A wake-up call: help consumers avoid scammers | ACMA


17 June, 2013 02:54 PM


A wake-up call: help consumers avoid scammers

By Editor


It’s National Consumer Fraud Week, which is held to educate and advise consumers on how to outsmart scammers. But it’s also worth considering what reputable businesses can do to help people identify the difference between a scam call and legitimate telemarketing call.

This is important because the most common way scammers contact Australians is still by phone. Consumers should rightly be cautious about every unsolicited phone call they receive.  

So, how can you reassure consumers that your telemarketing call is genuine?

Follow the rules

Most scammers don’t play by the rules—they call numbers listed on the Do Not Call Register, ignore industry standard calling times and avoid using calling line identification (CLI). Smart consumers who receive a call from a ‘telemarketer’ that breaks one or more of these rules usually hang up immediately. 

So check your call lists against the register before every campaign to make sure you’re not calling any listed numbers. If you do call numbers listed on the register on the basis of consent, then make that clear when you call and remove consumers on request. 

Identify yourself

Legitimate businesses want consumers to know who they are. Make sure all your telemarketing scripts include a clear identification process and a real CLI linked to your business so consumers can contact you. If you use a call centre, make sure its staff also follow the Do Not Call rules, including identifying themselves if asked.

Fill the VoIP void

Voice over internet protocol (VoIP) has enabled telemarketing to become a global industry, with international calls available at little cost. Scammers also love VoIP—it lets them mount large-scale scams from and to any country at little or no cost. It also allows them to mask their numbers and location, making detection difficult. 

So, it makes sense for you to do the opposite. If you or your contracted call centre uses VoIP for telemarketing, include suitable CLI so that consumers can identify your business and contact you. Savvy consumers know about CLI—so if it’s absent, they may assume an unsolicited call is not legitimate.