Missouri Telemarketing Fraud Laws
Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors | Last reviewed June 20, 2016
Most telemarketing fraud is considered a federal crime because it's often committed across state lines. The federal agency responsible for investigating and prosecuting telemarketing fraud is the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). However, states, including Missouri, also have telemarketing fraud laws and will prosecute intra-state telemarketing fraud.
Protecting Yourself from Telemarketing Fraud
Prevention is important to prevent telemarketing fraud. Some of the steps you can take include:
- Registering for the Missouri No Call List online or by calling 1-866-662-255
- Filing a complaint against a telemarketer breaking the law
- Never giving out personal information, such as your Social Security or bank account numbers, names of spouses and other family members, etc.
- Never rushing into purchasing anything over the phone. If you feel pressured, hang up.
Missouri Telemarketing Fraud Laws: Statutes
The following table outlines Missouri's main telemarketing laws.
Missouri Revised Statutes (MRS) - Chapter 407: Merchandising Practices
MRS - Section 385.208: Deceptive Practices
What Is Prohibited?
Telemarketers are legally required to make certain disclosures promptly, including:
Before the consumer pays for anything sold by telemarketing, the telemarketer must disclose the following:
Telemarketers are prohibited from misrepresenting, directly or impliedly, any of the following:
It's illegal for a telemarketer to do any of the following:
Violating any part of the telemarketing laws (MRS Section 407.1070 to 407.1085) can result in a conviction of either the lowest, Class D, felony, or the highest misdemeanor, Class A. Class D felonies can result in a prison term of up to 4 years whereas Class A misdemeanors can lead to up to 1 year in jail. In addition, the violator can be fined up to $5,000 or a fine equal to triple what was gained out of the telemarketing, without an upper limit.
In addition to criminal penalties described above, consumers who suffer a loss or harm from unlawful telemarketing can recover actual and punitive damages, attorney's fees, court costs, and more in a civil case.
Note: State laws are constantly changing -- it's important to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Handling any criminal charge is often a difficult task. If you find yourself facing any fraud charge, you should contact an experienced Missouri criminal defense attorney or public defender for assistance.
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