Countless times each day consumers encounter sales people online, over the phone and in person, who use deception to take their money. They may appear to be salesmen, but people who deceive you for a buck are actually scammers.
Wouldn't it be nice if there were an easy way to identify a scammer? Well, there are signs you're being scammed, if you'll only be aware of them.
We often think of a conman as smooth and sophisticated, and some of the really good ones are. But more often than not, the people responsible for taking your money are nothing more than common thugs, and they behave that way.
When you are dealing with any business person, you have every right to be treated in a respectful manner and, above all, in a professional manner. A consumer recently wrote to ConsumerAffairs.com detailing her experience with a home warranty company. Things seemed fishy from the outset.
"I got a call from a gentleman, definitely using a fake voice, offering to give me a quote," she said. "At first, he seemed very helpful, but then as his fake voice kept going in and out, he started talking to someone else in his office, cussing, laughing, and making jokes."
Using profanity--not to mention a fake voice--is unprofessional behavior, and when you encounter it from someone trying to sell you something, it's a tipoff you're dealing with a scammer.
It's also unprofessional if a business person threatens you. ConsumerAffairs.com receives numerous complaints from consumers describing harassment at the hands of debt collectors. Honest debt collectors will always maintain a firm, but professional demeanor. However, consumers have reported receiving repeated calls at work, complete with threats of arrest, and even physical harm.
People making these calls are scammers and should be reported to your state attorney general. You should not give them any money.
Professionalism should extend not just to verbal communication, but written communication as well. If letters and emails are filled with misspellings, poor grammar and punctuation, and odd syntax, it's another tipoff you're could be dealing with a scammer.
Business promotions are all too often scam territory. Unfortunately, legitimate and well-meaning businesses get caught up in these schemes because they don't do their homework, and hire what turn out to be scam operations to provide enticements to their customers.
"Free gas" promotions are a recent favorite, and many have turned out to be scams. If a business offers you a "free gas" card in return for doing something like sitting through a sales pitch, chances are, you'll never get the gas.
When you suddenly find it impossible to get in touch with the sales rep who is handling your account, chances are they're a scammer. Cassie, of Liberty, Missouri, found out the hard way after paying $3500 to a company that promised to help settle her tax debt with the IRS.
"We have called for a year and left message after message for a return phone call," she told ConsumerAffairs.com. "We still haven't received that call back. They did absolutely nothing for us. We will probably never see the money they took from us. We have since worked out a deal, by ourselves."
Scams have been around forever and there's no reason to think they'll ever disappear. If you can see one coming, you improve your chances of avoiding becoming a victim.