Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Confessions of a scammer

Tuesday October 5, 2010
Confessions of a scammer
Reports by STEVEN DANIEL, DESIREE TRESA GASPER, AUSTIN CAMOENS, IVAN LOH, JOSHUA FOONG and JOSEPH LOH

KUALA LUMPUR: Some scratch-and-win companies are already getting their salespersons to hit the road and push Chinese New Year packages, a former worker with one such firm said.

Tze Meng (not his real name) also told The Star how he first became involved in the trade and how such companies operated.

He said he started off when he answered an advertisement for a sales job in a Chinese daily.

“The returns or commissions are good; sometimes we get up to 25% of whatever sales we manage from those who supposedly won the scratch and win or draw.

“If we bring in 25 customers, we get at least RM3,000 and this can be achieved within three days.”

Tze Meng revealed that most of the salesmen were from the rural areas, who were naive and thought they could hit the sales target by working hard.

During orientation, Tze Meng said the manager would teach the new recruits how to convince customers to buy their products.

“The ‘lecturer’ made it seem easy to make thousands of ringgit and said everything was legal.

“We were handed 20 cards – 10 with prizes and the others with the words ‘Thank You’ on it,” he added.

Tze Meng said they would be taken to locations such as a shopping complexes, bus terminals, LRT stations, hypermarkets and sometimes outside banks.

“We were taught how to target our customers. If a person is young and we think that they do not have the money then we offer them the ‘Thank You’ card to scratch.

“If the person is older and looks well off, we use the cards that offer prizes like electrical items, energy water system, home theatre system or digital stove worth between RM4,000 and RM5,000,” he added.

Tze Meng said the winner would be brought to the office where a supervisor would give a briefing about the “other prizes” he or she could win; and how much to fork out to redeem them.

They would also be lured into believing they could win a Toyota Altis, Persona, Perodua Viva, 42-inch Plasma TV, LCD TV, Honda motorcycle, refrigerator and video camera.

Before that, the victims would be asked to fill up an agreement form.

“The fine print states that the victims bought the items voluntarily.

“The goods bought were also not returnable,” he added.

However, in most cases, the lucrative prizes never materialised and the customers ended up owning a cheap mattress after forking out thousands.

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