That term might sound unfamiliar, but if you have entered numerous sweepstakes and never won a big prize, investing a small fortune and left feeling like a loser, you've probably heard from a reload scam artist. These are the best of the best telemarketing cons, and they're out to take advantage of your embarrassment, frustration, or even desperation. They track the results of previous sweepstakes scams, so they know exactly how much you have spent in fruitless attempts to win a major prize. As far as they're concerned, you are ready for a real trip to the cleaners. In fact, they even refer to you as a "mooch."
You will get a call advising you that, since you've been a faithful player or purchaser, you are now eligible for an "executive prize," or perhaps your name has advanced to the "winners' circle." All you need to do is make one more purchase, and this time you really will be a winner. This call will probably be recorded, and the con artist will get you to admit that you are sending money to buy a product, not to qualify for a prize; this will protect the scammer if you decide to take him to court in the future. People who enter these contests repeatedly often win small, enticing prizes to keep them on the hook. They are gambling on the big win and, like any other form of gambling, this can become addictive. If the subject lives alone and has little social contact and no real support system, such behavior can actually become a kind of social life.
For elderly people who have gradually frittered away their savings, with no chance of recouping it, the need to keep going and win big becomes a matter of pride or desperation. How pleasant, then, to receive the "reloading" call, which promises that this is the last purchase you'll have to make before your ship comes in! Ninety percent of such fraudulent calls are made to people over the age of 70!
Every day bona fide charities call citizens to solicit donations or assistance with fund raising. It is sometimes difficult, then, to recognize a bogus request for a "charitable donation." Even worse, such canvassing can take a third form: the hired fund raising company that truly is raising funds for a good cause, although little of the money they collect will go to that cause. So a savvy consumer, especially one with a high S or P score (likely to fall prey on the basis of a strong social conscience or strong personal ideals) must first distinguish among the three types of calls and also consider whether contributing is in his or her best interests at this time. Again, the best course is to ask the caller to mail you a solicitation form or donation request - unless you are very sure that the call and caller are completely legitimate. Be aware though, that sometimes your "State Troopers" or other calls for help from familiar "civic organizations" or other "authorities" are really trick calls.
These offers usually come by postal mail or email (more of that unwanted spam). They offer you an opportunity to try a product and keep it if you will simply give them some feedback about how you liked it. Or, they offer you an opportunity to eat at all the finest restaurants in your area and get reimbursed for all or part of your expense, if you just file a little report afterward. Some of these offers are legitimate; most are not. Be especially wary of the offers that require you to join a "mystery shoppers club" or in some other way pay dues or send money in advance. Even with legitimate mystery shopping (which some consumers actually enjoy and feel has benefited them), you will have an obligation to file reports, sometimes extensive, time-consuming reports. Know what you are getting into and never send money in advance.
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Note: This article was sent to us by: Kyle Wallis at 03072010
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