Consumer Corner Column

Consumer Corner: Avoid telemarketing tricks

Release Date: Apr 23, 2012

TOPEKA – (April 23, 2012) – Over the past few years, thousands of Kansans have registered their phone numbers with the Do Not Call Registry, cutting back on the number of telemarketing calls they receive. Unfortunately, this has not stopped telemarketers from finding new ways to violate the law and get your money or personal information.

If you haven’t registered yet, you can do that by calling 1-888-382-1222 or going to Once you have been on the registry for 31 days, most businesses are prohibited from calling you to attempt to sell you a product or service. Exceptions include calls soliciting charitable donations, calls concerning political candidates or issues and calls from businesses with which you have a prior relationship.

Scam artists will also often try to target victims over the telephone. Here are some of the latest telephone scams reported to our office:

Tech support

Consumers throughout the state have reported being called by someone claiming to be technical support for Microsoft or other software companies. The caller tells the consumer that his or her software license has expired and must be renewed. They may ask for payment over the phone or direct the consumer to a website where they can enter their payment information. In addition to gaining access to your credit card or bank account number, these sites can also be a source of viruses which allow the scammer to steal even more of your personal information.

Software companies will not contact you over the phone to offer unsolicited technical support. If you do need technical assistance, contact your software provider directly by using a number provided with your software or through the company’s legitimate website.

Text messages

A growing number of companies are using text messages to inform their customers of sales and special offers. This can be a useful marketing tool for companies, and valuable to customers, as long as they have opted to receive these messages. If you receive unsolicited text message offers you have not signed up for, be suspicious. Be especially wary of text messages claiming you have won a prize and asking you to respond to claim it. This is just another way scammers can try to gain access to your money and personal information.

Getting you to contact them

Scammers are also getting around no-call laws by finding ways for you to contact them. This may come in the form of unsolicited postcards or emails offering extended car warranties, magazine subscriptions or get-rich-quick or work-from-home schemes. Abide by the old saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

You may be better off not answering calls from numbers you do not recognize on your caller ID. Legitimate businesses and individuals trying to contact you will leave you a message and include a number where you can call them back. If you do receive unsolicited calls after registering on the Do-Not-Call list, please let us know. You can file a complaint with our Consumer Protection Division by visiting our website For more information, call our Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-432-2310.