Telemarketing fraud is fraudulent selling conducted over the phone. It most often targets the poor and elderly. Common types include:
Advance fee fraud, typically claiming that the victim will receive an actually non-existent lottery prize, government grant or loan, 10 years of computer and anti-virus support, compensation for a car accident, etc.
Securities fraud, often via boiler rooms: calling people believed to be gullible and selling worthless securities, and sometimes fraudulently offering, for payment, to recover money lost to a boiler room fraud (in itself an advance fee fraud). The same mechanism is used to sell timeshared holiday accommodation not worth the price asked, then charging a fee to apparently help the customer to sell on the timeshare. In this type of fraud amounts are potentially large, and there is often the appearance of a legitimate company, with Web site and so on.
Cramming (small charges are added to a bill by a third party without the subscriber's consent or disclosure)
Misrepresented office supplies or directory listing services. These typically seek information for use in attempts to bill for unsolicited products and services (such as the model number of office equipment, for which a fraudulent vendor ships an unsolicited order of toner at an inflated price).
Cold calling and charging for services which could be obtained free of charge. For example, in the UK, offering to put people on a "Do not call" register protecting against telemarketing calls, when the only legally enforced register is the free Telephone Preference Service.
Another form of telemarketing fraud: Fraud artists have been recently observed performing confidence games on consumers over the telephone. They claim to be technical support people from Microsoft or McAfee, calling to inform people that their computers are infected by viruses. They often direct viewers to the Windows event viewer log and claim that messages in it confirm the infection. They then direct them to websites that enable the grifters to take control of the computers and install various malware, and charge the consumer for these "services". Victims are often directed to a remote desktop software website, ammyy.com, by the scammer. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has filed lawsuit against a number of businesses and websites performing this scam. Victims should take a variety of steps, including erasing and reinstalling their computer's operating system, or else may face bank-account theft and other crimes. See also Rogue security software.