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TELEMARKETING FRAUD RANKS LAST ON LIST OF CONSUMER COMPLAINTS

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Telemarketing fraud has tumbled from third to last place on a national list of consumers' top 10 complaints to authorities.

The National Association of Attorneys General, which released the annual list Monday, attributed the decline to state and federal efforts aimed at curbing the activity of fraudulent telemarketers.Complaints about automobile service leads the "Top 10 Consumer Complaints" list, while home repair and construction finished at No. 2 for the second year in a row.

"I think these numbers send a clear message to fraudulent telemarketers worldwide. `We will come after you; we will find you; and we will prosecute you to the full extent of the law,' " said New Mexico Attorney General Tom Udall, president of the association, which is meeting in St. Louis.

New Federal Trade Commission rules, which empowers each of the 50 state attorneys to go to federal court and seek an order that applies nationwide against violators, has helped shut down scam artists, Udall said.

The consumer complaints list is complied from an unofficial survey of states and territories.