How to Avoid Telemarketing Scams
In supply telemarketing scams, dishonest vendors pose as legitimate
vendors of your machine's office supplies. The victim is then billed at
over-inflated prices, sometimes for inferior or incorrect product.
Telemarketing fraud typically targets small businesses and charities;
however, no business organization is immune.
Typical Scam Tactics
Obtaining information for your office machines.
To establish credibility with potential victims, fraudulent operators will call
a targeted business to obtain serial number and model information on office
equipment. Often, they pose as the legitimate, authorized source for supplies,
claiming they are updating their database and need to verify information
concerning your office equipment. A free gift or promotional item may be offered
to induce the recipient of the call to provide the information.
Offering the "unbeatable" deal
Armed with information about your office machines, the fraudulent operator is
now ready to make his pitch! The targeted business is then called and offered a
"sweet deal" on office supplies. Usually, the misrepresentation takes place on
the first call, with a second call being placed to confirm the order. This is
sometimes done via fax. In addition to the use of high-pressure tactics, typical
pitches often include the following:
- This is a one-time supply liquidation, only!
- You know, it's part of your service contract!
- We're the distribution center for your Office Equipment
Manufacturer, and we're having a special sale!
- You'll get a free gift, or a chance to win a trip or
car, if you order today!
- Prices on supplies are being raised; however, we've
reserved a number of cartons under your name at the old price!
- Supplies are being liquidated from a deceased
relative's business, at a one-time only price!
When the victim receives the order, they find that the price offered is actually
many times higher than what they normally pay from their authorized vendor.
Often, grossly inflated shipping and handling, or other miscellaneous charges
will be included on the invoice.
Use of threats and coercion
Sometimes, victims of office supplies scams will pay the invoice before
realizing that they have been scammed. However, if the victim balks at paying,
they may receive calls from the scam perpetrator threatening to refer the
invoice to a collection agency, or to take legal action. Abusive language and
other forms of verbal intimidation may be used.
Once the invoice is paid, it is very difficult, if not impossible to obtain a
refund. In some cases, victims may be scammed a second time by receiving a call
from a person pretending to be a "recovery specialist", who claims that they can
get the victim's money returned in exchange for an up front payment. The
"recovery specialist" then takes the victim's money and is never heard of again.