One of our readers works sales in an insurance telemarketing operation. He’s stepped forward to give us the skinny on how he gets commission, the real reasons that drive some of their tactics, and what personal information you should never give over the phone to a telemarketer.
Here’s a weird possible scam going around. Our reader Chris writes, “Every day for the past week, I’ve been getting an automated call that asks me, ‘This is Survey 2010. Do you have a small dog?'”
Tim says a Chase marketer called him up and offered him $150 upfront in exchange for a commitment to knock $1,800 off his credit card balance within the next seven months. Intrigued, Tim asked the company to send documentation for the offer, but the guy on the phone refused. He says the number on his caller ID checks out as a Chase number and doesn’t know what to make of the strange promotion.
Jon says someone called him earlier this month and claimed to be from a company called Target Point Consulting, and asked Jon to answer a survey. When Jon said no and asked how the caller got his number, which is on the Do Not Call list, things got interesting.
Doug, who sent in this photo of what showed up on his caller ID when a roboscammer rang him up, possibly has the most effective phone screening system ever. Or maybe it’s just that the scamming company on the other line is at least honest about how it defrauds people.
Inc21 supposedly sells web hosting and other Internet-related services, but the FTC says that in reality it contracted with offshore telemarketers who helped it cram charges onto unsuspecting customers’ phone bills, earning $19 million over the past five years. Customers who complained about the charges said they were either never contacted in the first place, were promised a free trial, were told that the telemarketer was just verifying business information, or explicitly refused Inc21’s offer and were charged anyway.
We know how you feel; telemarketers suck. But no matter how much they’re in the wrong, please don’t threaten to burn down their place of business and then kill them and their families—even if they call you a jackass—because they may report you to the police. Then, if your police are anything like the ones in St. Louis, Missouri, you’ll likely be arrested and charged for making terrorist threats, like poor Charles Papenfus.
“Oh hell no!” Federal District Judge John F. Grady told a marauding group of car warranty robocallers who managed to annoy pretty much everyone over the past few months. The judge slapped two Florida companies with an immediate restraining order and froze their assets, which should be enough to finally end those maddening robocalls.
First they pissed off Verizon, then they pissed off the internet, the attorney general of Indiana, and Congressmen Mike Doyle. Now the group of companies responsible for the car warranty robocalls have annoyed New York Senator Chuck Schumer by calling him during an important meeting about health care.
Protip for telemarkers: If you’re going to engage in random robodialing to unlisted cell phones, pray very very hard that you do not dial the attorney general of a state in which you plan to continue doing business.
The Today show recently aired a terrifically entertaining exposé of US Fidelis, one of the biggest companies behind the auto warranty racket that you’ve probably encountered via junk mail, telemarketing, or even on TV. They start by looking at an individual who spent $3,180 on one of their auto warranties only to be left stranded when her car overheated and they refused to pay.
Verizon continues its recent campaign of turning robocallers into charitable contributions, this time by settling a lawsuit against two of the companies behind those awful car warranty calls. Last time it was for $25,000; this time it’s for $50,000, all of which is being donated to the Joyful Heart Foundation, which Wireless Week describes as “a nonprofit devoted to empowering survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse.”