• 36°

Telemarketing gone wrong

Mom’s corner

After cell phones went public, I began to receive telemarketer calls constantly one particular one went something like this:
Me: Hello?
Telemarketer: Hello, are you the owner of this number?
OK, at this point I’m thinking of saying, “No, I just stole this phone.”  Instead I say, “Yes, can I help you?”
Telemarketer:  “Congratulations, you have been selected to win a $500 Walmart gift card. It can be used at any Walmart…”
I quickly interrupted this speech with,  “Uh-huh, right. So what do I have to do to get this card?”
Shaken from his routine, Mr. Telemarketer stutters and says, “Do? You don’t have to do anything?”
I respond with, “Really?  I just have to give you my name and address and you’re going to mail me a $500 gift card?”
Mr. Telemarketer says, “Well there is a small charge of $4.95 for shipping and handling.”
My response was, “Imagine that. OK, I tell you what you send me a bill and I’ll send you a money order for the $4.95, then you can send me the gift card.  How about that?”
Of course, Mr. Telemarketer isn’t happy with this idea at all and says, “Oh, no!  We can only accept payment in the form of plastic money, such as a debit card or credit card. If you’ll just give me an account number. It will just be a one…”
Again I interrupt, and respond with, “I am not giving you an account number. You may send me…”
Mr. Telemarketer says rather indignantly, “Wait! Do you think we’re trying to scam you?”
I laugh and reply, “Actually, yes!”
Mr. Telemarketer says, “Oh, no ma’am! This will be a one-time charge of  only $4.95 and we will not even charge it for 7 days. If you should…”
At this point, I’m getting fed up, “OK, here’s the bottom line.  I am not giving you any account numbers!  If you want to send me a bill, I will be happy to send you a money order for $4.95 and you can mail me the $500 gift card. Otherwise, I’m not interested.”
Well, Mr. Telemarketer doesn’t want to lose the sale says, “Oh but ma’am this is just a one time…”
My response at this time was, “Goodbye.”
I really hate being rude to telemarketers, but by the time I had received four calls from the same people in one day, while trying to watch my daughter play a softball tournament, I wasn’t the nicest person to these people.  By the time I had received eight of them in a weekend, I was seriously aggravated! I ended up putting my family’s name and number on the “No Call” list and reported the number to the Federal Trade Commis-sion (FTC).
I can’t help but wonder how many people do give out personal information and bank account information to people like these and end up being taken to the cleaners.  If you are having trouble with telemarketers, check out the FTC’s website at www.fcc.gov or to register for the no-call list by phone at 1-800-CALL-FCC.
I hope you have a great week.