We are not illegal scam calls

Rip off when called: crooks on the hunt for data

You are currently setting up comfortably at home and looking forward to the end of the day. Suddenly the phone rings. The friendly voice on the other end says you have a free contract to take part in sweepstakes. This will be chargeable in the future. A termination is possible, but data would have to be compared beforehand. Such calls are used to elicit personal data from you and / or to steal sweepstakes subscriptions.

In order to put an end to this hustle and bustle, contracts for gambling services only come into effect if they are concluded in text form, for example by fax or e-mail. Conclusion of a contract over the phone is no longer sufficient. It should be noted, however, that this rule only applies to calls that involve certain gambling services. These are services in which the provider undertakes to register you in competitions held by other companies. If the caller tries to offer something else (e.g. insurance, entry in a blacklist to protect against telephone advertising or a telephone contract), it is still possible to conclude an effective contract on the phone.

The meshes of the callers are very diverse. Often the callers pretend to be supposed consumer advocates, for example. For example, blocking boxes are offered by telephone, which are supposed to protect against telephone advertising in the future, or the consumer is persuaded to register in so-called "blacklists" for a monthly fee, which should prevent unauthorized telephone advertising in the future.

What the consumer advice center can do about it

Telephone advertising to consumers without their prior express consent is prohibited, as is the false assertion that you have already concluded a contract and are therefore obliged to pay.

The consumer advice center can check the behavior of providers for its compatibility with competition law and, if necessary, assert an injunction claim in court. One problem in practice, however, is to arrest the providers. They often change names, only have PO box addresses or are based abroad.

This circumstance makes it difficult to effectively enforce injunctive relief under competition law. We therefore not only take action against such competition violations with warnings and representative actions, but also with the help of public relations and legislative initiatives.

What you can do

  • Reject the claim!
    If you are sure that you have not agreed to a contract offer, reject the claim and ask the provider to provide evidence of how the contract was supposed to have come about! As a precautionary measure, you should also revoke the conclusion of the contract and contest it for fraudulent misrepresentation and terminate it without notice. The consumer advice center offers you a free sample letter that you can use to defend yourself against unjustified claims and invoices.

    If you have rejected the claim and still receive reminders, don't let yourself be intimidated! In the event that a debt collection agency intervenes, you should also explain to them again that you are rejecting the claim and that you have asked the provider to provide evidence of the conclusion of the contract and, as a precaution, to revoke the conclusion of the contract and to contest and terminate it without notice for fraudulent misrepresentation. As a rule, you do not have to react until the court has sent a payment order. Then you must object to the monetary claim within 2 weeks on the objection form that is enclosed with the payment order.
  • Check your bank statements regularly!
    Without a prior direct debit authorization from the account holder, third parties may not debit any amounts from the third-party account. However, it is still possible to debit the so-called direct debit procedure. However, amounts that have already been debited can be reimbursed by your bank up to 8 weeks after the account has been debited.

    Direct debits for which the consumer has not given permission to debit the account can even be returned by customers up to 13 months after the debit. Despite these relatively long deadlines, the following applies: If you notice an unauthorized account debit, you should reverse it at your bank as soon as possible. The account-keeping office is then obliged to initiate the chargeback.

    You should therefore regularly check your account statements carefully and immediately reverse unauthorized debits at your bank or savings bank and have the account balance corrected!
  • If necessary, change your account number!
    If several providers have already debited from your account without authorization, you must assume that your data is circulating illegally and that further debits will take place. As a last resort, you can often only switch your bank account.

    In the event of unauthorized debits, file a criminal complaint or file a criminal complaint with the police or the public prosecutor's office!
  • Only disclose your data sparingly!

    The scam described is illegal, but only works if the required data is known or is in circulation. It is therefore advisable to disclose personal data as a valuable asset only very sparingly.

    If you are not sure why you should provide certain data, ask. If you don't get a satisfactory, evasive, or even dismissive response, you have reason to be suspicious. Companies are legally obliged to provide information about the purpose for which they want to use your data.

    Restraint is also advisable when disclosing data on the Internet. In the case of account and telephone connection data in particular, we recommend that you only provide this if it is absolutely necessary and the contractual partner appears reliable. In the case of unsolicited phone calls from companies you have never dealt with before, you should avoid disclosing personal data as completely as possible.

    If you want to take part in competitions or lotteries, we strongly advise you to read the "fine print" beforehand. In order to participate in the prize, it is usually sufficient to provide the postal address. Avoid additional information about telephone and fax numbers, e-mail addresses or even bank details. Be particularly critical before you consent to your data being passed on to third parties! Caution is advised if neither the third party nor the purpose of the transfer is specifically named or only a general note is given.


You can find more tips on unwanted advertising calls at: Unintended advertising calls: Help against telephone advertising.