News : Consumers Lose $40B Annually to Telemarketing Scams
Salt Lake City, UT, USA, Jan 17, 2017 -- As advances in telecommunications technology continue to make it easier to dupe the unsuspecting American with phone scams, business processing outsourcing (BPO) fraud is increasingly causing anxiety among U.S. lawmakers, courts, businesses and agencies.
According to a Louis-Harris survey, 92% of U.S. adults report having received a fraudulent telemarketing call. In fact, all told consumers may lose about $40 billion a year through telemarketing scams. Businesses must also beware when choosing the right BPO service for their company.
In the U.S., enforcement of telecommunications fraud law has been difficult as many of these telemarketing scam calls are placed outside of the U.S. Using Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) technology, scammers are easily able to operate from anywhere and mask the origin of their calls. Recent raids in Mumbai, for instance, have uncovered a vast call center racket targeting over 366,000 Americans. Employees of this fake BPO company in India impersonated Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents citing mistakes in their tax returns and threatening jail time if their demands for money were not met. Fraudulent calls from this BPO ring elicited $15.5 million from victims. Authorities believe the call centers in Mumbai may be just a small part of a huge international syndicate.
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"Telemarketing scams are a real concern for those in the BPO industry," says Asad Khan, Founder of ePlanet Communications Inc, a global BPO provider. "BPO providers must offer as much transparency as possible to inspire confidence and ensure clients that their services are fair and reliable. To remain transparent, BPOs should provide the public with information about their organizational structure, commitment to the client, capabilities, investment areas and any other information that will not compromise security."
Ethical companies originally used BPO to cut costs and increase efficiency, but over time BPO has become a necessity to drive revenue, remain competitive, and effectively connect with consumers. Global Industry Analysts, Inc. reported that the BPO industry as a whole is expected to reach $220 billion by 2020. This is in part due to the pressures for businesses to increase their customer satisfaction.
"Businesses who hire a BPO company to do their contact call centers, need to be able to maintain a certain level of trust knowing their customers are being treated fairly and professionally," adds Khan. He mentions that when stories of BPO fraud begin circulating around the business world, the level of trust in legitimate BPO companies is tarnished and it ultimately effects the entire industry. Khan advised consumers, if a caller seems suspicious, the best practice is to hang up and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
"Phone scams can be very sophisticated," says Khan. "Workers are trained to speak with an American accent and are taught persuasion tactics. We need to be sure that instances of fraud are reported to the FTC, in order to reestablish the sense of security in the BPO industry."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About ePlanet Communications:
ePlanet Communications is a global business process outsourcing provider with extensive experience in call center operations, digital media solutions, and direct response solutions. By using its integrated channel management capabilities and highly-trained staff, ePlanet develops and deploys inbound and outbound customer support fully integrated with its clients’ marketing campaigns.
Published: Monday, January 23, 2017
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