Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive


Wednesday, May 16, 2001

CORNYN ISSUES WARNING ON TELEMARKETING OPERATION

Texans Told to be Wary of 'Consumer Alert' Ruse

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn today issued a warning to all Texas consumers who could be financially victimized by a telemarketing scheme being orchestrated by a company using the name "Consumer Alert."

(Another organization named Consumer Alert is a legitimate nonprofit consumer organization based in Washington, D.C., and is in no way affiliated with this telemarketing scam.)

The telemarketer employs aggressive telephone solicitors who contact unsuspecting consumers and warn them that their credit card and social security numbers have been stolen and are showing up on the Internet. The solicitor indicates that if the consumer provides these personal numbers for confirmation, as well as bank account numbers, the company has the means by which to retrieve this information and remove it from circulation, but for a fee of about $300.

Consumers who believe they have been scammed by this company may file a complaint with the Texas Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division by calling 800/621-0508, or by mailing a written complaint to the division at P.O. Box 12548, Austin, Texas, 78711-2548. Consumers may also file a complaint via the Attorney General's Web site at www.oag.state.tx.us.

The Federal Trade Commission and National Association of Attorneys General are monitoring the activities of this telemarketer.

The Attorney General offers these tips to help consumers avoid telemarketing rip-offs:

  • Never give out credit card or social security numbers to anyone who approaches you in an unsolicited message or e-mail; don't be rushed into making a decision on the phone;
  • Be vigilant about protecting your privacy; be wary of high-pressure tactics;
  • Watch out for Web sites or companies whose names closely resemble well-known companies;
  • Information like a social security number or a woman's maiden name can be used to confirm identity. Be wary of solicitors who ask for this information when it is not essential to the transaction.

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