By Doug Armey

Pick Pockets by SCRTD Promotions

I got scammed.  Ticked me off!

A guy called me on the phone and told me our long distance provider was changing the way they are billing.  “If you want your bill still consolidated we need to set that up,” he said.

“You’re from my current carrier?” I asked.

“Yes,” he responded.

“I’m telling you right now I’m not switching to someone else.”

“You won’t be,” he said.

“I want to make sure since I’ve had others call trying to get me to change.”

“I understand.”

We setup everything.  Then he gave me an 800 number to call if I had any questions and turned me over to a third party confirmation operator.

This is when I started getting uneasy.  He coached me on how to answer the questions even some that seemed incorrect.  He told me they weren’t applicable.

I’m thinking, “Why is she asking them then?”  Duh, I’m running a little slow at this point.

At the end of the confirmation call the operator said, “You are confirming you are switching service to (name of new company)?”  Then she gave me their phone number and the sales rep ID.

Now I’m really uneasy.  I confirmed with her the name of the company, phone and rep.

After hanging up I called the 800 number.  Disconnected.  So I called the number I had received from the operator and I got someone who was not from my phone company.  I don’t know whether I’m madder at myself or this guy at this point.  Needless to say this wasted a whole lot of time.

I called my phone company and told them what had happened.  We blocked the change and then I called the California Public Utilities Commission and filed a complaint.

This rep has a surprise coming.  He’ll go from having had a good day to having a really bad one.  I thought what a way to make a living.  Everyday he gets up knowing his job is ripping off people.

It reminded me of a passage from the Bible, “But these men lie in wait for their own blood, they ambush their own lives! Such are the ways of all who gain profit unjustly; it takes away the life of those who obtain it!” (Proverbs 1:18-19, NET)

They set out to ambush someone else but fall into their own trap.  They try to catch others but end up destroying themselves.

In contrast the Bible says, “He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest. He is a shield to those who walk with integrity. He guards the paths of the just and protects those who are faithful to him.” (Proverbs 2:7-8, NLT)

As you live in integrity God gives you wisdom, protection and guidance.   You don’t need to scam someone because God is blessing your life.

You may be saying, “But I don’t scam people.  I work in an honest job.”

Probably true.  But people under pressure in their careers can shade the truth sometimes.  Work is competitive.  Good positions can slip away if you don’t out perform someone else.  There’s a temptation to make the sale or slide past the customer complaint.  Sometimes it’s easy to manipulate the truth or not live up to what was promised.  But it ends the same way, trapping you.

How do you steer around this dilemma? It’s a challenge all of us face.

First, make sure you believe in what you are selling, advising, providing or doing. Believe it’s the best for your customers.  If not either figure out how it can be or change jobs.  If you believe in what you’re doing it’s easier to work with integrity.

Second, when you’re asked a question if you don’t know the answer be honest about it. Tell the person you’ll find the answer and then get back to them.  People don’t expect you to be an expert in everything.  But they do value your truthfulness.

Third, if your product or service doesn’t fit or you can’t fulfill what they need tell them. In time they’ll figure it out anyway and if you snowed them they’ll be mad.  If you’re honest up front it gives that person confidence to work with you in the future or refer you to someone else.  At the least you’ll gain their respect and keep your self esteem intact.

And finally, do what’s right even if the other person will never know. The point is you know.  And if you have self respect it gives you confidence to pursue your career with energy which will make a huge difference.

Charles Edward Montague writes, “A lie will easily get you out of a scrape, and yet, strangely and beautifully, rapture possesses you when you have taken the scrape and left out the lie.”

Decide right now, no matter what the circumstances, to walk in integrity.  It’s hard at times but in the long run rewarding in your career, happiness and relationships.

Don’t scam yourself!

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Important Disclosures:

Douglas Armey, the LPL Financial adviser associated with this website, practices in Fresno, California and may discuss and/or transact business only with residents of the following states:  California, Idaho and Oregon.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor prior to investing. All performance reference is historical and is no guarantee of future results.

Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC.  Member of Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC).  For an explanatory brochure please visit www.sipc.org.          www.finra.org

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