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How To Dodge Telemarketers Tricks & Traps

Updated on April 11, 2015
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© 2013 Express10

Telemarketers can be very annoying and just plain pushy. Many will harass you with constant calls or even disconnected or dead air calls. If you try calling them at the number shown on your Caller ID or try to report them to the FTC, at best you will have a 50/50 chance of having the correct phone number as they often use fake Caller ID information so that you cannot call them with complaints or requests of any sort. There are many telemarketers who use fake Caller ID information and also refuse to give their address when it's requested. Some will text you repeatedly "poking" you until you respond to them by calling and the first thing you'll hear will be a sales pitch. They do not care to follow the laws that have been in place for years because these types of scams make six or seven figures each year for the company owners and there is little that can be done about them as they make it priority number one to (often illegally) stay a step or two ahead of customers and authorities. Nevertheless, you can learn some ways to avoid them and keep your money in your pocket.

If you have ever wondered, telemarketers often get your information from a list of names and information that they bought, had shared with them, or sometimes have stolen. It also could be that you provided your cell phone number to them or another company somehow associated with them or typed your cell number in online opening yourself up to texts and calls! Did you know that even your own bank or credit/debit/gift card company may be sharing or selling telemarketers your credit card, bank account details, address, etc. under the guise of offering products and services that you "may" be interested in. You may be transferred to or dial a wrong number and end up talking to a telemarketer. This has been going on for at least a couple decades but of course the telemarketers lie about who they are. But as long as people erroneously trust what a complete stranger says on the phone, we will continue to be plagued with telemarketers tricks and traps.

Many telemarketing companies sell questionable or unnecessary products and services to people and will immediately begin soliciting these new "customers" to repeat the process of getting them to buy more questionable products and services regardless of whether or not they are wanted. While it is possible that your information was sold or shared with the telemarketer because of a prior purchase that you made from a completely different company, many telemarketers will contact you and either lie and say they are the company you purchased from or imply this to gain your trust.

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Beware, telemarketers will call, text, and write you

Common telemarketing tactics include calling or texting consumers and saying that they are conducting a survey, verifying/confirming information, etc. Whenever someone calls or texts you and mentions these things it would be to your benefit to ask them to take you off their list and hang up immediately after asking...do not even wait for them to say anything. In addition, when you order things from reputable national and internationally known companies, they don't call you to "verify/confirm" anything, let alone call you repeatedly. They make sure they have everything they need in one go of it, there is no back and forth. So red flags should be raised in your mind the second anyone calls and says they are verifying info. Also, keep these things in mind when the same number keeps ringing your line but leaves no (human) message.

If you are getting texts from an unknown person that you believe to be spam, are annoying, harassing you or even depleting your account, forward those texts to your cell phone provider's spam account to stop the crooks! You can ask your cell phone provider's customer service department for their spam text short code, for example: AT&T customers can forward their spam text forwarding short code to report spam is 7726.

Equally worrying is the fact that you could actually call a telemarketing company who will never tell you that they are such! Make sure that you listen very carefully and are not distracted. Make sure the person on the other end of the line says the EXACT name of the company at the very start of the call WITHOUT you asking what company you've reached. You could call a telemarketing company by mis-dialing, by being tricked or lied to, or via the crooked company's nefarious deeds. It happens much more often than many would ever believe and most never even know the company or their address despite handing over all their contact and bank/credit/gift card info to the person on the other end of the line.

Only shady companies who want to solicit you use these tactics. When you tell them to take you off their list, don't even listen to their reply as it is their job to force you into accepting whatever they're selling and many are not ethical, honest, or law abiding. Hang up. Be careful whom you give your information to and choose cash or other anonymous payment methods whenever you can. Information sales and sharing is practiced by reputable as well as with less than reputable companies.

Because good and bad companies utilize this practice, it is important that you find out about the company's policies in writing regarding information sales and sharing before giving them your contact information or credit/debit/bank account number. If you have initiated contact with the company ask their name and get off the phone with them, do not do business with them until you have done research on them online and via their state's Attorney General's office. Even looking at sites such as Rip Off Report or simply Googling the company name or their product names can yield plenty of warnings and save you the trouble. Don't even bother with the BBB as crooked companies can easily operate under aliases with them to hide the dirt they actually do to consumers.

When they say it's not without being asked, it is!

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Just some of the tip offs to a shady telemarketer

If you read nothing else in this hub, please read these tips that can warn you that who you are dealing with is a shady telemarketer.

  • Name dropping national or worldwide brand names that would never have anything to do with them, trying to imply reputability where there is none.
  • Freebies, medical alert type offerings, magazines, identity theft protection, shopping clubs, etc. These are just a few of the items that are often linked to telemarketing scams. Tell them no before hanging up, then hang up.
  • Calling you under the guise of you having won a contest or sweepstakes. The fact is that if you had won a legitimate contest, you would not be asked or pestered to buy or pay for anything, you would receive word in writing, never over the phone.
  • Many consumers are lied to or otherwise mislead into responding to direct mail, classified, and internet ads. If you respond to a scam or fall for it, you will have more offers in your mail, email, and calls from telemarketers.
  • The person you speak with does not say the name of the company you have reached at the very start of the call or doesn't answer completely and immediately answer your questions. Telemarketers who want to imply that they are call centers rather than shady operations have long been known to use various forms of trickery to pilfer outgoing calls from consumers and suck money out of unsuspecting consumers. The crooks let victims think that they are speaking to a legitimate company the victim tried to reach just long enough to get the victim to buy something from them and plenty will act as if they are the company the victim tried to call. Yes, you read this one correctly. Telemarketers can trick you into calling them or have your calls to certain numbers routed to them instead. Be VIGILANT, this has been happening for at least a decade. To add insult to injury, the telemarketing laws do not fully apply because technically YOU called them whether you were tricked, re-routed/transferred, or otherwise bamboozled into doing so!
  • Fake/fraudulent websites, pop-ups/pop-unders, spam, fine print, pre-checked opt in boxes, and other unethical web tricks to get your information. If you didn't seek out the info or offer, hang up. Do not even ask questions if they have you on the phone, they will do anything to keep you on the line in the hopes of getting you to agree whether you fully understand or not.
  • Advertisements and offers to test a computer (or other high dollar electronics) and keep it for free. If it sounds too good to be true...

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They will annoy you in every way possible all to separate you and your loved ones from your money

There is a seemingly never-ending list of telemarketers tricks and having telemarketers interrupting your privacy and peace is certainly an irritation most of us try to avoid. Still, many people continue to answer numbers that are not known to them or answer calls from companies that they have never dealt with. Landline and cell phone companies do not make the fight any easier for consumers. In fact, many argue they are "in on it" because of the revenues that some of these calls bring them.

A large number of phone and mobile companies will not block individual numbers or blacklist calls from companies that their phone customers complain about, even where there are complaints filed with government agencies/authorities/consumer groups. In addition, some phone companies appear to be less than helpful in prosecuting telemarketers. In seeking to prevent this irritation and harassment, it is very important to know that telemarketers use a wide variety of disguises to get you on the line, keep you on the line, and get you to buy and your phone company (mobile or landline) is doing nothing to help you. Don't be surprised if they text you, call you, email you, send you a letter or postcard, etc.

There are telemarketers who will outright lie by saying that they are conducting a survey. The reason for using the survey lie is that legitimate companies conducting a survey don't have to adhere to the National Do Not Call list but many crooked telemarketers get away with lying to consumers everyday. Other telemarketers may say that you only have to pay for shipping, a trial, or other low introductory price, but once they've got your financial information, some will continue charging you whatever they'd like and many will make it impossible for you to cancel or get a refund. Some will say it costs you nothing when it does. These are just two of many complaints that I've listened to directly from customers and a few employees of one of my former employers.

Yep, that pretty much captures the feeling Mr. President.

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The bottom line is do not EVER trust anyone who you did not intentionally call without having them solicit you or provoke you to call them

Also, beware of the fact that if they do NOT ask for your financial or payment information, they likely already have it. Then remind yourself of the fact that there are thousands of less than reputable telemarketing companies out there. You had better believe that there are some who will debit your account until it is in the red so, beware of the telemarketers' call, text, email, letter, postcard, well, you get the point. Be careful of where you shop and whom you give financial payment information to as it can end up in a less than trustworthy company's hands.

Because there are no (and likely never will be) background checks for the buyers or sellers of your contact and financial information, you are at risk of having your private info land in the hands of telemarketers, identity thieves, and companies who will illegally charge you without your permission. Do not fill out sweepstakes and contest entry forms. These entries are often sold or shared with companies that will harass you with useless offers and programs. If you decide that you are not open to any offer or program, stick to your decision and decline in a firm manner. Do not humor them and "hear them out" because listening to their offer gives the impression that you are interested and even giving that impression could set you up for more calls or more aggressive rebuttals. If they said or implied that they are calling on behalf of another company, make sure to ask that you not receive calls from their company or their client.

Lastly, when you assert yourself do not be thrown off by the fact that some of the telemarketers will become verbally abusive. Usually, they are frustrated by their high pressure and low paying job and wish to take it out on you. Their bad choices in life are not your fault. But only you can assert yourself and firmly ask for them to stop calling or hold your ground when you say no. Also, you would do well to know that many telemarketers are required to rebuttal each attempt you make at a decline and you may need to say no many times during the call before they finally give up.

Have you ever been lied to or cheated by a telemarketer?

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    • easylearningweb profile image

      Amelia Griggs 5 years ago

      Very good tips to avoid telemarketers. Thanks, Express10.

      Welcome to Hubpages and good luck with your writing. :-)

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Very good information. When they harrass me, I hand the phone over to my teenage sons and tell them "have fun boys"... Well done!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 5 years ago from Shelton

      Express 10 I am impressed.. this is a worth reading Hub up and awesome..plus useful..

    • Magdelene profile image

      Magdelene 5 years ago from Okotoks

      Great Hub

      Telemarketers, they just don't know when to quit. One time I got a call from a telemarketer here in Canada and I said 'please stop calling me' and he told me 'If you don't want to be called anymore there is a number you can call'; he gave me the number. I called the number up and voila I no longer got the horrid telemarketer calls.

      This was a few years ago and I'm not sure if it still works, but you can always ask them if there is a way you can be put on that 'Do Not Call list'.

    • Express10 profile image
      Author

      H C Palting 5 years ago from East Coast

      Thanks. I find it very surprising that they gave you the number! An honest telemarketer, very few and far between.

    • sarcasticool profile image

      sarcasticool 5 years ago from New Zealand

      Great tips in another great hub, really been enjoying your writing. :)

    • Express10 profile image
      Author

      H C Palting 5 years ago from East Coast

      Thanks. I was hoping to provide at least some information that may be hidden from consumers.

    • profile image

      ThomW 4 years ago

      I screen all my calls and never answer a number I don't recognize. If they want to talk to me bad enough they can leave a message then I get to decide if I want to call them back.

    • Express10 profile image
      Author

      H C Palting 4 years ago from East Coast

      Curiosity or simply wanting harassing calls to stop prompt others to answer. Screening calls or simply sticking to your guns if you answer are the best ways to avoid getting taken.

    • Diana Grant profile image

      Diana Grant 2 years ago from London

      I often tell telemarketers that I am on the Telephone Preference scheme (I am in the UK) and point out that they are breaking the law. If they remonstrate, I tell them again, using different words. Invariably they hang up straight away.

      If I want to have a bit of fun, I ask them if they would like my bank details and pin number. They gasp, and hang up.

      Sometimes I am more gentle, and just apologize and say I don't trust cold calls so don't want to answer any questions or do business with them. They accept that and hang up.

    • Express10 profile image
      Author

      H C Palting 2 years ago from East Coast

      You must have very courteous,ethical and law abiding telemarketers in London and are very lucky. We do not apparently have that type of luck here in the US. There are many telemarketing companies here that do many illegal and unethical things to pry money away from people. Most will not accept no or even gentle apologies from the person on the other end of the line and will push, lie and cheat until they get a sale.

      Lying and witholding information are common offenses. This behavior goes without reprimand here because of the many ways telemarketers are able to hide their identities. Many of the companies know how to stay several steps ahead of the law and easily do so while raking in money they would never made if they were held accountable for their illegal and unethical tactics. Smart consumers do not do business over the phone with any company they have never heard of, whether or not the consumer accidentally called a different company or if the company initiated contact.

    • Diana Grant profile image

      Diana Grant 2 years ago from London

      A lot of the cold calls we get appear to be from Asia, judging from the accents, and I assume they are in a call center. We also get unethical calls from pushy people. One of the tricks is that they don't hang up when you put the phone down, so if you make a call immediately after speaking to them, you are still connected to a premium line.

    • Express10 profile image
      Author

      H C Palting 2 years ago from East Coast

      We get those types of calls here in the US as well. They are so dirty aren't they? Watch out for the telemarketers who have bought up hundreds or thousands of toll free numbers that are similar to well known companies' phone numbers. Dial carefully my friend!

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