Boiler Room Scams

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Many legitimate companies use the telephone to solicit business, and "telemarketing" has become a widely used and sophisticated tool. However, some offers of goods and services are fraudulent. Consumers should be aware that a telemarketer might be a swindler or con artist. "Boiler room scams" refer to callers who use prepared scripts and high pressure tactics to sell a wide variety of worthless or overvalued goods and services usually over the telephone. Scams may include work at home, pyramid and chain letter schemes, solicitation of mail order sales, and billing of items not ordered. In general, a consumer may cancel if a company cannot ship an ordered item within 30 days.

DOJ - Office of the Attorney General
Public Inquiry Unit
PO Box 944255
Sacramento, CA 94244-2550
(916) 445-9555
(800) 952-5225 (CA Callers)
(916) 322-3360 (Out of State)
(916) 323-5341 Fax
(800) 952-5548 (TDD in CA)
(916) 327-5564 (TDD Out of State)

For scams related to work at home, pyramid, chain letter schemes, solicitation by mail, theft of mail, mail delivery problems; includes billing for items not ordered, contact the US Postal Service.

US Postal Service
Inspection Service Support Group
ATTN: Fraud Section
Suite 1250
222 S Riverside Plaza
Chicago, IL 60606-6100
(800) 275-8777

For scams related to deceptive sales pitches, time exceeded for merchandise ordered; if canceled, must refund consumer's cash, check, or money order within 7 working days or credit card account within one billing period (approximately 30 days), contact the Federal Trade Commision.

Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20580
(877) 382-4357

Department Publications:
Be Smart-Buy Smart: Contests, Sweepstakes and Lotteries
Be Smart-Buy Smart: Mail Order
Be Smart-Buy Smart: Prizes and Gifts
Be Smart-Buy Smart: Telemarketing

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