Wednesday, January 05, 2011
Last week, I got a call from a telemarketing executive (I continue to get these calls, though I am registered for DNC), which left me dumbfounded. After registering around 2 years back, some calls were reduced, but I receive them nonetheless. There is no time in office to attend my personal calls many times, and when unknown numbers flash on my mobile, I think twice before picking up. Sometimes I ignore, but at other times, I pick it thinking it may be regarding some important matter. Many times when I make the mistake of speaking to an un-saved number, I've faced the consequences. Though, many times I feel like telling the telemarketing people that I am registered for DNC (which can translate into a fine for their company), but I let it go pitying the execs trying to meet their targets !
Everything is sold on phone these days. While some companies and even small entities advertise through sms. When you're targeted to be sold a credit card, insurance or even admissions for MBA and other courses, and are respected after saying 'No, not interested' by a 'Thanks' and disconnecting the line, its well and good. But there are many, who call with wierd accents and insist on knowing reasons, by their further comments like 'lekin kyon?', 'kya wajah hai?', 'arre sun toh lo, sunne main kya jaata hai', you feel like travelling through the airwaves and slapping the person on the other side. But you have to keep your cool.
Now coming back to the call I received last week. This started with the usual make-feel-good sentence, 'Aapka number select hua hai hamare ek special offer ke liye'. I told him I wasn't interested in any offer. But he went on to state that he's calling from Idea Cellular and said that in the special offer, I am entitled to 2/3 free SIM cards. (I fail to understand what an individual will do with 2-3 free SIM cards, as company isn't going to charge for one SIM anyways!). Till here it seemed like a normal call from a phone service provider to sell their product. Before I could say anything, he went blah blah blah stating that the offer is specially for our bank employees. I told him that wasn't keen on changing my services. But he said something more on the same lines, about 3 SIMs being a special offer for our Bank employees only, especially since I was in a particular position. Then he asked (rather told me, as if flaunting his knowledge) I worked in so-n-so bank. And continued to tell me that my previous employer was so-n-so. I was taken aback, but then thought he might have got my reference through some known person or it was a prank by some colleague / friend. I asked him what I'd do with so many SIM cards. He said in a commanding tone that I can give the remaining SIM cards to my family members. Before, I could say 'No' again, he completed his sentence by stating whether he should come down to meet me for the new mobile connection.
I asked him, out of curiosity, how he had all my employer/s details, to which he retorted in a proud tone that they had ways of finding out. And continued in his agressive manner that he even knew my home address. Then he went on to read it out. And again insisted whether he should come and meet me. I was shocked! The call seemed more like a threatening call than a marketing one! I had to state in a firm tone that I was not interested. His tone gave an impression that any negative remarks from me would result in his coming to my office / home and causing harm to me!
I was still disturbed a bit as I reached home. Then at home, while watching 'Taarak Mehta ka Ulta Chashma' on TV, a similar episode was going on, wherein a credit card company sells cards to some unsuspecting ladies without any reference checks, then slaps them a bill with high hidden charges. When they refuse to pay, the person who'd sold the card, indirectly threatens the ladies with comments that he knows which school their kids go to, where so-n-so's husband might be at present and so on.... It reminded me of the call I'd received. I told my family about it. My sister was right when she said that the person might have got my details from a job site. But definately, the agressive tone wasn't called for!
I had the caller's number, but in my busy schedule and several other calls, the number is jumbled with the others. Else, I'd have officially complaint to Idea Cellular, with the number as proof. They can keep they silly ideas to themselves! Though their ads are innovative with a social message, I wasn't amused with the marketing gimmick!!!
Since that day, I've been wondering, how unsuspectedly, we expose ourselves (our privacy and security) through these job sites, which serve like an open book to crooks, with all our details. It is through these sites that email IDs are picked by 'phishing' sites for fishy offers. And our phone numbers and other details are picked for bulk 'ad smses'. And from these very sites, an oversmart tele-exec makes an irritating call (without checking for DNC registration)!