Ken Paxton
Consumer Protection

Beware Faxers Who Charge to Remove You From Database

Unsolicited faxes are a nuisance. You may know that the law requires the faxers to provide you with a number to call, so you can request to have your fax number removed from their distribution list. Consumers have recently complained to us that some faxers, apparently based in Canada, provide a 1-900 number instead of 1-800 as required by the law. 1-900 numbers are not free. On the contrary, they are often used to trick unsuspecting consumers into running up large phone bills. In this case, you could get a bill of $10 or more for attempting to remove your fax number from the sender's list. Do not call a 1-900 number.

ABOUT CONSUMER ALERTS - The Office of the Attorney General accepts consumer complaints about businesses. When a pattern of complaints warrants intervention, the Attorney General can file a civil lawsuit under consumer protection statutes, sometimes with the result that a company is required to pay restitution to consumers -- see our Major Lawsuits page. However, when a consumer is swindled by a con artist, filing a complaint cannot help. Civil litigation can sometimes put a very unscrupulous business out of action, but often cannot produce restitution.

Individual con artists generally fall under the jurisdiction of a criminal prosecutor -- in Texas, this is the district or county attorney. But even when they are charged and convicted, these individuals usually have spent the money as fast as they have stolen it. A person who is the victim of fraud should report the incident to the police or sheriff. But by far the best thing is for consumers to be aware of fraud, so they are not swindled in the first place. For this reason, the Office of the Attorney General posts these Consumer Alerts about possible scams and schemes that come to our attention through citizen contacts to our office or other sources.