More than $2M returned to Do Not Call consumers

TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- When they call you know who they are.

"It's so annoying," said Savanah Hamilton, Tallahassee resident.

"It did get annoying just because it would happen all the time," said Dustin Autrey, also a Tallahassee resident.

Those dreaded telemarketing phone calls can be irritating and even dangerous to your pocketbooks.

The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services runs a Do Not Call List. You add your phone number to it and businesses shouldn't call. And if they do reach you, sometimes companies will offer a service that's not real.

In June, the department started more than 150 investigations and recovered more than $600,000 that went back to consumers. For this entire year, more than $2.3 million has gone back to consumers.

"We want to give people the opportunity to have their home phone off limits to businesses and scammers also," said Erin Gillespie, spokeswoman for the DACS.

Now, a new law signed by the governor adds text messaging to the Do Not Call List.

That's exciting for JuliAnne Delmonego who gets flooded with them herself.

"I have started getting calls and texts messages on my cell phone and I'm dreading the political season coming up," Delmonego said.

So here's some tips to avoid unwanted calls and fraud:

- - Don't give out your credit card information over the phone

- - If someone asks you for a donation, have them send you information in the mail

- - And, call the department's consumer and protection hotline if you have noticed fraud.

If you were a victim of fraud, you have the opportunity to cash in. After you report the incident, the department will work with you to try and get it back from the money from the business/scammer. This can be difficult if they are located out of state or out of the country.

If it's a business licensed with the department, then they will just take it from a bond that the businesses already pay a fee to.

"The more information people can share the better," Gillespie said.

In June, more than 12,000 people signed up for the Do Not Call list and now it's free so you can as well without any extra costs.


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