Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Phishing Scam Alert

I've been getting calls at my office phone number from different people trying to track down this other person, who shall remain nameless. It's a different number on the caller id every time, but it's always someone asking for this other person, who I not only do not know, but have never heard of!

I finally started asking questions of the caller...

"May I have your name, please?"
"What company are you calling from?"
"What is the purpose of your call?"

And I write down the number on the caller id.
I take notes (copious notes), and since it's not the first time this has happened, I am getting craftier. You see, it's a check cashing place....Cash Advance and the like...this time, the guy told me that he was calling because the person they are hunting down applied for a school loan online.

Aha. Right away, suspicions creep inside.

The next time I got a call for the same exact person, I again asked who was calling, what company it was, as before--but added a question, since it was USA Credit--and I asked for the person's social security number.

That took the caller back a BIG STEP. She replied she didn't have that information. Now how many credit companies do you know, that call places of business looking for someone who doesn't exist there (and have been told numerous times the same) and hoping for a credit reference, AND NOT HAVE THEIR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER????

I quickly handed off the call to my supervisor this time (as directed, since before the earlier call today, he knew nothing of the matter), and he asked for similar information, and then told the caller to take the number off their list, which you would have thought that they would have done at least once the last 5 times they called me and got the response "I'm sorry but I don't know anyone by that name. You clearly have a wrong number." If not that, then at least a comment in their computer so that the computer didn't continue to call!

And so we shall see how many hangup phone calls I get on tomorrow's voice mail. I have seen information on the web that says this is a phishing scam, that it's nearly always the same number, and when a call is placed back to the originating number, it rings busy, or it clicks funny, or there's a fax attached.

Therefore, if you get a call, from ANYONE--and they don't ask for you--oh yes, you DO need to be careful as it might be a wrong number--much wrong-er than you'd like! Have the caller identify the phone number they dialed. Then just say, I'm sorry but you misdialed, as there is no one here by that name. Also, if you have an answering machine, it's best not to leave your phone number or your name on it. If you can afford it, get an unlisted number--they are safer--at least as far as hunting you down on the web is concerned. And if you can, use an alias--so that if someone "phishy" calls and asks for you by your alias, you almost know FOR CERTAIN that it's "phishy".

I wish I'd brought the phone number home with me, as I would have posted the link that identifies the caller as a phishing scammer--with all the people who have identified the number on "Who's calling me?" Caller id being such a lovely thing.

These days you can't be too careful. As the economy worsens, there will be more thieves looking for any way to part you from your money to support their drug habit. Try not to be that creature of habit that makes you feel so comfortable. Thieves are breaking into homes in broad daylight these days and are even so bold as to break in WHEN YOU ARE HOME--even smaller communities are getting raided. The police are telling people around where I live to make sure that car keys are not left on the table, or hanging by the door. In fact, take them to bed with you, and if you hear someone break in during the night, you can touch off the car alarm--it might save your butt--just that extra second or two that a thief wonders "What the **** is THAT?"

Be careful friends. Be VERY VERY careful.

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