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Scams and schemes: Telemarketers, fake reviewers, Q-ray bracelet (Marketplace)

Scams and schemes: Telemarketers, fake reviewers, Q-ray bracelet (Marketplace)


[ ♪ ] Asha:The calls won’t stop.We are on the
Do Not Call List. –on the Do Not Call List
–Do Not Call List. Asha:
Undercover in Pakistan.
I’m a certified financial
advisor and I’m a teacher. Asha:She’s been
fooling you with fake reviews.
We want you to answer
some questions that we have. I have nothing to say to you. Asha:Plus, this
magic metal bracelet,
a $200 miracle cure?The judge found that this was
a scheme to defraud consumers. Asha:Back on the case
with your Marketplace.
Asha:We’re busting open our
top scams and schemes.
Centre it up a little bit
more, a little bit back to the– your left. Okay, right there. Asha:That’s Suhail,
he’s in Pakistan,
working for us.– Perfect.
– I’m ready. Asha:It’s 2013 and
Tom Harrington’s setting up
an undercover sting.Tom: Here’s your mission… You’re gonna apply for a
job selling Air Duct Cleaning Services to Canadians. Tom: Yes, air ducts. [ ♪ ] Asha:You know,
air ducts, those things that
carry hot and cold airfrom your furnace
through your house.
Sometimes they need cleaning.[ Phone Ringing ] Asha:We want Suhail to get
that job because the people
pushing these cleaning services
have a lot of you venting.
I cannot make
the calls stop. They are harassing us. Do not call here again. [ Phone Ringing ] [ ♪ ] Asha:Heather,
David, and Andrew
had been telling these
telemarketers to stop
calling for more
than two years.
We’re on the
Do Not Call List. You’re not supposed
to be calling me. It is illegal for
you to be calling me. [ Phone Ringing ] Asha:Ottawa’s
Do Not Call List is meant
to stop companies from
calling us at home.
The government is supposed
to find and fine them.
But that list is not working.[ Phone Ringing ] They call sometimes
as frequently as two or three times a day. Asha:David’s
recorded some callers
breaking the rules.[ Psycho Violin Screech ] The CRTC, would you please
figure out a way to track down and put these telemarketing
companies out of business? Asha:Tom heads to
Ottawa to find out why
it isn’t happening.He meets with the
head of enforcement.
Tom: What are
you doing about that? What we’re seeing
now is an influx of telemarketing calls
from offshore. They’re spoofing the
numbers that they’re using. And spoofing is when you don’t
have the number displayed on the dial that is real. And the problem with that for
law enforcement is that it’s very difficult to detect who
those people are and find out where they’re calling from. If we can’t find them,
we can’t act. [ ♪ ] Asha:But we find them
halfway around the world
in Karachi.As night falls,
the telemarketers
are just getting started.[ Car Honking ] Asha:We’ve tracked down a
call centre in this building.
We send in our man, Suhail,
armed with our hidden cameras.
He’s hired on the spot.Man:Can I speak to the
owner of the house?
Asha:Dozens
are at work here.
Suhail hits the
phones right away.
He’s even given a script.That’s his alias.The telemarketers are
told to use fake names.
Hey, that’s the name
of the company that
keeps calling David!Asha:Suhail reaches people
on the Do Not Call List.
It’s clear the trainer
at the call centre
knows there are rules.[ Speaking Alternate Language ] Voice Of Translator:
The Canadian government
maintains a list called the
Do Not Call List, and the
people who police it,
there is a CRTC department.
Asha:But he brags
that the CRTC’s rules
are toothless here.[ Speaking Alternate Language ] Voice of Translator:
There’s no need to be scared.
If someone says
I’ll trace your number,
I’ll do this, or I’ll do
that, they can go and try.
I’ve been here two and a
half years and I’ve never seen
someone report us.They don’t have a company name.They don’t have a
contact number,
and you haven’t met
them in person either,
so they can’t trace you.Asha:Really?We could trace them,
to Karachi.
The company behind the call
centre is Via Connections.
Tom: I’m trying to
reach Via Connections. Yes, my name is
Tom Harrington. I’m calling fromCBC
Marketplace
in Toronto. I’m calling on behalf of
Canadians who want you to stop calling them about
air duct cleaning services. You’re violating the
Do Not Call List in Canada. You can be fined
thousands of dollars. What’s your name? Why are you using fake phone
numbers with your company? Why are you using fake names? Why don’t you just admit that’s
what you’re doing, calling Canadians and hassling them? People on the Do Not Call List
want you to stop. They’ve had it. [ Dial Tone ] Tom: And he’s gone. Asha:Turns out Karachi
is probably the duct cleaning
telemarketer capital
of the world.
We find out there may be
20 call centres here,
all selling duct cleaning.Man:Do you need duct cleaning?Asha:Back in Ottawa,
Tom tells the CRTC
we’ve caught a telemarketer.Tom: We found air duct
cleaning telemarketers in Karachi, Pakistan and they
are calling people on the Do Not Call List in Canada
and it’s actually been going on for years. Why has nothing been happening? Well, if we found them,
we would have taken action. Tom: If we can do it,
why can’t the police or the CRTC do it? [ ♪ ] We can only act on what
we receive as information. Asha:So Tom passes
on the information and
the complaints of Canadians
who want these calls to stop.
In my opinion, the Do Not
Call List is not working at all. Use it or lose that. If you’re the CRTC, how can
you let this keep going on? I just can’t understand
how the CRTC can’t close in on a company like this. I expected the Do Not Call List
would have solved this problem and it hasn’t. Asha:Two years
after our story,
the CRTC issued warning letters
to seven foreign companies.
Via Connections
wasn’t on that list.
And we’re still hearing
from many of you.
You’re telling us,
“These offshore telemarketers
“are back,” and the
Do Not Call List,
“Has no teeth.”[ ♪ ] To let everyone know
about Rain City Maids. Asha:Her testimonials
are all fake.
I’m a certified
financial advisor. Asha:But we’re still
looking for real answers
and how to market
a miracle cure.
It’s good for
people with arthritis, a lot of joint pain. It’s good for
energy and your pain. Asha:This isMarketplace. [ ♪ ] Asha:Don’t trust
everything you see online.
[ ♪ ] Asha:A year ago
I was heading to a stakeout
north of Toronto.Man:Just drive around for
a second and have a look.
Asha:Searching for a
woman who doesn’t want
to be found.Hi, there.
I’m Suzanne. I’ll create a believable
testimonial video for you starting at just ten bucks. Asha:At the time, she
made money by creating
fake testimonials
for businesses,
pretending she’s
a real customer.
Just send me your script of
up to 50 words to work with. Asha:She even
posed as an expert to push
questionable diet supplements.Hi, my name is
Maria J Clifford. I’m a licensed dietitian at
the Kennedy Health Institute in Washington. Asha:Making fake
testimonials like this could
be illegal, but it seems
she’s done thousands of them.
We dropped off this
package at her post office,
hoping to talk to her
when she picked it up.
It was a bit of deception
designed to expose hers.
Hi, there.
My name is Suzanne. Hi, I’m Tessa Daily
of Tampa, Florida. Hey, everyone, it’s Jennifer. Asha:We are still
not sure what her real name is,
but companies all over the
world hired her
to say good thingsabout them, then posted her
reviews on their websites.
To let everyone know
about Rain City Maids. Asha:Like this
maid service in Seattle,
and this private eye
in England.
I suspected for some
time that my husband had been having an affair. Asha:In fact, we once
hired her ourselves.
Hi, there. I just wanted to make this quick
video to tell everyone how much I love eating at Cheezed Off! Asha:Three years
ago, we invented
a phony food truck
called Cheezed Off!,
with its own website,
Facebook page,
and lots of
tricked out photos.
Then we hired people to say
how much they liked our truck
on review sites like Yelp.We showed just
how easy it is
to manufacture
a good reputation,
even for a phony business.I’m here to offer you
a written review for your product or your service. Asha:We found our
reviewers on Fiverr.com.
It offers up hundreds of
people who will say
whatever you want them to.I love getting
lunch at Cheezed Off! Asha:The imposter
goes by the name Sanpan.
She’s a Canadian and was
a top seller on Fiverr,
and she was happy to lie
about our fake truck.
They’re fast,
they’re friendly, and they make the best
grilled cheese sandwich around. Asha: Since that story
first aired, the problem of fake reviews persists. I’m a certified
financial advisor. And I’m a designer.
And I’m a teacher. Asha:And she’s some
sort of expert in a lab coat,
pushing diet supplements.Hi, my name is
Maria J Clifford. Gina Parker.
Jessica Moore. I’m a licensed dietitian at
the Kennedy Health Institute in Washington. At the Herald Institute
here in Washington. Asha:Sanpan’s not alone
in the world of online fakery.
Bell Canadawas busted in 2015
after it created a phone app,
and asked
its own employees
to write glowing
online reviews.
Have you watched
anything on Facebook Live? No. Asha:Podcaster
Scott Stratten noticed Bell’s
wrongdoing, and decided
to write a blog about it.
First comment on that post
from somebody was, who cares? And I said I do,
and you should too. That if we compromise the
ecosystem of trust on the Internet, what do we have? It’s just words. Asha:We wanna know
what Scott thinks of Sanpan.
I’m a certified
financial advisor. Are you? Asha:Now she’s
a financial advisor.
Hello, my name
is Maria J Clifford.I’m a licensed
dietician PhD at the
Kennedy Health Institute
in Washington.
Asha:It’s no joke seeing
Sanpan posing as some
sort of medical expert.This is– this is
my problem, okay? It’s not a commercial
on TV so it’s like this Wild West of online. And then people get scammed
and that’s what makes me upset. Asha: She’s pretending
to be a licensed dietitian. I think now we’re way over. That line has been
really, really crossed. Asha: Is there anything
you would say to her? Please stop. Because we’re at the point
of harm, we really are. Asha:We go back
on Fiverr to ask
Sanpan to make us
another testimonial.
This time for a scarf.Hello, Sanpan. Asha:We’re pretending
to sell hand-knit
accessories online.She agreed,
no questions asked.
Susanne P., that’s how she
wants us to address it. Asha:But we decided
to hand deliver it to
her post office,
and waited outside.
Hours passed.Early the next
morning, she showed up.
Sanpan heads to her car
with package in hand.
Asha: Suzanne,
I would like to have a civil conversation with you
about the testimonials you sell on Fiverr. Asha: We’re with
CBC Marketplace.
The Canadian
Broadcasting Corporation. Asha:But can we get
some answers from you?
We just want
to talk to you!
Sanpan throws out the scarf
we sent her and stays put.
Asha: We’ve seen you claim
to be a licensed dietitian, a certified financial advisor,
an insurance agent. You have no
proof that it’s me. Asha:She denies
she’s Sanpan but defends
the practice of
selling testimonials.
Asha: Can I tell you what
you’re doing is unethical, possibly illegal? Nothing I have done
or anybody I know in that marketplace is doing
anything wrong, okay? They are earning money,
they are doing things, and I have nothing to say–
get that microphone out of my– Asha: You don’t think
what you’re doing is wrong? You don’t think giving
false testimonials… Are you the moral police? Asha: I want to know if
you think that giving false testimonials online,
if that’s not wrong? Get your microphone out of my
car which is private property. Get it out. Asha:And with that,
Sanpan disappears.
Within hours,so does her online offer
to do testimonials.
Guess we’ll never get
that review for our scarf.
Almost a year after
our story airs,
Sanpan’s off Fiverr altogether,
and while her career might
be over, the practice of
deceptive reviews is thriving.
[ ♪ ] Asha:A $200
miracle cure?
Makes the body in
a state of balance, similar to the authentic
ancient theory of chi. I don’t really know
about chi, but… Asha:Scams and
Schemes continues.
This is yourMarketplace. [ ♪ ] Asha:Our Top Scams
and Schemes continues.
[ ♪ ] Asha:It’s showtime!Yeah, I am. Asha:Lights,
cameras, infomercial.
-I’m Dan.
-Hi. -Larry and Carl.
-Hello. Asha:It’s 2007
and this crew is
filming testimonials for
sports jewellery.
Tell me about–
that you’re fit. I’m going to try the QRay
out and see if it makes me even better. Asha:The product?Something called the QRay
Serious Performance Bracelet.
Costs about $200.At this infomercial, we’re
rolling hidden cameras.
We want to know how
they pitch those bracelets
and what makes
them so special.
Asha:But
here’s the thing…
They aren’t supposed to
be saying that on camera.
Okay, one thing, we can’t
talk about pain because we can’t make medical claims. Although we have many, many
people that wear it and it relieves their tendinitis and
arthritis, you know, whatever. Asha:The QRay
bracelet is secretive,
supposedly based on traditional
Chinese medicine
and an ionization process.Narrartor:Designed to naturally
balance negative and positive
energy forces to achieve
a state of chi.
Asha:They’re widely
advertised in North America.
Constant pain,
constant pressure in my face. And back pain that
I didn’t mention. Asha:And promoted by the
company owner Andrew Park.
When your body is
balanced naturally, yin and yang, your pain
also removed at the same time, almost technically in a second. Asha:But those claims don’t
go down well in the US.
In 2007, the Federal
Trade Commission
and a U.S. court
busted the company
for deceptive advertising
and made up science.
QRay’s ordered to repay
millions and to stop making
claims about pain relief.By then, it’s already got a
thriving market in Canada,
becoming very popular
with the golf crowd.
That’s where Wendy Mesley
meets up with…
QRay’s number one
paid spokesperson,
champion golfer
Sandra Post.
Her photo is all over
the Canadian brochures.
It’s really– more a
jewellery item for me. I don’t see any harm in it. Asha:She’s not interested
in hearing that QRay
defrauded people in the U.S.Wendy: I can
show you the ruling. Well, but I know,
I understand that’s the case -you’re trying to make.
-Wendy: No, no. But the case I’m
trying to make– Wendy: Look, this
is a court document. -Wendy, Wendy, Wendy!
-Wendy: It’s a court document. Well, fine, I play golf. And besides the case I’m
trying to make to you is I wear this because I like
it as a jewellery item. I mean, I don’t– why would
I have time to read that? Asha:She may
be too busy.
But this guy should have time.He’s Charles Park,
President of QRay Canada,
son of the company founder.Wendy: Would your
company ever make claims about pain relief in
the QRay bracelet? -No.
-Wendy: Never? No. Wendy: None of
your employees? None of your retailers,
none of your advertising? -Nothing?
-None that I’m aware of, no. Asha:But guess what
our hidden cameras find
when we go shopping?It’s good for
people with arthritis, a lot of joint pain. A lot of people with, like,
arthritis pain, muscle pain. I think for arthritis,
I thought it was for arthritis. Asha:Charles Park
insists his company isn’t
pushing pain relief.-Charles.
-Charles? Yeah. Asha:But look
who’s zeroing in on
that very claim at
the infomercial shoot.
Wendy: When you’re asked what
the bracelet’s for, you said, “What’s really popular for the
bracelet is pain, pain relief.” Well, you have to put this
into context, Ms. Mesley. This– what this was, was a–
this was a non-advertising, non-marketing event. Wendy: No, you were
shooting an informational. Well, let me explain. I mean, I don’t
dispute anything– anything that’s said over there. Do I believe–
do I believe that? Yes. Do we advertise and
market that way? No. Asha:QRay says
part of the bracelet’s
power comes from ionization.Wendy heads to the
University of Toronto
to put that to the test.-Wendy: Hi, Doctor Yip?
-Hi, nice to meet you. Asha:Christopher Yip
is a chemical engineer.
-Wendy: Can I see the lab?
-Yup, welcome to our lab. Wendy: So what
can you show us here? If the QRay is
supposed to be ionized, it means it should
actually be charged.And so one of the
questions might be,
can we actually
see that charge?
-Wendy: Nothing.
-Nothing. Asha:Then he cuts it
open for test number two.
We’re basically bombarding
the sample with electrons, and it doesn’t look like its
holding any charge at all, so… Wendy: Nothing? Nothing. Wendy: So, aren’t you
claiming the bracelet is offering some kind of
ionization performance? What we’re saying is
a bracelet gives a person a unique… It’s a– it improves
a person’s wellness. I believe our bracelet has a
unique process that separates our bracelet from
any other product. Wendy: You’re just not
sure how that works ’cause it’s a secret, is that… Yes. So, what I’m telling you is
my belief is that QRay is based on the
traditional Chinese medicine. Wendy: I think you’re saying
that you personally believe it -can relieve pain.
-Of course. -Wendy: The QRay bracelet?
-I do. Asha:He may believe
it, but QRay’s not
supposed to claim that.And yet, listen
to this employee.
I have people with
arthritis, osteoporosis, carpal tunnel,
migraines, you know, minor back pain. Man:So as a retailer what–
I can say…
You can say
whatever you want, but we can’t make claims
on TV or in print. Wendy: So this is your
sales coordinator telling a potential distributor that… she can’t say pain
relief and QRay, but that he as a
distributor can. She shouldn’t have said that. And for– it just shows me that
I have to get back together with our employees and our
sales staff to make sure that they’re not making these… ..these advertising and
marketing problems. [ ♪ ] Announcer:Say hello to
the able-bodied…
Asha:Since that
story aired, QRay
has rebranded itself,
a wellness bracelet and
jewellery with benefits.It says it works on the
principles of Chinese
acupuncture, which
involves energy.
Announcer:Just like how an
acupuncture needle
has a ground and a
regulator, one end…
Asha:But there’s
no mention of ionization,
and in the end, QRay returned
$12 million to US consumers.
There was no
crackdown in Canada.
[ ♪ ] [ ♪ ] Ever wonder what happens when
your email lands in our inbox? [typing] Oh, hi. I’m calling
from Marketplace.Yeah, she thinks it’s an
accident waiting to happen.
When you hit send,
it sends us in to action. You count on us,
and we count on you, and together,
create change. So help us decide what
to investigate next. Because this is
yourMarketplace.[ ♪ ]

Comments (8)

  1. I am from America, and I found these videos. They are amazing! I wish we had something like this in my country, it is so refreshing to see people exposing corruption and actually doing something, thank you!

  2. How do you even respond back to that? "If we can do it, why can't you or the police do it?" just makes them look so bad lol

  3. Well done CBC for doing these things. I congratulate you guys for doing that.

  4. I hope SANPAN gets recognized globally can't get a job and can't pay her mortgage….crook.

  5. DEAD @ I'm gonna f##k you up. LMAO!!! Kudos to the journalist, Tom, for staying cool and pressing on.

  6. Get Jolly Roger phone service…a robot answers your phone ! Check it out On YouTube it works…and it can be pretty funny.

  7. 2:16 I'm more shocked that in this day and age he still has a rotary spinning phone in use in his home. I didn't even know people still had them or that they even worked anymore. I thought you HAVE to have a touch tone phone to even use the phone service now a days. amazing that they still work in some places. Is this standard practice still in Canada? i'm from the states and I don't think rotary phones work here anymore.

  8. 7:21 "Oh no I'm being politely threatened by a bunch of Canadians, whatever shall I do??"

  9. The fact that that bracelet is based on traditional Chinese medicine should be a clue that it doesn't work.

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