The Illinois Sheriffs’ Association is advising Illinois residents a phone campaign is fraudulently using the association’s name.
The association never solicits by phone but does conduct a direct mail campaign endorsed by individual Illinois sheriffs.
Telemarketing fraud costs billions of dollars each year. Phone solicitors who want you to “act immediately” or are offering a “too good to be true” opportunity are most likely fraudulent. Remember that if you have any doubts, or are highly pressured, just hang up.
Consumers have the right to ask for the following information:
- The name, address and phone number of the organization for which they are soliciting.
- The name, address and phone number of the telemarketing firm.
- The percentage of every dollar paid to the telemarketing firm.
- Insist on something in writing prior to making a pledge or commitment.
If you cannot get the answers to these questions, do not hesitate to hang up the phone.
Although there are some legitimate organizations that use telemarketers for their fundraising efforts, the sheriffs of Illinois, through the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association, are adamantly opposed to police groups and associations using telemarketers in their fundraising efforts. Should you receive a call from someone asking for donations and saying they represent your local sheriff or the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association, contact the local sheriff’s office immediately or gather as much information as you can from the caller and report it to the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association at ISA@ilsheriff.org.
Remember these telemarketing tips:
- Offers too good to be true usually are. Ask to receive the “unbelievable deal” or the “amazing prize offer” in writing so you can read it carefully before making a commitment.
- Never give out your personal information over the phone or Internet unless you have initiated the contact. Legitimate business callers will never ask you for this information over the phone.
- If a caller asks you to pay for an offer in advance or asks for your credit card number or Social Security number, tell the person you don’t give out personal information over the telephone.
Remember that legitimate telemarketers won’t be turned off if you use these techniques. They will appreciate dealing with an educated consumer. It’s not rude — it’s shrewd.