Rip and Tear Schemes

This telemarketing scam technique allows criminals to collect money from their victims while minimizing their risk of being arrested.

As Federal, state and local law-enforcementhave improved at detecting and apprehending telemarketers, the crooks have devised sophisticated tactics to improve their chances of getting away with the crime. These tactics have become known as “Rip and Tear” schemes. The scams themselves need little updating because they work all too well. What separates “rip and tear” schemes from other criminal operations are the specific techniques used to reduce the chances of being caught police.

Mobility is Key

The classic model telemarketing scam is the boiler room scheme where telemarketers rent offices and conduct “business” from a single, central location. “Rip and tear”operations have no office, no easy way to track down the crooks. For this new breed of telemarketer, mobility is everything. They run their operations from hotel rooms, pay phones, disposable cell phones, residencesor anywhere else they can make a call from without being easily tracked down.

Many victims are repeat customers

Rip and Tear scams differ from other telemarketing scams two ways. First, they often target those who have already fallen victim to a scam by promising them a way to recoup at least some of what they lost. A second version informs victims they’ve won a valuable prize. One they have to pay a fee to collect.

Cash is King

Common “Rip-and-tear” tactics include requiring that victims send money to PO boxes, use wire services like Western Union to transfer funds, and demanding payments be made in cash. Cash is favored by criminal because it’s incredibly hard to trace and can be spent almost anywhere.

Couriers are Used for Cash Drops & Pickups

Another tactic used by telemarketing scam artists is the use of couriers to pick up payments from PO boxes electronic wire transfer offices. When the couriers are arrested and hauled in for questioning they seldom know anything about the scam. They’re merely pawns in a game of deceit.

Police have reported that some crooks conduct their own surveillance of the pickup and drop off points to find out of they’re being watched so they can evade capture.



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