Today: Dec 18 , 2018

Can I Hang Up Now? Dealing with Telemarketers & Scammers
Featured

29 November 2018  

During this holiday season, don’t let yourself get entangled with telemarketing calls and scams.

So, telemarketers have your phone number and they’re driving you crazy. What to do?

The first thing, according to a Reader’s Digest article, "I’m a Telemarketer - Here’s How to Get Rid of Me," is not to hang up. Yep. You need to stay on the phone. Why?

If you hang up, or, don’t answer at all, the call is marked as "no answer" and your number is simply reprogrammed for another call at a later time. Telemarketing computers are relentless, and your number can be re-called over and over, as you well know. 

When you answer, however, don’t chit-chat. Don’t try to be nice, empathetic, or kind. Don’t try to explain why you don’t want the product or service they are trying to sell. Here’s what you need to say - and only what to say:

"Please put me on your do-not-call list."

If they ask why? Simply repeat, "Please put me on your do-not-call list."

The goal for telemarketers is to sell you something. So they will engage you as long as possible. As explained in the Reader’s Digest article, 

"When you answer, I’ll try to sell the product to you using the Three Noes rule: Don’t let the customer go until she has said no three times during the phone call. After the first two noes, the client becomes more likely to spend money. If you don’t purchase the item, I will log everything you’ve said and suggest calling you back another time. These are logged as “callbacks”—tiny gold nuggets for telemarketers to follow up on. And thus, the cycle continues."

In the meantime, sign up for the National Do Not Call Registry run by the Federal Trade Commission. You can register your home phone or your mobile phone, and it’s free. This doesn’t get rid of all calls - charities, political groups, debt collectors and those conducting a survey can still dial your number. But it can stop those simply trying to sell you something. If it doesn’t, violators can be fined up to $40K per violation.

When you should hang up immediately

What you don’t want to do is use the word, "yes" for any reason. That’s because if they are recording the call (and in Arizona, you can record calls with certain limitations) getting your voice recorded saying, "Yes" is like gold and can be used by con artists to scam or steal from you.

Suppose you pick up the phone and hear someone you don’t know say something like, "Can you hear me now?" Do not respond. Do not say yes. This is when you should hang up immediately. Do not give them anything useful to record. 

Just. Hang. Up.

Online scams

You get an email from - fill in the blank here - a favorite company that you do business with that has your credit card and password information. It is asking you to click on a link for some reason. 

Don’t do that.

This email may be trying to "phish" you. 

"...the fraudulent practice of sending emails purporting to be from reputable companies in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers."

The first thing to do is to look at the return email address. If the return address looks suspicious in any way, do not interact with the email. Do not click any of the links that may be in the email. Be cautious and wary - sometimes they use a domain address that is very close to the company name. Maybe instead of being from "google.com" the email is from "googles.com" or from "google.anothercompany.com

The next thing to do is look at the wording. Is the grammar off? Are words misspelled? Do you have a feeling that it might be a fake? If you have any questions, do not open it, and do not click!!!

Here are some other tips and tricks for email that you may not have: How to Handle Suspicious Email

This is the time of year that we’re all shopping and buying gifts. And there are bad guys out there, so be alert and safe!  

Finally, here’s a bit of humor for you from someone who took on a scammer at his own game. Enjoy!