Responding to one fraudulent email, letter or phone solicitation may be all it takes to land on a dreaded "sucker list."
"Sucker lists" contain the names and contact information of previously duped consumers. Lists are often sold and traded between scammers and fraudulent telemarketers. Consumers who engagingly listen to sales pitches, respond to offers, or are sympathetic to charitable appeals are sometimes seen as easy targets and bombarded with additional solicitations.
"It is not uncommon for a scammer to revisit the same people in hopes of more money or information," said Robert W.G. Andrew, CEO of Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington. "If they can engage you, they believe they can persuade you."
Removing contact information from fraudulent "sucker lists" is difficult, so evading them is key.
Protect phone numbers. Don't engage telemarketers; instead, screen unknown calls. Phone numbers can be added to the .
Read privacy policies. Names traded and sold to build lists can originate from legitimate transactions or activities. To ensure personal details are safe, look for answers in businesses' privacy policies: How is private information stored? Who has access to the information? Is personal information shared with third parties?
Consumers who continue to receive persistent unwanted emails, calls or letters might consider closing compromised accounts and changing contact information. Find additional details at