For many years we have advised consumers that it’s a bad idea to wire money to someone you spoke to over the phone. This is a common financial tool scammers use, because once you hit send at the wire terminal, the money is gone and nearly impossible to trace.

Effective earlier this year, it’s not just a bad idea to wire someone money – it’s against the law for them to even ask.

A new telemarketing sales rule was adopted by the Federal Trade Commission and went into effect in June that makes it against the law for any telemarketer to ask you to send money by “cash-to-cash transfers,” commonly known as “wiring money.” It also prohibits them from asking for payment in the form of reloadable cash cards, like MoneyPak or Vanilla Reload.

Another way scammers may try to get access to your funds is by asking for your bank routing and account numbers. The new rule also prohibits telemarketers from asking for this information.

If you get a call from a telemarketer who asks you to wire money, give them a gift card number or your bank account number, hang up immediately. The scammer has already violated the law by even asking for this information.

Your best bet when you need a product or service is to seek out a well-known, trusted local or national supplier, where you know you can find them again if something goes wrong. If you do choose to do business over the phone with a telemarketer, your best payment option is a credit card. These charges can be traced and disputed through your credit card issuer.

You can report scam calls to our office using our online complaint form at or by calling (800) 432-2310.

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