Working as a telemarketer? Beware!

Fact Sheet

June 2, 2009

You may be engaging in criminal deceptive telemarketing

Each year, students and others searching for employment are hired as telemarketers. Telemarketing is a legitimate and important industry in Canada. However, some companies engage in fraudulent or deceptive telemarketing. Those engaged in deceptive telemarketing, including recently hired students, could be liable to criminal charges under both the Competition Act and the Criminal Code. Those convicted could face significant fines and jail terms of up to 14 years.

Top 10 signs of a deceptive telemarketing operation:

  1. You have problems getting paid or receiving commissions, or you are getting paid in cash.
  2. There seems to be a high number of customers who are upset with their dealings with the company.
  3. The customers are referred to as "Mooches" or "Suckers."
  4. The sales pitches do not state, very early on in the call, the purpose of the call and what is being sold.
  5. The pitches often give the impression that customers have already agreed to make a purchase, or lead customers to believe that it is their regular supplier that is contacting them.
  6. There often is a short second call from the same company whose only purpose is to obtain a recording of a "verification" of the customer's agreement to purchase.
  7. There is no company name at the door.
  8. The company changes its name often.
  9. Opportunities for advancement are given to those employees who are willing to use more deceptive and aggressive sales tactics.
  10. The customer service department, if it exists, does not receive in-bound calls.

Why avoid working for deceptive telemarketing operations?

  • It is criminal and could lead to a criminal record;
  • It could result in jail time and fines; and
  • It victimizes vulnerable people.

Contact one of the following if you suspect any wrongdoing or for more information:

The Competition Bureau toll-free at 1-800-348-5358, or go to

The Canadian Anti-fraud Call Centre (Phonebusters) at
1-888-495-8501, or go to

The Centre of Operations Linked to Telemarketing Fraud (COLT) at 1-800-771-5401, or go to

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