Dialing for Dollars: Opportunities, Justifications, and Telemarketing Fraud
Purchase on Springer.com
$39.95 / €34.95 / £29.95*
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.
Opportunities for deviant economic exploitation grew significantly in the second half of the twentieth century. Drawing from interviews with forty-seven fraudulent telemarketers, this article describes the backgrounds and pursuits of one type of deviant actor that has stepped forward to exploit these opportunities. The men and women interviewed for this research were reared in middle-class, disproportionately managerial and entrepreneurial families. Their class and family backgrounds provided them with high, but ill-defined, expectations for material success. Their preparation for successful conventional careers was unremarkable. As a result, they were predisposed to economic activities that required few credentials but provided a high income. Once involved in and aware of the deviant nature of their endeavors, continuation in fraud was facilitated by the income it produced and the lifestyle it permitted, by self-definitions enhanced by their manipulative abilities, and by acquisition and use of a vocabulary of motive that deflected blame. An augmented version of sociological strain theory provides an analytic vantage point from which to examine the backgrounds, aspirations, and perspectives of those involved in fraudulent telemarketing.
Supplementary Material (0)
- Agnew, R. (2000). Sources of criminality: Strain and subcultural theories. In J. F. Sheley (Ed.), Criminology: A contemporary handbook, 3rd edition (pp. 349-371). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
- Atlanta Journal-Constitution (2000). Alleged scam on elderly by telemarketers is revealed. September 6, B3.
- Australian Broadcasting Corporation (2001). Beyond the boiler room. September 24. www.abc.net.au/4corners/.
- Barnett, H. (1979). Wealth, crime, and capital accumulation. In D. F. Greenberg (Ed.), Crime and capitalism: Readings in Marxist criminology (pp. 182-188). Palo Alto, CA: Mayfield.
- Barron, M. (1974). The criminogenic society: Social values and deviance. In A. Blumberg (Ed.), Current perspectives on criminal behavior (pp. 68-86). New York: Knopf.
- Benson, M. L. (1985). Denying the guilty mind: Accounting for involvement in white-collar crime. Criminology, 23, 589-599.
- Benson, M. L., & Moore, E. (1992). Are white-collar and common criminals the same? Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 29, 251-272.
- Blum, R. (1972). Deceivers and deceived. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas.
- Clinard, M. (Ed.) (1964). Anomie and deviant behavior: A discussion and critique. New York: Free Press.
- Direct Marketing Association (2001). www.the-dma.org.
- Doocy, J., Shichor, D., Sechrest, D., & Geis, G. (2001). Telemarketing fraud: Who are the tricksters and what makes them trick? Securities Journal, 14, 7-26.
- Fleck, C. (2003). Going, going, gone. AARP Bulletin, June, 24.
- Francis, D. (1988). Contrepreneurs. New York: Macmillan.
- Goode, E. (2002). Deviance in everyday life. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland.
- Grabosky, P. N., Smith, R. G., & Dempsey, G. (2001). Electronic theft: Unlawful acquisition in cyberspace. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Hagan, F., & Benekos, P. (1992). What Charles Keating and “Murf the Surf” have in common: A symbiosis of professional and occupational and corporate crime. Criminal Organizations, 7, 3-27.
- Jackall, R. (1988). Moral mazes: The world of corporate managers. New York: Oxford University Press.
- Katz, J. (1988). Seductions of crime: Moral and sensual attractions in doing evil. New York: Basic Books.
- Lyman, S. M., & Scott, M. B. (1970). A sociology of the absurd. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.
- Maurer, D. W. (1940). The big con. New York: Bobbs-Merrill.
- Maurer, D. W. (1974). The American confidence man. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas.
- Merton, R. K. (1938). Social structure and anomie. American Sociological Review, 3, 672-682.
- Messner, S. F., & Rosenfeld, R. (2000). Crime and the American dream, 3rd edition. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
- Messner, S. F., & Rosenfeld, R. (2001). An institutional-anomie theory of crime. In R. Paternoster & B. Bachman (Eds.), Explaining criminals and crime (pp. 151-160). Los Angeles: Roxbury.
- Mills, C. W. (1940). Situated actions and vocabularies of motive. American Sociological Review, 5, 904-913.
- Passas, N. (1990). Anomie and corporate deviance. Contemporary Crisis, 14, 157-178.
- Rebovich, D., & Layne, J. (2000). The national public survey on white collar crime. Washington, DC: National White Collar Crime Center.
- Richards, L. (1999). Using NVivo in qualitative research. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
- Rothman, M., & Gandossy, R. F. (1982). Sad tales: The accounts of white-collar defendants and the decision to sanction. Pacific Sociological Review, 4, 449-473.
- Sanger, D. (1999). Confessions of a phone-scam artist. Saturday Night, 114, 86-98.
- Schulte, F. (1995). Fleeced! Telemarketing rip-offs and how to avoid them. New York: Prometheus.
- Scott, M. B., & Lyman, S. M. (1968). Accounts. American Sociological Review, 33, 46-62.
- Shover, N. (1996). Great pretenders: Pursuits and careers of persistent thieves. Boulder, CO: Westview.
- Sparrow, M. K. (1996). License to steal: Why fraud plagues America's health care system. Boulder, CO: Westview.
- Stephens, G. (2002). Crime in cyberspace. In B. Jacobs (Ed.), Investigating deviance (pp. 307-312). Los Angeles: Roxbury.
- Stevenson, R. J. (2000). The boiler room and other telephone sales scams. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
- Sykes, G., & Matza, D. (1957). Techniques of neutralization: A theory of delinquency. American Sociological Review, 22, 667-670.
- Taylor, I. (1999). Crime in context: A critical criminology of market societies. Boulder, CO: Westview.
- Taylor, I., Walton, P., & Young, J. (1973). The new criminology. New York: Harper and Row.
- Tillman, R. (1998). Broken promises: Fraud by small business health insurers. Boston: Northeastern University Press.
- Titus, R. (2001). Personal fraud and its victims. In N. Shover & J. P. Wright (Eds.), Crimes of privilege: Readings in white-collar crime (pp. 57-67). New York: Oxford University Press.
- Titus, R. M., Heinzelmann, F., & Boyle, J. M. (1995). Victimization of persons by fraud. Crime and Delinquency, 41, 54-72.
- Ulick, J. (2003). The dark side of the Internet. Newsweek, March 17, E5.
- U.S. Congress, Senate (1993). Telemarketing fraud and S. 568, The Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Protection Act. Hearing before the Subcommittee on Consumers of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, 103rd Congress, 1st session. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
- Vold, G., & Bernard, T. (1986). Theoretical criminology, 3rd edition. New York: Oxford University Press.
- Weisburd, D., Chayet, E. F., & Waring, E. (2001). White-collar crime and criminal careers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
About this Article
- Dialing for Dollars: Opportunities, Justifications, and Telemarketing Fraud
Volume 27, Issue 1 , pp 59-75
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Kluwer Academic Publishers-Plenum Publishers
- Additional Links
- telemarketing fraud
- deviant economic exploitation