Let’s face it; telemarketing has a bad name. Every time it makes inroads to respectability in the business-to-business world, another headline hits the wires about some shyster bilking consumers for millions of dollars with a business-to-consumer telemarketing scam.
Whenever I explain to someone what I do, I always make sure to highlight the business-to-business aspect- differentiating myself from “those guys that call you at dinner time.” It’s as if I’m obligated to defend myself from the get-go.
That’s why I take it personally when fraudsters manage to ply their trade in my domain. Two days ago some telemarketing outfit out of Philadelphia was convicted of ripping off nearly 400,000 businesses to the tune of $75,000,000. What boggles the mind is that their scheme was allowed to operate for a full three years before the authorities stepped in.
Well, maybe I shouldn’t be too surprised. I mean, look at what Bernie Madoff got away with. Grease the right palms and you can get away with almost anything- but, not indefinitely. As the saying goes, “you can fool some of the people all the time, all the people some of the time, but not all the people all the time.”
About six years ago, I accepted a project from an entirely legitimate seeming company. I quickly discovered something was amiss when my team followed up with customers we had sold our client’s products to. I terminated the lucrative contract with my client when he wasn’t able to address my concerns satisfactorily.
After alerting the authorities, I contacted all the major publications with whom my client took out full page advertisements. Nothing happened. The publications continued to accept business from this company; the authorities ignored the situation.
Two years later, I stumbled on a news article indicating they had finally been shut down.