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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Business

BBB Tip of the Week: FTC Warns of Illegal Payment Methods

Veronica Craker

The Federal Trade Commission released an alert about an important Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) amendment that took effect in June.

According to the FTC, these changes make it illegal for telemarketers to use three types of payment methods exploited by con artists and scammers:

  • It is now against the law for telemarketers to ask customers to pay for goods or services using cash-to-cash money transfers like MoneyGram and Western Union.
  • It is unlawful to require them to provide PIN numbers from cash reload cards such as MoneyPak, Vanilla Reload or Reloadit packs.
  • Also, telemarketers cannot use unsigned checks called “remotely created payment orders” to withdraw money directly from consumers’ bank accounts.

The FTC made these changes to the TSR in November 2015, but this is a good reminder that a legitimate company or government agency will not ask a consumer to pay with money orders or gift cards. Better Business Bureau serving the Northwest often hears from victims who were misled into paying for a good or service using these methods, only to realize they were scammed.

In May a Cheney resident reported the loss of $7,000 to an IRS scam when they were told to pay with iTunes gift cards. They reported the incident to local law enforcement officers and with the Internal Revenue Service. Unfortunately, they’ve yet to be refunded.

To learn more about this law visit If you’ve been asked to make a payment using any of the above methods and believe it to be a scam, you can report the transaction to the FTC at (877) FTC-HELP or at BBB at

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