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Originally posted at http://troubleshooterjudd.com/scam/scam_knbc.html and reproduced here under the fair use doctrine. © 1999-2003 TroubleShooterJudd.com

LA's KNBC TV CHANNEL 4, SAYS ITS NAME IS BEING MISUSED BY TELEMARKETERS

The NBC TV station in Southern California has put a consumer alert on its web site (NBC4.TV) warning its viewers that a company is using its good name to sell pager services.

KNBC TV says it is not and has never been involved in any promotional giveaway or telemarketing campaign to give away free pagers or pager services.

Telemarketers are using a telephone tape that has a sound alike name that makes the listener think the message is from KNBC or NBC in Los Angeles.

National Voice Communications Inc. of Mesquite, Texas confirmed to me on the phone that the company is running a national campaign to sell its paging and other telephone services. Shelia Powers, a spokesperson for National Voice Communications says the company uses a telemarketing system that calls phone customers across the U.S. and pitches the company's pager services. Powers says some time ago there was some confusion about the message and they worked it out with the FBI, Motorola, and NBC.

KNBC told me there was no agreement worked out with the telemarketing company about the use of the sound alike name. KNBC says they have received complaints from outside Southern California about the misleading message that sounds like it comes from KNBC or NBC TV. This reporter (The Troubleshooter) received one of the telemarketing calls from National Voice Communications Friday November 30, 2001. I listen to the opening tape, and I thought it was a promotional campaign being conducted by KNBC TV in Los Angeles. Why did I think that, because the announcer in the tape said three times that KNBC and NBC were offering a free pager? To me it sounded like KNBC and NBC and since the announcer never said National Voice Communications anywhere in the message there was no way that I would know that he was not saying KNBC but KNVC. The National Voice Communications Inc. spokesperson, Shelia Powers says the announcer was saying NVC not NBC. When I asked her why they did not use the name of the company to make it clear she said she did not know. I asked her why they used the letter "K" in front of NVC. She said one of the names they use for the company is KNVC. I asked what does the K stand for? Powers said she did not know. I asked if the letter "K" had any meaning in the company's name, and she said she had no idea.

When I got my telemarketing call from KNVC I thought it was from KNBC and did as the announcer on the tape said to do, I pressed a number on my keypad. I was then connected to a live person who said he was with Southern Telicom; another name of a company that Powers says belongs to NVC. He also never used the name National Voice Communication Inc. Here is how the telemarketing pitch was presented to me on the morning of November 30, 2001, to the best of my knowledge and recollection.

"HI, I AM CALLING FROM KNBC AND YOUR NAME WAS SELECTED TO RECEIVE A FREE PAGER. THIS IS FROM NBC. IF YOU WANT TO TAKE PART IN THIS FREE PAGER AWARD JUST PUSH ANY NUMBER ON YOUR KEY PAD. KNBC HAS SELECTED YOU FOR THIS FREE PAGER; JUST PUSH ANY NUMBER ON YOUR KEY PAD FOR MORE DETAILS.

After I pressed a number on the keypad I got another employee who said he was calling for Southern Telecom. He asked me if I paid for the phone? If the phone was at a residence? What my address was? At this point I interrupted him and asked if this was a KNBC TV promotion? He ignored my question and continued with his pitch. Then I said, " this is a scam, you are not KNBC TV are you?" He continued with his pitch. "I said I want to speak to your supervisor. Under the law a telemarketer must let me speak to a supervisor if I ask. He said, "Oh-Have a good day." Then he hung up.

I gave the telemarketer two chances to say that he was not representing KNBC TV and he did not clarify that he was working for NVC and not KNBC or NBC in Los Angeles. Remember this conversation comes months after the complaints by KNBC TV and an investigation by the FBI. The NVC Company spokesperson Shelia Powers said she had no idea why the company representative would respond that way to me. She said they would begin an investigation into his actions. She agreed that he had broken the law by not connecting me to a supervisor and hanging up on me. In a KNBC TV news release the broadcast company is asking anyone who may have recorded the sound-a-like pitch or was contacted by the NVC Company using this pitch to contact the NBC Legal Department.

The most unusual part of the statement from NVC is that the company does use the term KNVC and has no knowledge of what the "K" stands for in the name but has been using it for a long time. Powers indicated that the company did not plan to change this sound-a-like pitch. This is my advice. When dealing with telemarketers always ask them for a call back phone number and to send you literature on their company or charity. A legitimate organization or company will welcome the opportunity. Do not give them any financial information; such as a check number and your back account number or Social Security Number. Remember telemarketers are under "No Oath To Tell the Truth." To most of the telemarketers I have known, the "truth" is what ever will work at the time.

For more information contact NBC4.


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