Criminal charges brought against telemarketers, FTC confirms interest in lead generation, and more in this issue of Lead Generation Digest

4 min

Lead Generation Regulation and Enforcement: Government Perspectives

The presentation materials from the program, Lead Generation Regulation and Enforcement: Government Perspectives, at the 2017 LeadsCon Conference in Las Vegas, NV, are available here. This panel discussion gives an overview of the FTC staff perspectives from lead generation workshop, recent state Attorneys General initiatives and enforcement activity, including development of a code for education lead generation, and practical advice about how to protect your business from regulatory risks.

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Criminal Charges Brought Against Telemarketers

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York brought criminal charges against six individuals allegedly involved in a business opportunity telemarketing scheme targeting elderly people. In a blog post, Venable attorney Alexandra Megaris writes that the facts alleged in the case are strikingly similar to those of several civil cases brought by the FTC in recent years under the Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act. This illustrates that the line between deceptive and fraudulent telemarketing is not well defined, and companies that sell or buy telemarketing leads need to be particularly vigilant about who they do business with.

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FTC Complaint Confirms Interest in Lead Generation

When the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigates a case, it looks at it from the first contact the consumer has with a product or service through the end of the consumer experience. For many consumers, the first contact with a product comes through lead generation, where a "lead generator" tries to find consumers interested in a particular type of good or service and then sell those leads to marketers. The FTC released its staff perspective paper on lead generation in September. Demonstrating that the FTC's interest in lead generation is not just academic, the FTC recently asked the Department of Justice to file a complaint on the FTC's behalf against a collection of entities known as the Consumer Education Group, charging them with violating the Telemarketing Sales Rule. The complaint alleged that the Defendants made illegal outbound telemarketing calls—some using robocalls delivering prerecorded messages—to consumers on the national Do Not Call (DNC) Registry without consumers' express written consent or a preexisting business relationship.

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California Senate Bill Would Require Registration for Lead Generator "Finders"

Lead generators working as "finders" of prospective borrowers in California may have a new registration requirement to contend with under a pending California Senate Bill that would expand and alter the coverage of the California Finance Lenders Law (CFLL). CA SB 297 would impose a registration requirement on "finders" and enact a number of requirements for licensees, including enhanced disclosures and limits on paying non-registered finders. A copy of the bill introduced on February 13, 2017 is available here.

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The Present and Future Role of State Attorneys General in Consumer Financial Services Regulation and Enforcement

State attorneys general have become increasingly involved in consumer financial services investigations and enforcement, a trend that is expected to continue into the next presidential administration. Whether involving a single state attorney general or multiple attorneys general, investigations and litigation can lead to high costs, administrative burdens, distractions, and reputation damage. Often there may be parallel investigations by federal agencies, and risks and exposure from private litigation.

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FTC Releases Staff Perspectives on Lead Generation

The staff of the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) Bureau of Consumer Protection released a much-anticipated paper on lead generation on September 15, 2016. The 13-page report provides staff perspectives on the information covered at the FTC's October 2015 workshop on lead generation, "Follow the Lead."

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Lead Gen Legal Responsibility and Accountability: A Sit Down at the 2016 LeadsCon New York Conference

Lead generation continues to face increased scrutiny and regulation on multiple fronts, including from consumer groups, state regulators, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). This squeeze is being felt by all participants—publishers, aggregators, and buyers—and, notably, the lines of legal responsibility and accountability continue to blur. All told, the viability of some forms of online lead generation is at stake. The government agencies are targeting a broad set of business practices, from the representations made to consumers about the products, services, and merchants they are being connected to and how their data is being used, to the collection and security of personal information, and even whether the products or services ultimately sold to consumers comply with applicable (and some cases potentially inapplicable) laws.

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June 7, 2017: What's Changing in the Regulatory Environment? Hear From Your Federal and State Regulators at COMPLY2017 – The RegTech and Compliance Conference. Join Venable and other leading professionals interested in compliance, education, marketing and RegTech solutions. Save $100 off your registration with the discount code VENABLEVIP.


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