Telemarketing fraud is a term referred to any scam scheme in which the persons carrying out the scam use the telephone as their primary tool to defraud victims. The con artist will present you with goods or service you can buy, investment opportunities or donations to charity. These calls can be legitimate, but we are focusing on the fraud scheme, which is making false or misleading statements or promises. The false telemarketing representative is doing so because of the below three reasons:
a) To make it appear that the service or good offered is worth the money
b) To receive money before you are able to inspect the company or the actual item or service offered
c) To create a spirit of thrust between consumer and “seller”
d) To convince you of legitimacy of the company or their operations, often resembling or representing themselves as established and legitimate businesses or even government agencies
Telemarketing fraud operators do not give consumers a fair value for the money received or don’t give a good/service in return by simply running away. They have little care for your loss and are only focused on maximizing their little profits regardless of the outcome and mess left behind. Item purchased is supposed to be a high quality product, but once you hold it in your hands, if you actually get it, you recognize its modest value. Usually the market price is ten times or even lower than the price you paid for it.
If consumers would receive what was being promised to them before the actual payment was transfered they would quickly realize that the item or service offered is of little or no value at all and thus cancel or refuse the transaction. Therefore, regardless of what the telemarketing fraud representative is offering he will insist on advance payment before the item or service is received by the customer. Any ridiculous and misleading statements that the payment must be received immediately because the opportunity offered is of limited quantity or time period can be easily ignored. The only reason why they tell you this is because they want your money as quickly as possible leaving behind few traces. So be careful on the payment options offered.
Thanks to United Stated Department of Justice you can hear some telemarketing fraud audio examples:
Charity Scheme – In this tape, a criminal telemarketer, who is trying to persuade the prospective victim to send money for a supposedly charitable cause, falsely tells the victim that his organization wants to tape-record a brief message from the victim to the children who supposedly will benefit from the victim’s donation. Victims of this scheme routinely received prizes of little or no value after paying hundreds and even thousands of dollars to what they believed was a legitimate charity.
Prize-Promotion Scheme – In this tape, a criminal telemarketer first tries to get the prospective victim to believe that she has won a substantial prize in his company’s sweepstakes, then tries to persuade the victim to send money. Like the charity scheme, this scheme involved an effort to obtain substantial amounts of money from victims and providing them with items of little or no value.
Rip-and-Tear Scheme – In this tape, a criminal telemarketer falsely tells the prospective victim that she has won $50,000, but explains the need for her to send him money immediately. In contrast to the charity and prize-promotion schemes in the preceding tapes, this scheme did not even provide its victims with prizes or gifts, but simply took their money.
TIPS TO AVOID TELEMARKETING FRAUD:
- It is not rude to wait and think about an offer. Be sure to talk over big investments offered by telephone salespeople with a trusted friend, family member, or financial advisor
- Before you give money to a charity or make an investment, find out what percentage of the money is paid in commissions and what percentage actually goes to the charity or investment
- Always ask for and wait until you receive written material about any offer or charity. If you get brochures about costly investments, ask someone whose financial advice you trust to review them. But beware, not everything written down is true and can be as false as the phone call
- Check out unfamiliar companies with your local consumer protection agency, Better Business Bureau, state Attorney General, the National Fraud Information Center, or other watchdog groups. Unfortunately, not all bad businesses can be identified through these organizations
- Don’t buy from an unfamiliar company. Legitimate businesses understand that you want more information about their company and are happy to comply
- Obtain a salesperson’s name, business identity, telephone number, street address, mailing address, and business license number before you transact business. Some con artists give out false names, telephone numbers, addresses, and business license numbers. Verify the accuracy of these items
- Before you send money, ask yourself a simple question. “What guarantee do I really have that this guy will use my money in the manner we agreed upon?”
- Pay for services only after they are delivered
- Some scammers will send a messenger to your home to pick up money, claiming it is part of their service to you. In reality, they are taking your money without leaving any trace of who they are or where they can be reached
- Take your time making a decision. Legitimate companies won’t pressure you into making a quick transaction
- Don’t pay for a “free prize.” If a caller tells you the payment is for taxes, he or she is violating federal law
- Never respond to an offer you don’t understand thoroughly. Hang up or ask questions and demand answers
- Don’t send money or give out personal information such as credit card numbers and expiration dates, bank account numbers, dates of birth, or social security numbers to unfamiliar companies or unknown persons