From my Scambusters e-newsletter:

"The nation's consumer watchdog, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), has introduced a new rule that bans the use of payment methods that scammers like to use.

"Con artists like payments that are tough to trace and hard for people to reverse," says Jessica Rich, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. "The FTC's new telemarketing rules ban payments that scammers like but honest telemarketers don't use."

The change outlaws a process that enables telemarketers to remotely create payment orders after speaking to a victim, and then to directly access their bank accounts.

Often victims don't realize they've effectively consented to the setting up of these payment orders -- and they don't realize they've been tricked until they check their bank account and find it's been raided by the sales company.

But this process will no longer be permitted, blocking a favored scam route.

More importantly, the new rule also bans the use of money wire transfers for payments.

Scammers like to use these electronic payments because they're untraceable.

But now, if a telemarketer asks you to use this prohibited payment method you'll know it's a scam or, at the very least, the caller is operating outside the law and cannot be trusted.

Equally importantly, the FTC has also banned the use of prepaid cash-reloadable debit cards in telemarketing transactions.

In the past, scammers have been able to use cash reloads to add funds to their own cards.

The FTC points out that in 2015 "major cash reload providers replaced cash reload mechanisms with a swipe reload process, a safer alternative." These are not affected by the new rules.

The changes, which came into effect earlier this year, also update some elements of the Do Not Call Registry."