Wednesday, 7 October 2009

When Marketing Turns to the Dark Side

This week I got a text message that said:

FREEMSG: Our records indicate you may be entitled to 3750 pounds for the Accident you had. To claim for free reply with YES to this msg. To opt out text STOP.

So my first question to myself was, "If I text STOP, will they do so?" I thought, on balance, not. They'd already lied to me. I haven't had an accident (let alone an Accident) and I'm not on their records, unless you count them gleaning my number from somewhere public. So, their records can't show I've had an accident so that's lie number one. Would they charge me if I texted STOP? It doesn't say, so I suspect the answer is yes.
Would they charge me if I text YES? They say not, but I'm guessing that they would. All we know about them is that they are liars.

Another question was , "Shall I forward this to my friend Dave in the Met's Fraud Office?" I wonder if the police can do anything about scammers who earn £1 or £5 or who knows how much, by sending out mass texts.

Question number three is, "How many idiots are there in the world who would text back YES in the hope of being awarded 3750 of our British pounds for an accident they haven't had?" Enough to run a company? Or are they hoping to make money from the decent people out there who next STOP in order to prevent the scammers from trying again.

I've had cold calls from people offering to help me claim for "the accident I had recently", from companies who ignore the telephone preference service list that restricts my number. They try to talk me into "remembering" that I have had an accident. If not me, then perhaps a family member has had one, they suggest. A former neighbour spotted a dent in my vintage Saab (done by a large tattooed man wearing a vest and driving a truck) and told me he could get me £3500 compensation for my injury. "But I wasn't in it at the time." I said. "You just say you were," he told me. He said it was a "Win win." For him perhaps. Not for all of us who pay monthly to insure our cars, it's not. Not for me either, because even if I'd had the extra £3500 in the bank, I'd know that I'd stolen it and that would make me feel guilty and hence miserable.

It's calls, conversations and texts like this that tempt us to believe that business is all run by money-grabbing charlatans and marketed by crooks. But it's not. There are many of us out there doing business and being fair, working for organisations we're proud of, Let's not allow the scam artistes to take over marketing. By all means make a profit - how else are you to stay in business and pay the bills? - but let's be fair and honest and hold our heads up high. It's time to reclaim marketing for decent people. If you've got good examples, let me know. In the meantime, I'll report on the ones I spot, on the dark side and the bright, with the occasionally merely murky one along the way.

1 comment:

  1. I've received a text too!! and in the past months have had an accident!! - which immediately led me to believe that the Nhs records were being stolen? but no, it's just another scam!! So I deleted the message immediately - hope others do the same.