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High Risk Merchants Quick Guide on Telemarketing Frauds

My friend Anna won't even answer telemarketers when they call. Sometimes I tell her to give them the benefit of the doubt as they might offer something good but she refuses flat out. Says she's tired of glib spiels and doesn't want to be bothered. She knows when it's a telemarketer calling. It's always on her landline phone. Her mobile phone is the only scam-free phone she has. Ooops, maybe not. At times she still receives weird messages saying she won trip for two cruise tickets. But we know very well it's just a scammer. We call them up and tell them we need money to return their call as our phone credits are used up. Talk about swallowing your own pill.


Making Money by Phone?

Telemarketing is also considered a high risk merchant industry. It has ballooned over the last decades. It has gone from being a blue-collar job (read: telephone operators) in the United States to being outsourced in countries over the East like India, Philippines, and China. It's become a profitable business elsewhere in the world. But everyone hates it. No one likes ringing people up and pestering them for a credit card offer. Nor answering a phone call from an irate Louisiana native who has an accent like she came from Pluto. No one likes hearing a smooth voice on the other end of the line rattling about the latest DVD players on sale. Drop that. We would rather watch Nick Junior than deal with a telemarketer, and worse a telemarketing fraud.

So what exactly constitutes a clean and a dirty telemarketing gimmick? I won't generalize and say all telemarketers are a pain in the neck. The only problem is when you cannot detect the difference and you become a victim of fraud. This industry is riddled with high incidences of frauds and chargebacks -- hence operators may always have a hard time finding a good high risk merchant account provider to handle the credit card processing transactions. But the possibilities online are endless. Surf online and you might find just the right provider for you.


Telemarketing Frauds: 2006 Statistics

The year 2006 saw a good number of telemarketing frauds surface. On the top of the list is Fake Check scams. Here, consumers paid with phony checks for work or items sold are instructed to wire money back. Another is Sweepstakes. So-called winners are requested to pay to claim the prizes that they won, which never materialize. Magazine sales, scholarship or grants, advance fee loans, lotteries, credit card offers are also part of the telemarketing scam list. Some would call you under the guise of being from someone with authority or media and ask for your personal information, thus stealing your identity. Others, like me and Anna, get offers of free or discount travel that never materialize.


Tips and Tricks Against Phone Scammers

Don't get robbed by phone. Statistics say that telemarketing scammers target older people because they're always home, got money saved in the bank, and don't curse. If you're skeptical, check whether the company or charity is legitimate in your state consumer agency. Almost often these scammers come from outside of the U.S. and ask you to pay by ways other than credit card.

Take that as a no-no. Winning lotteries or acquiring loans do not require you to pay upfront fees. But if you give it a benefit of the doubt, pay by credit card, not by debit card or by providing bank account information. The great thing about it is that you can file a chargeback on the high risk merchant account provider if you do not get the goods promised to you. But I'd rather you steer clear of that issue and stay on the safe side. Telemarketing is tough.

 

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