Friday, December 28, 2007

Learn How Easy You Can Spot the Phone Scams of a Con Man

--A psychological 11-step approach is methodically followed in setting up a "pigeon" through a phone scam

How does Teflon stick to the pan? This is the sort of question you could be asking yourself after being "taken" by a scam artist telemarketer. Legal phone scams can be devastating enough. No need to go further and fall into an outrightly illegal trap.

The professional con man does, however, have a big hurdle to leap, right up front in his operations. He must constantly cast his sucker-bait in order to find new victims. Often, the quickest, easiest way to do this is through just plain old cold-call telemarketing methods. The scam artist pays no heed to the No Call Registry. His plan is for a swift set-up, a fast fleece, resulting in a quick buck, then he will be gone before any law enforcement agency can even think to get out a warrant on him.

Say you are the scam artist. What does it take to get you started?

It requires a talented person to persuade someone to take the action you are conning them into--to make a decision that will line your pockets--based solely on the words and ideas that spill forth from your lips. An awesome feat. You know the average victim thinks indecision is the key to flexibility, and it's this inherent mental state that must be overcome.

So, now let's grab an example out of thin air: something you might be trying to sell. Let's say it's a solar panel lighting and heating system for your victim's house. Say it's cost is $15,000--only a third or one-half what the victim would normally expect to pay. Why the bargain price? Why not? This way you can start out with a big competitive advantage. Good talking point. Remember, the deposit you'd get on the $15,000 would be both gross and net to the scam artist: you. You don't plan on delivering anything, only walking off with the sucker's money. The scam artist doesn't suffer from stress; he's the carrier. That's Scam School 101.

How do you start? A number of steps are involved, to get the customer softened up so that he will accept an appointment with you.

1. Treat whoever answers the phone the same way you would the decision-maker--because this person will determine if you even get to talk to Mr.. Moneybags.

2. Squeeze the call screener for information. "I hope you can help me? I want to be fully prepared when I talk to..."(whoever the sucker).

3. If you have to leave a message you must be sure it contains a strongly hinted-at benefit. You must bait the hook, to ensure getting through to the mark. Be vague. No detailed descriptives.

4. When speaking directly to the decision-maker, start out with curiosity stimulation. "I understand a solar-panel heating system for a home your size normally costs upwards of $30,000." You've got to maneuver the victim compliantly into the next phase.

5. The questioning phase is next. This can be tricky. A little flattery is called for at this stage, to soften the mark up, but not to overdo. Use weasel words: maybe, perhaps, possibly. You must hint that you "might" have something of value to offer,and with the help of these non-threatening words, you are moving your pitch diplomatically forward.

6. Avoid going-nowhere questions: "Are you now having problems?" " What are your needs?" "What are you looking for?" You don't want the mark to think too much at this stage. If something goes without saying, let it..

7. If the victim starts to bubble and run off at the mouth, this is a good sign. He is opening up, just what you want. Be patient. "Tell me more." Remember, a closed mouth gathers no foot.

8. When objections occur, do not in any way get defensive. Merely backtrack, revisit the question phase. "Let's talk about that." This can easily be turned to an advantage, because it is a symptom of his real problem.

9. " What would happen if you did nothing about your problem?" This is a good approach to turning things around again and headed back your way. Here you have an open door to jump in with the $20,000 savings you offer, the benefits, all the goodies. You are now at the wrap-up stage of this phone call.

10. You should now be ready for your final push. In the questioning phase you've found out who all the decision makers are who must be sold. You've measured the mark as to his degree of gullibility. You know all the demographics. Make the appointment. Get all the necessary suckers involved together for your final face-to-face meeting.

Then you close the con. pick up a hefty deposit, and vacation in Cancun for a month.


Warren M said...

I guess it is really calculating how the con artist has to go step by step through some kind of routine to fool his victim. I particularly like weasel words, those words needed to put the victim at ease. All in all this is good tutorial stuff.

The Uneasy Supplicant said...

I concur with Warren. The use of weasel words I find fascinating "... maybe, perhaps, possibly." Definitely fascinating. Very interesting.

Jack Payne said...

The is the same way the average every day telemarketer delivers his sales pitch. This is frightening. Can you trust anybody?

Ione Hesber said...

More weight is thrown down on the shoulders of the recipients of such phone calls when the Don't Call Registry doesn't seem to be working. What good is this system if it won't keep out the con game element?

McAlee said...

No doubt the mind games that go on over the telephone are still the biggest pocket-picking enterprises practiced by con men. Some 75% of all big ticket item scams are still pulled off over the phone. As big as the inernet is in this, the phone is still king.

younglifestyle said...

con artists, will go through many steps to deceive, I really love this article. I really don't do any types of business over the telephone because off so many scams out there.

seet said...

Jack, I love your conman's blog. It'll be good if everyone can read your blog cos we can all learn something from it. Thank you for sharing!

Terry Heath said...

I worked in phone sales half a day the summer after high school. It was only half a day because a friend I got the job with, and I, went to lunch and decided not to return. We didn't even pick up our paychecks; it was horrible there.

We had a script, and I found myself reading as fast as I could just so the person on the other end couldn't get a word in, like "no". I was amazed to actually make a few sales, poor suckers!

When I get a phone solicitor who is obviously reading a script, I just hang up on them to put them out of their misery. The clever ones who use steps similar to yours, if I'm in the right mood I try to trip them up.

Passive-aggressive phone use.

Jack Payne said...

Yes, in addition to robots, script reading by humans is common. But, the big-ticket stuff, like the solar system cited, is still done by super-humans--by polished, psychologically-oriented "Sharpies."

Chelle B. said...

So what you are saying here, is that I could be putting my talents to better use by employing these techniques?

Instead of blogging for fun I could be scamming thousands, perhaps millions, of poor souls out of their hard earned money and blogging for fun from Cancun??

Holy smokes! Well, there's MY New Year's Resolution! :p

Great blog, Jack.


Jack Payne said...

You may be right, Chelle. Maybe we all have been missing our "calling." I've been chasing down all these con man tricks for the past 45 years. It's always amazed me at how easy it is to fool people (that vast flock of suckers who populate the earth) over and over and over again--with fundamentally the same con. Good example would be the Dirt Pile scam--gold--a topic on which I have a press release coming up shortly, which will be published here. This has been worked to death, seemingly since the year One, yet it still flourishes.