I know, this is not exactly the normal info you may see on this site, but it is important from a security point of view. The advantage of having a website is that you can post info that might help 1 or even 100 people. Since we strive to provide information, then I guess this post qualifies!
The last week or so has been very interesting phone wise. I have received an average of 1-2 calls per day from a variety of scammers. Now as a prelude here, I do not usually give out my number except to folks I know and people I trust.
So a few questions need answering here and then we will move on to what you should do when getting a call from a scammer. As far as I can tell the scam calls usually pickup after I post an item for sale on Craigslist. I will point out that this is not their fault, it is simply what happens when you tell folks to send a text when interested. Therefore scammers can scan through Craigslist, harvest phone numbers and go to work.
So what does a call from a scammer sound like? That depends, if they say they are from the IRS, they will invariably have a non-local number and an Indian or Pakistani, etc, accent. Now if they are North American based they will generally be belligerent, not answer your questions and generally try to bully you as they follow their script.
First rule of thumb, the IRS will never ask you for your social security number. Think about it, if you owe them, they already have that number, don’t they? So ask the caller why they need that number and then depending on how much of their time you want to waste, listen to the response. The voice will get louder, they will speak in a non-professional manner and they will tell you all about the officers coming to arrest you. Or you can simply hang up. Never call them back, because that may provide them your name through caller ID.
The next level of scammer is like the call I got the other day from a gent who accused me of stealing his WiFi. I was like wow, that is amazing where do you live. He became angry, called me names and then I simply hung up. I traced the number to someone local and they live roughly 3.5 miles away. I guess I must have a super great WiFi router? Nope…scammer.
Today I got two hilarious ones. One was from a guy named Jerome, who gave me a case number and had insisted I had not showed up in small claims court. So after interrupting him roughly 5 times and finally asking him to tell me where the court was located, as in what state and county he said of few expletives and hung up. Another bad income day for him!
The funniest one today was from a guy calling to ask me if I was the guy who hit his car this morning. So while trying to hold back my laughter, since my car is in the shop and I walked to work, I explained that I had no knee or toe damage and perhaps he was mistaken. However he insisted I had left my number on the note I had left on his car. So I asked what the number was and where this event had occurred. He then proceeded to get verbally abusive and I simply kept repeating the question until the jack-wad hung up.
Don’t fall for scammers. No professional will ever get angry, curse you or threaten you. Another good idea is to immediately ask if it is okay to record the conversation. After all, professionals in call centers record them all the time and they warn you up front.
Of course you can simply play along and then give them a ton of false info and then when they are starting to lay the trap, say excuse me, I will call you back, the “Price is Right is On!”, then hang up. Don’t call them back, ever!
That is about all I have at this time,
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