Scammers Love On Hold Messages

“Come on, do on hold messages really work? Sounds too good to be true!” We hear this from prospects from time to time and when we do, we share this story with them.

About a decade ago, a male contacted us looking for an on hold production for his phone system. With no reason to suspect he wasn’t running a genuine business, we supplied him with our service after he’d paid for the first three months on his credit card. Then things went awry.

The bank declined the second credit card payment. Our original contact wouldn’t take our calls and requests for payment went unheeded. Then, a short time later, we realised we’d been scammed.

Of course, every business is at risk of falling victim to scammers e.g. Nigerian ink-marked banknotes, outstanding tax bills payable by iTunes cards etc. But this scammer merely wanted our tried and tested services to convince other potential patsies that he was running a legitimate business.

He had convinced a number of businesses (hotels, limousine hire companies, restaurants etc.) that he was going to use and market their services to his “clients”. He’d hit them up for free rooms/cars/meals under the guise of research but he realised that he needed to sound established and professional when those people called his fake “office” if he was to glean ongoing freebies from them.

That’s where we came into the equation. When he spoke to those business owners, they would often be placed on hold and would hear slick sounding messages (sometimes promoting their business) which impressed and reassured them. Immediately, the scammer instilled confidence in the poor businesses being taken for a ride—a level of confidence they wouldn’t have gained by listening to elevator music or FM radio.

Once we worked out what was going on, and realised we weren’t going to get our equipment back, we contacted all of the businesses mentioned in the production and gave them the heads-up. At first, they were hesitant to believe us. “No, he’s such a nice guy!” “He bought our office girls flowers.” But when they delved deeper, they realised they’d been duped, just like we had been.

Every year we still receive calls from a dozen or so no-gooders wanting Messages On Hold to give callers the impression they operate a reputable, sizeable, and legitimate business. Unfortunately for them, we’re awake to the ruse.

When it comes to reinforcing your brand values and assuring callers that you’re a strong, successful organisation, on hold messages are a no-brainer. Just ask the scammers!