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Consumer Action and SBC introduce free guide to avoiding telemarketing fraud

Contact: Linda Sherry, Consumer Action, (415) 777-9648
John Britton, SBC, (415) 537-3360

April 23, 2003 - San Francisco - Telemarketing fraud, the use of the phone to swindle and cheat people, is a very big "business." A congressional subcommittee estimated that crooked phone sales operations rob people in the U.S. of as much as $40 billion a year.

To inform people about ways to avoid being victimized by fraudulent telemarketers, Consumer Action has partnered with SBC to create and distribute a free multilingual guide titled "Don’t Fall for the Wrong Call."

"Many people object to unsolicited sales calls that interrupt dinner and the peace and quiet of their home," said Linda Sherry, Editorial Director of Consumer Action. "Sales calls may be a part of modern life, but we want consumers to know how they can avoid fraud and limit unwanted calls."

"There are thousands of companies that use the telephone every day to make excellent, legitimate money-saving offers to customers," said Adrian Tyler, General Manager, State Regulatory at SBC. "Unfortunately a few make a brochure such as this a necessity. SBC is pleased to support this important educational piece from Consumer Action."

The 8-page booklet is available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian and Vietnamese. It is being distributed for free in bulk nationwide through Consumer Action’s national network of 6,500 community-based organizations. The guide is also free to consumers who send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Consumer Action.

Topics covered in the new guide include:

  • Ways to stop unwanted telemarketing calls.
  • Marketing tricks that trap unwary consumers.
  • Giving wisely to legitimate charities.
  • "Do not call" registries.
  • How the federal Telemarketing Sales Rule protects consumers.
  • Services and products designed to stop telemarketers.
  • The right to sue telemarketers in small claims court.
  • How to complain to the proper agencies.

Consumer Action, founded in 1971, is a national non-profit education and advocacy organization.

SBC Communications Inc. is one of the world’s leading data, voice and Internet services providers. Through its world-class networks, SBC companies provide a full range of voice, data, networking and e-business services, as well as directory advertising and publishing. A Fortune 30 company, America’s leading provider of high-speed DSL Internet Access services, and one of the nation’s leading Internet Service Providers, SBC companies currently serve 58 million access lines nationwide. In addition, SBC companies own 60 percent of America’s second-largest wireless company, Cingular Wireless, which serves more than 22 million wireless customers. Internationally, SBC companies have telecommunications investments in 25 countries.

Note to editors: Don't Fall for the Wrong Call is free to consumers who send a legal-sized envelope with 60¢ postage to Consumer Action-Wrong Call, 717 Market Street, Suite 310, San Francisco, CA 94103. If you would like to publish a phone number, please use (415) 255-3879. Consumers who want the fact sheet in a language other than English should indicate that in their request. Versions are available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian and Vietnamese.


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