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Complaints Lead to Charges Against Six Telemarketers

Complaints Lead to Charges Against Six Telemarketers
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Cellphone showing list of telemarketer calls
Associated Press

Six out-of-state telemarketers face charges and thousands of dollars in fines for calling Mississippians on the No-Call List.

Atlantic Auto Protection, in Florida, Alliance in California and Donor Relations in Nevada, are three of the six out-of-state companies Mississippi's Public Service Commission is charging with 68 alleged violations. Commissioner Brandon Presley says the companies violated the law by calling Mississippians on the state's "No Call" list. He says often violators are fly-by-night operations.

"They're all different types of calls. Some selling credit cards, some selling types of insurance, some selling car warranties, it pretty much runs up and down the list. But again, these are companies violating our law," said Presley.

Presley says the companies face a combined total of $340,000 in fines. He urging people to report no-call list complaints by calling the PSC, logging onto their website or using their app. John O'Hara is with the Better Business Bureau of Mississippi. He says they receive complaints every day about telemarketers trying to sell people something or scam them.

"They're starting to spoof numbers and they're using local numbers so people when they see the caller I.D. they answer the phone and then it's someone calling trying to sell them something or tell them there may be a problem with a warranty they have," said O'Hara.

O'Hara says most legitimate telemarketers don't change the area code to trick people into answering their phones. He suggests letting calls from unfamiliar numbers go to voicemail. O'Hara also says beware of people calling saying they're from the IRS, a power company or a law enforcement agency. Even if the name appears in the caller I.D., he says verify the call by looking up the number and calling back.