“There’s a sucker born every minute.”—P.T. Barnum
“Easy money!” The ads seem to scream. “Work at home part-time and make thousands of dollars!” Solicitations arrive in the mail: “You’re already a winner of one of these four fabulous prizes: a new car, a new television, a new stereo, or luggage. Send your check for $39.95 shipping and handling to….” Of course you get the luggage—a plastic little fold-up airline bag worth $1.49. I know because I fell for that one.
Have you? Here are the Top Ten Telemarketing Frauds, as reported by the national Fraud Information Center:
- Work-at-Home Plans: Programs sold with false promises of earnings.
- Telephone Cramming: Consumers are billed for services they never ordered.
- Advance-fee Loans: Loan offers requiring payment in advance for loans that are never made.
- Prize Offers and Sweepstakes: Consumers are asked to pay up front fees in order to collect a prize or be eligible for one.
- Telephone Slamming: Consumers phone carriers are switched without the consumers’ knowledge or consent.
- Magazine Sales: Fake subscriptions or renewals to magazines which never arrive.
- Travel and Vacation Offers: Offers of “free trips” that have undisclosed costs.
- Credit Card Offers: Phony promises of cards for which payment of fees are required in advance.
- Investment Opportunities: Use of high-pressure sales tactics and outrageous profit claims to get consumers to invest in phony investment pools.
10. Credit Card Loss Protection Plans: Using scare tactics or misrepresentation to sell unnecessary “coverage.”
Well, let’s see, in addition to having fallen for number four in the example above, I have also been taken in by number six and number seven. When I was in college, a nice young man came to the door and earnestly told me of his plan to pay for tuition through magazine sales. I bought several subscriptions which never arrived. Then I bought a vacation package to Las Vegas, but when I went to the address they gave me to pick up the documents, it was a vacant lot.
After that, I got smarter. I asked more questions, and asked for a phone number so I could call them back. Funny how they never wanted to give me a number. If it looks too good to be true, figure out why they’re telling you. Ask questions, research, do your due diligence. Buy from people you know and trust—and are going to see again next Tuesday.
There are sharks in dolphin’s clothing out there. If you fall for them, you’re a tuna.
Today’s Affirmation: “I am safe in the lap of luxury.”
Have you seen any of these in your email in-box?
My name is Mr. Song Li le I work with the Hang Seng Bank. There is the sum of $19,500,000.00 in my bank”Hang Seng Bank”,Hong kong. I do solicit for your assistance in effecting this transaction. I intend to give 30% of the total funds as compensation for your assistance.
I AM ROTIMI AHMED, ASSISTANCE AND FAMILY LAWYER TO THE WIFE OF THE FORMER PRESIDENT OF NIGERIA, MUSA YAR’DUA WHO DIED LAST YEAR AFTER SOME MONTHS OF ILLNESS. AFTER HIS DEATH AND BURIAL, THE WIFE CONTACTED ME THAT SHE HAS A TOTAL SUM OF $20M CASH WHICH SHE DEPOSITED WITH A SECURITY COMPANY AND THAT I SHOULD HELP HER SOLICIT FOR A RELIABLE AND TRUSTED PERSON WHO CAN HELP THE FAMILY TO KEEP THE CASH PENDING HER ARRIVAL
My name is Richard Tang Yat Sun, A staff of Hang Seng Bank, Here in Hong Kong. I have a business proposal in the tune of US$24.5m to be transferred to an offshore account with your assistance if willing. After the successful transfer, we shall share in ratio of 50% for you and 50% for me. (I wonder if he’s related to Mr. Song Li above?)
I am Mr.Musa Ibrahim, working in a Finance house. However I got your address through the International web directory online. During our recent reconciliation and auditing of our Finance house accounts, my department discovered an over dormant account with a huge amount of money, valued at US$ 10,500,000.00 (Ten million, five hundred thousand, United State dollars, only that belongs to one of our late customers.He has passed away (dead) leaving no beneficiary to the account…I want you to stand in as next of kin to our late customer so that the fund will be released to you.
Your Email ID won! EuroMillion Lottery Intl. Program FOREIGN SERVICE SECTION BARCELONA. REFERENCE NUMBER: SOXW/HAWIR BATCH NUMBER: 2011/149 /BMQ OFFICIAL WINNING NOTIFICATION. We are pleased to inform you of the released results of the EuroMillions Corporations Sweepstakes Promotion in conjunction with foundations for the promotion of software products organized for Software users. This Program was held on 10th March , 2011, in Barcelona- Spain. Wherein your email address emerged as one of the online Winning emails in the 1st category and therefore attracted a cash award of EUR1,500,000.00 (One Million Five Hundred Thousand Euros) and an Apple laptop. Your laptop, certificate of winnings and your cheque of (EUR1 500,000.00 Euros) will be sent to your contact address in your location.
Please take note, lucky winners will pay for their courier services delivery.
I also love the men who write me passionate mash notes on Facebook like this:
i am steve by name,i like your profile,you are a beautiful woman,i am looking for a caring loving and honest woman,someone that knows what she wants,i am a man that was raised to believe women are the best gift God gives to men on earth and they deserve to be treated with lots of love care and respect,this i have vow to always do for the right woman when i find her,i will like to know more about you.will be waiting to read from you.you can email me etc.etc.
They usually use funny language like “dearly beloved” and “you fantastic pretty” and have only 12 friends – all women. Sigh.
So I should now have about $80 trillion and dozens of young male models trailing in my wake. Hee.