Sometimes a telemarketing call is nothing but a phone scam
Most telemarketing calls, although highly annoying, are made by legitimate telemarketing companies. Unfortunately, there are many large telemarketing scam rings out there that like to prey on unsuspecting consumers.
In many cases, these telemarketing scams are directed the elderly, who are seen as easy marks. Beware, however, as scammers aren't choosy. They are happy to prey on anybody with money available for their scam. Don't let it be you!
How to recognize and avoid telemarketing scams:
- High-pressure sales tactics are commonly used by scammers. Even scammers will start out nice to try to "make a sale." What separates scammers from legitimate telemarketers is that scammers will resort to abusive tactics.
- Legitimate telemarketers will ask for a sale, but when you say "no," they will back off. After all, they want to call you again sometime with another product. Thieves will, after you tell them no thanks, result to hard selling, insults, and even vague threats if they aren't successful at their scam.
- Scammers will require you to "act now" or lose the opportunity forever. Yeah right. If somebody really wants your business they will be happy to extend the same offer in the future. Rare is the business that has all the customers they want.
- People who ask for your credit card number when you have not agreed to a sale yet are most likely big-time scammers. There are other ways to verify people's identity. Your credit card and social security numbers should be protected like the gold at Fort Knox. Know exactly whom you are dealing with before ever divulging this vital information.
- If an offer sounds to good to be true, it probably is. This outstanding advice will never become obsolete. Crooks will make any kind of promise they can to swindle you. Don't fall for it. Greed is not good. Being greedy makes you more susceptible to fraud.
- Do not, under any circumstances, ever allow somebody to come to your home to pick up money for a telephone purchase. Not only is this a sure sign of a scam, but it could possible put you in danger.
- Avoid any telemarketer that want to give you something for free but only after you pay an up front fee. Free is free. Anything else is fraud.
- Any business, telemarketing or otherwise, that cannot provide basic reference information about their
business are likely to be crooks. This basic information includes, but is not limited to; address, phone number, place where they are
licensed, or confirmation that they are registered with a direct marketing regulatory agency, are likely illegitimate.
The scammers will offer many excuses for why this information is not available. If the information is not available, then neither should be your business.
- Beware of any promises of risk-free investments. In my years of learning about investments, I have never
found any that are risk-free. Okay, maybe government bonds are risk-free, but I have never heard of any government agency having
telemarketers on their staff to sell such bonds.
It is our belief at Fraud Guides, and we think that most everybody will agree, that any investment that would really be 100% risk-free would not require telemarketers to sell it. There would be more investors than opportunities for such a venture.
Protect yourself against telemarketing scams by taking a few simple precautions:
- The first thing you may want to do is register with the National Do Not Call Registry (https://www.donotcall.gov/default.aspx). This works like a charm for reducing the number of solicitation calls. It is also worth noting that legitimate telemarketers are registered with a government regulatory agency and must comply with the registry. There are a few who do not. You can find more information at the National Do Not Call Registry website.
- Don't allow yourself to be pushed into a hurried decision. Keep in mind that if you want something badly enough, you are likely to seek it out on your own without the prompting of a phone call.
- Don't be afraid to request that additional information be mailed (never dropped off) to you so that you can do more research. Any resistance at doing this is a red flag. Really good scammers may even have professional looking information to send, so make sure that you use due diligence when looking over any materials that you might receive.
- Always seek advice from people you trust before entering into any investments or contracts. The person trying to sell you a product or investment should have no problem with this if they have confidence in the product they are selling.
- Get any promises or great deals in writing. People can say whatever they want on the phone, but written agreements are binding. This doesn't automatically indemnify you against fraud, but it certainly doesn't hurt either.
- Resist giving financial information over the phone. As hard as it is to believe, credit cards aren't the only way to pay for purchases. Personal checks still have a place in the world. Do not give out personal financial information unless you are convinced (and be a very hard sell) that it is absolutely necessary.
- Finally, if somebody is menacing you over the phone, hang up. You may also tell the telemarketer not to make any more calls to your number. If they persist, document the times of the calls and contact your state's Attorney General. Attorneys General offices typically handle complaints regarding consumer fraud.
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