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View Full Version : Honestly, who still does telephone scams?



LOG
09-15-2011, 09:39 PM
Someone just called my grandfather and told him I was fishing down in Mexico and got into some strange waters.
In the time it took for all of this to be told to my grandfather, he was fairly suspicious:
a) I have absolutely no reason to travel to Mexico, and even if I did it wouldn't be easy or quick because I'm in Minnesota.
b) I dislike fishing.
c) When my grandfather doubted him, the caller hung up pretty quick (and it was a person, not a recording).

But still, to be safe, my grandfather then called my mother to find out where I was (no idea why he didn't call me instead >.>). She called me and told me all of this. Apparently the scenario bears a similarity to an e-mail scam my mother got forwarded from her cousin about a year ago.

So yeah, no idea who this person was, but they have officially annoyed me by causing my family to worry over me.
(I suspect they got their info from my grandfather, who is endlessly forwarding chain e-mails to everyone he knows . . . I just don't open them and hope he never asks me about them.)

Snitchcat
09-15-2011, 10:19 PM
Plenty of conartists try the telephone scam because it's easy to fool a lot of people.

Some of the more popular ones around here include insurance, bank account problems (they ask for your card number and PIN), fake a kidnapping, pretend to be a distant relative, insist you owe them money, and so on.

These scammers target either the very old, or the very young -- both age groups tend to be less knowledgeable, or not as quick on the ball about such things. Although, that said, there are plenty who're quick-thinkers who have fallen for these cons. They're set up well. And very realistic.

After introducing himself, the caller tried the, "you owe me money" scam on my uncle. He turned around and said, "Oh, my old friend [name]! I was hoping you'd call. You owe me [x] amount and today's the deadline! How were you going to pay?"

Caller couldn't hang up fast enough. Heh.

writerterri
09-15-2011, 10:59 PM
Hey, pppppst. Your mom and dad are in jail in Honduras and are in need of bail. They said they are really thirsty so hurry.


My paypal account is


x-actomaster@gmail.com



One time I played along with an email scam and sent my address to them after corresponding for a few days.

Youaint Gitinnothin
12345 Youresostupid Way
Hollweird CA. 90027


He was so pissed. I was actually afraid of retaliation.

LOG
09-16-2011, 12:05 AM
He was so pissed. I was actually afraid of retaliation.
I guess he couldn't take his own medicine :P

Maryn
09-16-2011, 01:20 AM
Phone scams are still pretty common, and some of the scammers are really good.

Doesn't anyone else get the calls "about your credit card--there's not a problem, but we need to confirm information" despite being on the Do Not Call registry, and when you press them for information, they hang up on you? My state senator got one of these when he was in a meeting which included President Obama--who says he gets them, too.

Apparently the scam in the basic form of the one you got, LOG, about a relative being away from home and in need of money or the use of a relative's credit card, is pretty common and successful enough to be worth the risk. A month or two ago there was a story in my local news about a grandfather who wired two grand to the UK for his grandson--who was right where he belonged, in the US--because the story was so plausible and its teller so convincing.

Another phone scam I get, slowing down but still alive, is legitimate organizations (the number they're calling from is the real deal), usually religious or politically conservative in nature, calling to ask to speak to Mrs. MyRealLastName. Since that's me, I say, "Speaking." They are very polite about asking me to back up the money I pledged to their cause, usually $50 to $100, during some recent funding event or drive.

At that point it's clear to me that they don't want me at all, but my mother-in-law, who's also Mrs. MyRealLastName, and who probably did give to their cause at some point in her later years. However, she's been dead nearly ten years, and she sure as hell didn't pledge them anything. It's just unconscionable to me that these organizations lie outright, and seem to target the elderly.

Maryn, all worked up

cscarlet
09-16-2011, 01:44 AM
Doesn't anyone else get the calls "about your credit card--there's not a problem, but we need to confirm information" despite being on the Do Not Call registry,

Another phone scam I get, slowing down but still alive, is legitimate organizations (the number they're calling from is the real deal), usually religious or politically conservative in nature, calling to ask to speak to Mrs. MyRealLastName. Since that's me, I say, "Speaking." They are very polite about asking me to back up the money I pledged to their cause, usually $50 to $100, during some recent funding event or drive.

I get both of these phone calls on a regular basis. It's quite annoying. Unfortunately, people stll fall for them.

My husband's grandmother I believe gave her credit card number to someone a while back who said they needed it for her Medicare records. Then it was hard to clean up the mess because she didn't really understand what had happened.

Such awful people out there.

benbradley
09-16-2011, 03:28 AM
Someone just called my grandfather and told him I was fishing down in Mexico and got into some strange waters.
In the time it took for all of this to be told to my grandfather, he was fairly suspicious:
a) I have absolutely no reason to travel to Mexico, and even if I did it wouldn't be easy or quick because I'm in Minnesota.
b) I dislike fishing.
c) When my grandfather doubted him, the caller hung up pretty quick (and it was a person, not a recording).

But still, to be safe, my grandfather then called my mother to find out where I was (no idea why he didn't call me instead >.>). She called me and told me all of this. Apparently the scenario bears a similarity to an e-mail scam my mother got forwarded from her cousin about a year ago.

So yeah, no idea who this person was, but they have officially annoyed me by causing my family to worry over me.
(I suspect they got their info from my grandfather, who is endlessly forwarding chain e-mails to everyone he knows . . . I just don't open them and hope he never asks me about them.)
These happen over the phone, in email ("I'm stuck in London, lost my wallet!"), and probably on sites such as Facebook. I hear about them regularly on Clark Howard's radio show:
http://clarkhoward.com

It doesn't matter what the communication medium is (actually, chain-mail through snail mail has disappeared since it's virtually or literally free to spam thousands to millions of "marks" through email, and it's not worth the price of a stamp for such a low rate of return), scams will always happen.


Phone scams are still pretty common, and some of the scammers are really good.
...
Another phone scam I get, slowing down but still alive, is legitimate organizations (the number they're calling from is the real deal),
Don't rely on Caller ID!!! I understand that's easy to fake.

usually religious or politically conservative in nature, calling to ask to speak to Mrs. MyRealLastName. Since that's me, I say, "Speaking." They are very polite about asking me to back up the money I pledged to their cause, usually $50 to $100, during some recent funding event or drive.I've not heard of that one. The fact that they claim to be a legitimate organization is interesting. I'd want to investigate further, and maybe post on Clark Howard's board (even though there's lots of snark in the forums, apparently because the mods don't know how to moderate ).

Do you remember the names of these organizations? Here's a suggestion: Call the organization (use the number in the phone book or Google the name and use the number on the legitimate website) and ask if they've called you about some pledge (or play innocent - "I'm calling about my pledge, but I forget the amount I pledged, could you look it up for me?"). If the actual organization is "making up" pledges they're asking people to make good on, I'd think that would be breaking some law, and your local police or state attorney general might be interested. If the organization has no record of you pledging, they'll sure want to know someone else is scamming using their good name, and THEY will beg/bug the police to talk to you for a report.

DeleyanLee
09-16-2011, 03:36 AM
FWIW, AARP just did a big write-up (yes, I'm that old) on this very thing just a month or so ago warning members. It's scarily effective since most older baby boomers aren't as savvy as the younger ones. It's been a big concern for some time.

Good for your grandfather for the suspicions.

Jersey Chick
09-16-2011, 03:44 AM
They call us and get my spiel: "I don't commit to anything over the phone, but if you send me some literature, I'll be happy to look it over and get back to you." That's when the scammer usually hangs up on me.

The ones that really piss me off are the ones claiming to be either for vets (my dad is one) or for police officers (our local department makes it clear they do NOT solicit via phone.) I'd like to poke those a-holes with really. sharp. sticks.

As for the email ones, they get deleted, unread. Kind of like the chain emails my husband's cousin insists on forwarding to me.

Snitchcat
09-16-2011, 11:01 AM
The telephone is sometimes (most of the time?) the preferred method for scams because you can't always tell if the person calling you is really someone you know or not. People can sound so alike. It's also a psychological thing, too: using the unknown to scare the target. To some degree, everyone fears what they don't know.

Haven't come across the scam version of the credit card one, but have encountered idiotic bank telesales saying, "please confirm your credit card number" and they mark you down as having applied for a loan (which they conveniently didn't tell you about).

That was irritating. Luckily, I had another call come in that I had to take, so cut off the telesales. The bank's system had someone who knew what they were doing call me back a while later. I voided the "application" on the spot. The next day, went into the local branch and cancelled all my accounts with that bank. When the manager came out to ask why, I told them their telesales had just tried to scam me into taking out a loan.

The "in person" version, however, can do quite a number, too: person (whatever age) walks up to you and says they're lost and don't have enough money for a taxi home, please lend them some. (Note that this person is dressed very well, and doesn't look lost at all.)

Or you're going through customs and someone says, "I don't know how to fill in this form; please can I copy yours?" The conartist then proceeds to go through customs, as if they really are going, then disappears back to base. Or, if their base really is over the border, they fill in another form with their actual (false) details, and go. ID theft, anyone?

These conartists really have nothing better to do? Or some are just malicious and some just haven't a clue? Either way, in person, or over the phone, these people are irritating! (But very good entertainment and character studies! Muwahahaha!)

bettielee
09-16-2011, 11:24 AM
yes! My friend is Mexican and has relatives in Mexico. Someone called and she wasn't sure who it was, but they spoke to her like they knew her. She was like "Is this Blacky?" (her cousin) and the guy rolled with it and talked to her about sending her some money and asking her to help him get a bank account in the US since he was moving here. She hung up with him (he was going to call back in a few minutes) and she got suspicious. She called someone else in her family and found out Blacky was Australia!! The guy called back and her husband hung up on him. THEN the guy calls back and yells at her husband for hanging up on him and talkin' all kinds of crap! They reported the call to the police and they did like a search thing since the guy actually threatened her husband.

Creepy as hell.

areteus
09-16-2011, 12:47 PM
We don't get them as bad as this over here. I think there are stricter regulations (worst we get are the recorded autodialler messages which are clearly American in origin because they a) happen at 4 in the effing morning and b) have American accents). Never had anyone claim to be a member of my family or acting on thier behalf.

Did once have a number of suspicious calls from someone claiming to be a credit card company that I did have dealings with asking for the payment of a bill, now, over the phone. I told them I did not do any business over the phone and instead went online to check the status of my account - the bill I owed had been paid already. I was still getting these calls for months after this and I am still not sure if they were scammers or merely really bad communication between different departments of the same company (I did report them as a potential fraud but never heard if there was any outcome). Regardless, my policy of not giving over bank details over the phone remains because it is a bloody sensible one. Same for any personal details (which really annoys my bank because they stupidly cold call and ask for personal details to which I reply 'no' and hang up then ring them back on the known legitimate number to find out what they wanted).

If the number of a scam is not hidden (which, if they have any sense they will be) then report them to your phone company and any other organisation who may be able to help (police, for example). The more of these scams are reported the better the phone companies are able to block their numbers and the police are able to investigate and make arrests.

Archerbird
09-16-2011, 01:10 PM
I think that there is more of a market for it these days, now that everyone is expecting the scams to show up in e-mails instead.

JimmyB27
09-16-2011, 06:59 PM
To some degree, everyone fears what they don't know.
I don't know about that....

....AAAAHHHH!!!:scared:

Snowstorm
09-16-2011, 07:36 PM
Here's a new phone scam you all should be aware of. Hubby and I have gotten two attempted scams now over the phone using this method: We get an AT&T operator (legit, we're sure) who says someone is calling using the text system and the operators speak the text to us and then relay our answer to the caller. (I think it's like the oral version of the system deaf folks would us to communicate.)

Through the operators, the "callers" used the same terminology that we get on scam emails for our B&B: they want to use several rooms for a long period of time and will pay in full before they arrive. (The scam is they pay for the room, then a few days later, cancel the appointment and demand a check for the full amount.) Each time, as soon as each of us had said we had nothing available, the "callers" disconnected. The AT&T operator stayed on the line with me, and we talked for a bit. She admitted she thought the whole thing sounded fishy when she was reading the messages to me.

This is important to spread around because this method has an air of legitimacy. So yeah, the scams are still coming via the telephone.

writerterri
09-16-2011, 08:24 PM
I guess he couldn't take his own medicine :P


Nope.

Most of the time I just tell them Im watching them from a remote area and I never hear from them again.

Maryn
09-16-2011, 08:37 PM
Snowstorm, that's a good warning to have. I've heard of similar scams but not involving AT&T, just direct communication.

Thank goodness you were booked up. I assume you and other small businesses have a policy about not issuing refunds until the payment has cleared and/or a set amount of time has passed? Hard to protect yourself sometimes!

Maryn, who knows little about banking

Snowstorm
09-16-2011, 09:08 PM
Snowstorm, that's a good warning to have. I've heard of similar scams but not involving AT&T, just direct communication.

Thank goodness you were booked up. I assume you and other small businesses have a policy about not issuing refunds until the payment has cleared and/or a set amount of time has passed? Hard to protect yourself sometimes!

Maryn, who knows little about banking

Thanks Maryn. We've received enough of these scams emails that when I heard almost those exact words during this call, I was on guard. (Once, the email was genuine. We had four of the coolest Frenchmen stay with us. So we have to filter through all this carefully.)

Hubby and I decided long ago that how the person paid was how they'd be reimbursed (for instance: they paid with a credit card and the transaction cleared fine, we'd refund them via that card). And depending upon why/how the person cancelled (such as a family member died, the road was closed for weather, or the guest realizes "this place is in the wilderness!", we'd either return the majority of the deposit, return all of it, or he or she would forfeit it.

Neurotic
09-17-2011, 04:05 AM
There's been one here (NZ) I've been pestered with off-and-on for the past year or so. Caller claims to be from some variant of 'tech support' (usually Microsoft) and claim they've been receiving error reports from your computer. They convince people they have a virus, and talk them through downloading and installing some piece of software from their site.

They usually hang up when I ask why Microsoft would be receiving error reports from my mac.

JimmyB27
09-17-2011, 05:38 AM
There's been one here (NZ) I've been pestered with off-and-on for the past year or so. Caller claims to be from some variant of 'tech support' (usually Microsoft) and claim they've been receiving error reports from your computer. They convince people they have a virus, and talk them through downloading and installing some piece of software from their site.

They usually hang up when I ask why Microsoft would be receiving error reports from my mac.
Oh, I've had something similair, claiming that there have been 'reports of a virus in your area'. I asked why geography would be important to a computer virus and they hung up on me.... :D

areteus
09-17-2011, 03:13 PM
Oh, that scam... that's a fun one. It is sometimes amusing to blind them with a load of technobabble in order to demonstrate that they, in fact, know nothing about viruses...

And if Microsoft were aware of viruses they would not bother to ring every user in an area as that would cost far too much money. Instead, they would probably add an update to their help files, insert a patch into the regular updates and maybe send a report to the major virus blocking software manufacturers to tell them about it - all of which is far cheaper than making millions of phone calls... These calls are set to catch out those who know nothing about computers.

benbradley
09-18-2011, 06:07 AM
I remember both the "Good Times" virus AND the "Bad Times" virus.

kct webber
09-22-2011, 06:28 AM
Oh, that scam... that's a fun one. It is sometimes amusing to blind them with a load of technobabble in order to demonstrate that they, in fact, know nothing about viruses...

Neurotic and I got those calls constantly at our apartment. I once succeeded in keeping one of those vile scammers on the phone for nearly 45 minutes.

Using my awesome powers of psmychology, I got them to suggest what I should be seeing on my screen, then simply confirmed that that was, in fact, what I was seeing. Interspersed periodically between the directions they were giving me, I talked about how all these viruses must be from my vast porn collection--just to make it as awkward as possible, you know. Every mention of my porn got more deviant and obscure, 'til I was mentioning bestiality movies. About halfway through, the woman who called transfered me to a man, which I determined to be a particular bit of hilariousness.

Finally, though, he asked me a direct question about what I was seeing on my screen, and I couldn't bullshit an answer. Instead of trying to answer, I asked him how long we had been on the phone. He said something like 45 minutes, to which I replied "How much money would you have made in the last 45 minutes had you not called a bored Linux user?"

<-----1) has a love/hate relationship with scammers, and 2) doesn't actually own any bestiality movies. Just sayin'.