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Archive for Friday, June 21, 2002

State launches fraud investigation into offer to register people for one-time $399 fee

June 21, 2002

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Kansas' new "no-call" list has yet to get started, but already someone is trying to use it to trick people out of their money.

The Kansas Attorney General's Office on Thursday issued a consumer warning about telemarketing calls offering a service to verify placement on the no-call list.

A woman called Atty. Gen. Carla Stovall's office Wednesday about a company that had offered her a chance to register on the no-call list for a fee of $399.

The telemarketer then asked the woman for information about her checking account, said Mark Ohlemeier, spokesman for the attorney general.

Don't fall for it, Ohlemeier said. The calls are not related to the No Call Act passed by the Kansas Legislature in its last session. The act allows Kansans to register their name and telephone number with the Attorney General's Office to prevent most telemarketers from calling them at home.

Ohlemeier declined to say where the woman lived who reported the incident.

"We are investigating the company for fraud," Ohlemeier said, though he didn't release the name of the firm. "We think the calls are being made nationally."

Similar calls have been reported in New York, Colorado and Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office earlier this month warned of a Canada-based telemarketing scam claiming to stop all telemarketing to an individual's home for $3.99 a month or a one-time fee of $299. Bank account numbers were sought so the fee could be deducted directly.

Pennsylvania also recently approved a law allowing a no-call list.

"If anyone receives any calls like this, we hope they will report it to us," Ohlemeier said.

Such incidents should be reported to the attorney general's Consumer Protection Division toll-free number, (800) 432-2310.

Stovall is not offering any method of registering for Kansas' no-call list until a contract is finalized with a vendor to maintain the list.

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