5 Questions to Ask to Avoid a Phone Sales Scam


If you’ve expressed an interest in making stock, currency or other investments you will sooner or later find yourself receiving a cold call that goes something like this:

Hello Frank. This is Ben Dover with InterWorldEaze Trading Company. Our firm has been very successful in the field of foreign stock investments. We are looking for a select group of people who are interested in investing with us in a company with a strong track record and excellent future prospects.

OK, maybe your first inclination is to hang up on Ben, just like I did this afternoon when he called me. But, what if it is something that piques your interest and you do really want to find out more. What should you ask good old Ben about his opportunity?

1. Where did you get my name and number?

Get specifics here for two reasons. "From a list of qualified investors" is an evasive answer many of these people are instructed to give. Making them get specific will give you an idea of the quality of the organization, if it’s a boiler room operation or a legit company. Also, if you don’t want them to call again or if you’re on a "Do Not Call" list having this information can be used to block further calls and get callers who violate lists in trouble.

2. Can you explain the risks involved?

A scamster will want to avoid this question and will answer back with something to change the subject or to put pressure on you. A legit salesperson can give you a good breakdown of the risks, even if they put a positive spin on them.

3. Can you send me portfolio describing this offer?

They hate this one because it means not closing the sale and having to do follow ups where you might ask even more probing questions. If they do an urgency tap dance for you, saying you’ll miss out if you don’t act now, it’s likely all you’ll be missing out on is a scam.

4. Where is your company headquarters located?

Alternatively you could ask for the company’s web site or any other question that might help you nail down exactly where the company is physically located, their avenues of contact and legitimacy. If they dodge this one or lie about it that’s a good indication you’re getting scammed.

5. How much of my money will go toward fees and commissions?

Another troublesome question for the scammer but an easy one for the legit salesperson to answer. Watch out for dodge and close technique with this one.

Do you have any additional techniques for identifying scam sales pitches? Any other thoughts? If you do, please leave a comment.


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Comment by Court
2007-11-09 17:16:32

Good stuff Frank! Just last night I had someone call me and I actually used #1! I then found out that it was just an after service call about my car’s recent repairs. Good questions to ask!

Comment by jfc
2007-11-09 17:47:43

Thanks Court

That’s good that the repair place followed up like that. Few companies do that these days.

2008-08-12 20:47:59

You know I hate these kinds of calls. Few of us have patience for them anymore. But there is one kind of call I participate in if I have the time. I do answer surveys. Why? Because I know the person on the other end of the phone is making minimum wage and the information is actually going to get used for market research.

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