free_moneyThis is kind of dumb, but so weird and annoying I felt the need to share it.

As I’ve mentioned previously, I spend a lot of time driving and listening to the radio these days. Recently, I’ve noticed some oddly-related ads on certain stations that I’ll attempt to describe.

Individually, these ads are nothing out of the ordinary. One is for tax relief, another is for financial help for student loans, another is for “anyone without health insurance”, and so on.

The thing that makes them weird is that they all use the same basic script. They’re intended to sound like they’re for non-related companies and organizations, but they all follow the same template and use identical language. In short, it really seems like some kind of weird scam where someone’s created a bunch of fake “front” organizations to pimp whatever it is they’re selling.

All of them target listeners in various states of financial need. They each start off with an urgent message, like:

“Attention taxpayers! If you’ve received a notice from the IRS or state, do not ignore it!”

or:

“This is an important announcement for anyone with a student loan who is having trouble making their monthly payments.”

or:

“This is an important announcement for all Americans who don’t have health insurance.”

Each of them then dramatically emphasizes the immediate danger you’re in if you identify with the opening statement. For example,

“If you owe back taxes, it’s a fact: the government has the power to take everything you own – including your home, business, wages, savings, and your freedom.”

Fortunately, dear listener, a national toll-free hotline has been set up especially for you. The ads go on to explain that you absolutely must call this special hotline for “free information” that will help you resolve your financial troubles.

That’s where these get especially weird. The names of the organizations and the phone numbers are different, but the language is basically the same. They all say:

“Take down this number, or store it in your cell phone!”

“When you call, you’ll receive FREE information.
FREE information about [insert important offer here]!”

They all generally follow the same awkwardly-written script, with certain parts matching exactly or very closely. They’re clearly from the same template, and whoever’s behind these didn’t try hard enough to make them seem unrelated to the casual listener.

It doesn’t help them that these ads are often aired back-to-back, sometimes even three in a row – which makes them seem extra creepy. There are only three or four different announcers, but combined they cover a bunch of these different fake organizations. Sometimes, two ads for the “Health Insurance Hotline” air one after the other, with different announcers and phone numbers.

I don’t know if anyone reading this has heard these on the radio, but as demonstrated above they’re pretty annoying once you realize it’s some kind of scam – or, at best, intentionally misleading. These recordings are from last week, but over the past six months I’ve also heard other ads from this same group for free money to supplement your social security income with and a couple of other things.

I haven’t taken the time to look into who is behind these, but plan to do so. Does anyone care to speculate on what this is all about?