A public service message, be sceptical
The days of the public service messages are long ago now it seems, but I still hold them as fond memories. It took me a while to find my favourite one today but I finally found Freddie the Fraud. Freddie was a construct of the better business bureau the tag line on all of their advertisements was when someone offer you something for nothing a bell should go off a deal that is to good to be true usually isn’t. The actor that did the commercials was very good he ran the lines that were used by real con artist and you would have believed this guys. The better business bureau offer a service that if you had doubts about a service provide they would help you, I don’t know what happened to this service or if it still is a functioning organisation but I thought it would be a good idea to write a little something about how not to get ripped off.
Freddie the Fraud, was a likeable character, he was a great Marketeer, but the BBB blew the whistle on these practices way back in the 1960’s if the deal sounds to good to be true it isn’t! But when I go back and look at these commercial what I now see is standard marketing practice today! Everybody wants something for nothing or as little as possible and if you can’t make your offer grab my attention then you are not going to get my business. Every year I see more and more businesses making claims that don’t stand up. I see more businesses employee the man in the white coat as an expert that proves that if you only buy organic at twice the price you will live long. Every year con artist victimise more and more people they target the weak, sick or just plain old broke the more desperate the better.
So before you buy anything from anyone, ask a few good questions of yourself and ask a few good questions about the seller.
Am I in a desperate market? If you can sense that the market you are in may be vulnerable think twice before buying any solution and ask for advise from a sceptic, someone not in the same situation as yourself. Secondly ask yourself is this a faith healer market? High unemployment in Ireland has lead to far more career coaches, yet using a career coach is just as effective now as it was during the high of employment. What that means is that career coaches have little effect on the likelihood of employment. Would I have bought into this idea if I had not been unemployed?
If you are unwell you might buy into alternative medicine, but not if conventional medicine was to offer you a satisfactory solution. The level of desperation has a direct effect on the level of deviation from your normal mode of operation and therefore the likelihood that someone will be there to take advantage of you.
Freddie freaked me out as a kid; I liked him so he was the most effective scare technique for me. All of the other public service messages were this weirdo hanging around the boy toilets in a dark overcoat in midsummer. Freddie was trustworthy he was on our side. I spent a great deal of my life thinking that I could spot the con artist and although I have spotted a few in my time I am only good at spotting ones particular type. Those people that can’t empathise might be offering a great product or service I just am unlikely to buy from them because they aren’t working with me. The guy that I am frightened of is the more ruthless the person that can feel my pain and uses it to their advantage.
So what can you do, I suggest that everyone is sceptical that you get referees for everyone that you buy from and not just any referees people you know. The con artist always has references in abundance. Widened your network, if you are in business you need a wide network of people you can trust the longer the relationship the better so network with as many people as you can commit to networking with. Lastly whenever you get ripped off let everyone you know, know! Tweet it, Blog it, Put I have been ripped off on Facebook. Let everyone know that it happened to you.
There are far to many people being ripped off every day by con artist in business, it is happening because far to many of us are vulnerable at the moment and we need to stand together if we are going to survive.