Rarely, if ever, are telemarketing calls a welcome occurrence. Sometimes, the interactions between telemarketers and phone owners can even become hostile and threatening. But is there anything illegal about this practice? Can you face criminal charges for working as a telemarketer or running a business that uses telemarketing? Our attorneys at Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. are here to explain when, if ever, telemarketing can result in criminal charges.
What is Telemarketing?
Telemarketing is the use of the telephone to solicit sales or donations. It is a form of direct marketing in which a salesperson contacts potential customers or donors to offer a product or service or to request a donation. Telemarketing is a popular marketing strategy because it allows businesses to reach a large number of potential customers with minimal effort. It is also relatively inexpensive, and it can be used to target specific groups of people. However, telemarketing can also be very intrusive, and it is often considered to be a nuisance by the people who are contacted. As a result, there are many restrictions on telemarketing in many jurisdictions.
Florida Laws Regarding Telemarketing
In the state of Florida, telemarketers are required to obtain a license from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. They are also required to maintain a record of all calls made, including the date and time of the call, the name and address of the person called, and the outcome of the call. Florida law prohibits telemarketers from making unsolicited calls to consumers who have placed their phone nnumberson the state's Do Not Call list. Additionally, it is against state law for telemarketers to make unsolicited calls before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. Telemarketers who violate these laws can be subject to civil penalties of up to $10,000 per violation.
Federal Laws Regarding Telemarketing
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) is a federal law that regulates telemarketing activities. The TCPA prohibits telemarketers from using automated dialing systems to call consumers without their prior consent. In addition, the law requires telemarketers to provide certain information about their products or services before they can make a sales pitch. The TCPA also gives consumers the right to opt out of receiving telemarketing calls.
Criminal Charges and Penalties for Illegal Telemarketing Practices
In addition to civil penalties, some individuals involved with telemarketing may face criminal charges.
Most commonly, telemarketing could result in fraud charges. Telemarketing fraud is a type of scam in which a person receives a call from someone claiming to represent a company or organization. The caller then tries to sell the victim a product or service, often at an inflated price, or asks for a donation. In some cases, the caller may also try to obtain personal information such as credit card numbers or Social Security digits.
Common types of telemarketing fraud include:
Advanced fee fraud
Credit card fraud
Telemarketing fraud can result in serious felony charges. If convicted of telemarketing fraud, you face expensive fines, years of incarceration, and more. Additionally, if the fraud involved people over the age of 55, the penalties may be increased.
Depending on other circumstances of the telemarketing fraud and related illegal activities, the defendant could even face federal charges.
Fraud Defense in Miami, Florida
If you have recently been accused of committing a fraud offense, you need a strong defense team to help you fight your case. Work with us at Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. to get the best possible outcome. We have handled countless fraud cases in both state and federal courts, and we have what it takes to create a strong defense for you. With your future at stake, you can’t take any chances on your defense. Learn more about our team and what we can do for you during an initial case consultation, click here to contact us or call (305) 985-6640.