in economic journalism.