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AG Kilmartin Reminds Consumers How to Stop Unsolicited Calls as Part of National Consumer Protection Week

You have just sat down to dinner and the phone rings. You jump up to answer it, only to find out that the caller on the other end is a telemarketer.

Whether the calls are annoying, offensive, or potentially fraudulent, you can stop telemarketers. As part of National Consumer Protection Week, Attorney General Kilmartin is reminding consumers how they can prevent unwanted calls – on both land lines and cell phones.

Telemarketing is a multi-billion dollar business that affects the youngest consumer to the oldest. One of the best ways to reduce the number of unwanted and unsolicited phone calls is to sign up for the free federal Do Not Call Registry. To register your home or cell phone, call 1-888-382-1222 or go online at www.donotcall.gov.

"Unwanted calls can be intrusive and disruptive," said Attorney General Kilmartin. "Although many businesses use cold calling as a legitimate way to reach potential customers, scammers have used cold calling and high-pressure sales tactics to lure victims into making a bad investment. It is important for consumers to know their rights and how to prevent unwanted solicitation."

Attorney General Kilmartin offers these additional tips with respect to unsolicited calls: • Certain calls, such as telephone surveys, political organizations and businesses which you already have an existing relationship with are exempt under the Do Not Call Registry, and the Registry only protects home or personal wireless phone numbers. • Telemarketers may only call you between the hours of 8:00am and 9:00pm Monday through Sunday. • Don't be pressured to make an immediate decision. Get ALL information in writing before you agree to buy anything. • Don't give your credit card, checking account, or Social Security number to unknown callers. • Don't confirm your account information over the phone to someone who calls you. Some callers have your billing information before they call you. They're trying to get you to say "okay" so they can claim you approved of the charge. • Be sure to sign up for the National Do Not Call registry every five years. Your registration will expire five years from the day you register, so you'll need to place your number back in the Registry after the expiration date to limit cold calls. • If you are on the Do Not Call Registry and you continue to receive calls, you can contact the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) at 888-225-5322 or visit their website at www.fcc.gov/cgb/complanits.html

If you believe you are a victim of consumer fraud, please contact the Consumer Protection Unit at the Department of Rhode Island Attorney General at (401) 274-4400. You can download a consumer complaint by visiting our website at www.riag.ri.gov. You can also email us at contactus@riag.ri.gov.

About the Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection Unit The Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection Unit investigates and mediates consumer complaints concerning unfair and unlawful business practices and misleading advertising arising out of alleged violations of the Deceptive Trade Practices Act. If groups of people are victimized by a deceptive trade practice, this office may file in the Superior Court a civil investigative demand, which is a formal investigation. In appropriate cases, a lawsuit to stop the illegal business practice may be initiated.

Apart from carrying out its statutory responsibilities, the Unit also provides information and referral services to the general public. Consumers are directed to the appropriate governmental or private agencies for help in answering specialized questions or resolving disputes that are not within the Unit's jurisdiction.

The Consumer Protection Unit is available to speak to community groups on how to prevent being a victim of identity theft and other scams. If you believe you are a victim of consumer fraud, please contact the Consumer Protection Unit by calling 401-274-4400 or email at contactus@riag.ri.gov.

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