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Telemarketing Predators: Finally, We've Got Their Number

NCJ Number
National Institute of Justice Journal Issue: 252 Dated: July 2005 Pages: 14-17
Date Published
July 2005
4 pages
Publication Series
Interviews with 47 telemarketing-fraud offenders focused on telemarketing organization and routine, offender characteristics, their attraction to telemarketing, and their perceptions of their fraudulent activities, followed by recommendations for what can be done to counter telemarketing fraud.
In addition to interviews, researchers also reviewed the offenders' presentence investigation reports to validate interview information and obtain a fuller portrait of the offenders' lives. Fraudulent telemarketing organizations can range from two or three individuals who operate in a community a few days or weeks before moving on, to large operations with a formal hierarchical structure. As with most white-collar offenders, there were no early precursors or clear indicators of their fraudulent behavior. Prior criminality was generally lower than that of other white-collar criminals. Their lifestyles reflected conspicuous consumption, including symbols of high socioeconomic status in addition to drug use and gambling. Overwhelmingly, the offenders stated they got into and continued in telemarketing because of "the money;" only one offender reported earning less than $1,000 weekly. Most did not perceive what they had done to their victims as a "crime," and did not perceive themselves as "criminals." Recommendations for countering telemarketing fraud are educational campaigns that inform the public about telemarketing scams, clearer and more comprehensive regulations and licenses for sales transactions, tougher penalties, and more effective and efficient prosecution and seizure of the assets of fraudulent operations. 2 notes

Date Published: July 1, 2005