The Worst and Most Common Telemarketing Scams

Telemarketing scammers are creative

Cyber Attacks
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Telemarketing scammers are creative, and they come up with new tricks all of the time. These people prey on any person who answers the telephone but tends to focus on seniors and others who may have responded to these scams in the past. These previous victims end up on a “sucker list”. The following are some of the most common scams from telemarketers, which will give you a good idea of what type of tricks they may play:

Counterfeit Checks

Many people receive counterfeit checks in the mail, but when it is followed up with a phone call from Australia, Canada or another foreign locale, you may start to believe it. With this scam, the victim is often asked to deposit the check into their account, and then wire those funds to someone overseas to pay for insurance, fees, and taxes. By the time the bank determines the check is fake, the money is gone. An alternative to this scam is to tell the victim they won an award.​​

International Lottery

International lotteries are also popular, and this scam works by telling the victim they won an international lottery. The scammer will call, and say you will have to pay $10 to $100 a week, but give you a "sure bet" winning lottery opportunity. Often the scammer WILL give out small sums, AKA "winnings," to keep the victim interested, but it doesn't come close to what they have spent.

Payment Processor Scams

With this scam, a victim is invited to earn money by serving as a payment processor. When you sign-up, you get checks, cash, and transfers from across the country to wire overseas. You can take 10% for yourself, but in reality, the money is coming from elderly victims, and you are sending the money to the scammers. You are essentially a money mule or middleman for the scammer without realizing it.

Grandchild Scams

With this scam, a young caller will call a senior claiming to be their grandchild who needs assistance. The caller begs the grandparent not to tell their parents, but they need money because they were arrested/in a car accident/gotten into trouble. The fake grandchild asks for a loan, usually a few hundred dollars, but it can be much more. The scammer usually gets information about the grandchild through social media, so it sounds legitimate.

Guaranteed Grants From the Government

With this scam, a caller will tell the victim that they have qualified for a government grant, and then asks them questions to make the transaction seem legitimate. The scammer then asks for bank account information so they can deposit the grant money into the victim's account. Of course, the money never shows up, and the victim loses hundreds of dollars or more.

Sweetheart Scams

A sweetheart scam occurs when the victim is contacted by someone through a dating or social networking site. They lure the victim with romance, and when they are sure the victim has fallen in love, they send a message that they are in trouble and need money, betting that their "love" will send the cash.

Advance Fee Loan Scam

This scam preys on those who are trying to get a loan but are already in poor financial standing. When calling to apply for the loan, the person who answers the call says the victim will receive the loan after paying a fee, which covers a security deposit and processing. The victim pays the fee but never gets the loan.

Identity Theft or Credit Card Insurance

With this scam, the caller tells the victim that they will sell insurance to them to protect from identity theft or credit card fraud. They use a scare tactic that the victim could be liable for thousands of dollars in debt if they don't have this insurance.

Secret Shopper Scam

The secret shopper scam is another one that victims easily fall for, and in this scam, the victim gets paid for being a secret shopper and then evaluating the performance of the company. The victim will receive instructions for testing the MoneyGram or Western Union system along with a check for a couple of thousand dollars. The victim is asked to immediately deposit the check into their personal account, and then wire 90 percent of the funds to someone overseas. Several days later, the victim finds that the check is fake, and they are responsible for paying back the money.

These are just a few of the many telemarketing scams that you or a loved one may fall victim to. The bottom line is this: if an offer sounds too good to be true, it likely is.