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Are they phishing over the telephone now?!

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / April 18, 2008 6:30 AM PDT
Question:

This isn't exactly a technical how-to question, but I would really like to know how widespread this phenomenon is at this point. I've been getting phone calls lately that sound for all the world like phishing. They disguise themselves by saying something about my credit card (no specific one) or the car I now own (no specific brand). The two incidents I specifically remember involve a prerecorded message announcing 1) we need to discuss your credit card although there is no problem right now, and 2) the deadline is approaching to obtain an extended warranty on the vehicle you now own. Then it says to wait for the operator to come on. I hung up. Another very suspicious message was left on my answering machine to call a toll free number about my credit card. I think that one mentioned a specific card. However, I started getting a bit freaked out when they wanted me to give them a whole bunch of information (card number, address, etc.) before they would tell me what they had called about. I hung up on them, too.

Is this becoming more common? Have any of you experienced this? I have not really seen anything about it and didn't really know where to post this type of information in order to get an idea. It certainly seems like someone should get the word out, as was done with e-mail, before a lot of people really get messed up! Is there anything we can do to stop this? Thanks.

--Submitted by Judie S.

If you have some advice, recommendations, or experience to share with Judie, please click the reply link and submit your answer for her. Thanks!
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Answer for Judie, Fraud concerns: Phishing over the phones n
by Kenneth Jankowski / April 18, 2008 11:07 AM PDT

First advise to you is get on the do not call registry for if you can get their info you can prosecute,get caller ID might help,never give personal info to any website you don't deal with

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Phishing
by zammer8 / April 25, 2008 10:12 AM PDT

Suggest you check on what Do Not Call Registry offers. Ability to sue is not one of the benefits. As I recall, compliance is voluntary. That said, it does help a great deal.

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It's not voluntary!
by cyberphantom8 / April 25, 2008 11:18 AM PDT
In reply to: Phishing

"As of October 1, 2003, it is illegal for most telemarketers or sellers to call a number listed on the National Do Not Call Registry."

"One caveat: if a consumer asks a company not to call, the company may not call, even if there is an established business relationship. Indeed, a company may not call a consumer - regardless of whether the consumer's number is on the registry - if the consumer has asked to be put on the company's own do not call list."

Get on the list and file a complaint if you're getting calls you don't want! They must must comply

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It's not voluntary.
by zammer8 / April 25, 2008 11:38 AM PDT
In reply to: It's not voluntary!

It is not illegal to call numbers on Do Not Call Registry. FCC has no enforcement powers, in any event. Do Not Call Registry is a fraud intended to convey that the federal government is preventing telemarketers.

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Right on
by Omphalopsikite / April 25, 2008 4:19 PM PDT
In reply to: It's not voluntary.

No teeth, only scares the 'honest' ones. Spoofed caller ID's are the rule. Telco blocking worthless. Telezapper still the best defense, and does work on junk faxes part of the time. Will not block legit faxes despite urban myths.

I generally respond with phony data to waste their time. If they had to sort through 10,000 BS responses, they just might go get real jobs. HA!

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100% Correct
by EBathory / May 3, 2008 12:35 AM PDT
In reply to: It's not voluntary.

The "Do Not Call" is a total scam. There are so many loopholes in it you can drive a truck through. Just another useless bone thrown to consumers to make them think the government really cares about them.

I once got a call about my car's warranty about to expire. I never had any warranty on the car whatsoever.

Trouble is, by just picking up the phone you are letting their computers know that someone is home, and it will note the time of day so they will attempt another call. If my caller ID says "Unknown" "Restricted" or anything like that, I simply don't answer. If it's that important, the caller will leave a message. If he/she doesn't, then it's just one of those irritating scams.

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do not call list does exist
by hepaforsi / April 25, 2008 9:16 PM PDT
In reply to: It's not voluntary!

There is a national do not call list and some state do not call lists but if you have ANY involvement with a company or its affliates within the past 18 months it is legal for them to call you. It is then up to you to tell them you are on that call list and then call the companies that they are affliated with. I used to work for a telemarketing company and believe me its easier to just get the call, say you're on the do not call list and then hang up on them. If you tell them that then legally they cannot call you back.

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Do Not Call doesn't work
by Les Girouard / April 25, 2008 10:57 AM PDT

I have been on the national & California Do Not Call lists since the beginning & I have still gotten the same calls Judie has plus some others. These people pay no attention to the Do Not Call list because it is impossible to report them. In order to do so by either email or phone, you need to know the name & phone number of the party that called you. Since these folks don't identfy themselves, this is impossible to do. And all the telephone company will do is try to sell you caller ID. They will not tell you who it was who called. It doen't seem fair that one should have to pay for a monthly service in order to combat these nuisance calls.

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There are some caveats for the Do Not Call Registry
by Shofarman / May 2, 2008 2:02 AM PDT

I have had my numbers placed on the DNC registry since it's inception however, I own a business and some of the phone numbers I use (most of which actually) are posted in various places pertaining to those businesses. If, in fact you own a business, it is my understanding they still a right to call you - even if you have requested to not be called.

Nothing is perfect but hanging up on them is usually the best trick or you can be like me and when they call, you ask them who they are and whom they wish to speak with? If it's a sales call or phishing expedition you will know it and I just tell them the person (usually I tell them my employer will be right with them.) Then I place the phone next to the TV and hollar through the house that they have a phone call. I will then make them wait for 2-5 minutes before I get back with them. I then tell them he will be right with them and to please hold again - and the phone once again goes next to the TV or radio with the volume up. I will continue to waste their time just as long as they want to hang on. Usually I hear the phone alerting me they have hung up within a couple of minutes though.

If I have lots of time to waste at the moment, I like to grill them about their product while using a peculiar accent and make them repeat what they are selling over and over before they get totally frustrated and just hang up on me. I've been able to get them so frustrated after 15 minutes I think some of them are actually pulling their hair out.

In my business, my most common calls I get are from folks trying to imitate the folks at VRBO.com trying to sell me advertisement on their website - which is never worth the money in my humble opinion.

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ROFL
by Kongar / May 2, 2008 11:47 AM PDT

that was hilarious. : )

sometimes, using a redneck accent and If my girlfriend is around I will pretend to start a fight or get into a fight with her and then start smacking her (I slap my other hand) while yelling and cursing. I stop here and there to throw a "hold on" or "almost done - be with you in a minute" and then back to the "beating" lol

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unfortunately, they are using out-of-service numbers
by Culebra / April 25, 2008 1:20 PM PDT

I have received the same calls. The Do Not Call list will not be of much help, because the numbers from which these calls are supposedly originated are out-of-service, and if you inquire into the address or contact info of the calling company, they hang up.

It will require phone traces and taps to stop these guys, but it should be done.

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phone numbers no good
by setmeup4 / April 25, 2008 2:28 PM PDT

Our family has received many such phone calls, I googled what was listed on our caller id for many of them and found pages on internet where others had been scammed and you can add your name to the complaints...however, several have changed location constantly...one address gets found out and they are gone like the wind and setting up elsewhere...sounds in background sounds more like they are at a home than in an office! Phone numbers change so frequently that they have a good routine by now...some I saw were being reported in 2002 for the same thing!

We have asked them repeatedly NOT to call anymore...doesn't work...now we just let my autistic grandson answer and they hang up! Happy

You can google just about anything...I have even googled phone numbers and found sites where people have info.

Good luck everyone!

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oops, forgot to tell you something! :)
by setmeup4 / April 25, 2008 2:39 PM PDT
In reply to: phone numbers no good

LOLOLOL...Ok, mentioned I Googled phone numbers and names from caller id...

Well, One particular company calls at least 6 or 7 times a day... I just look and don't answer when grandson isn't home...well, just after I had googled that number one day and found a site online, they happened to call while I was just finishing up reading some interesting stuff...so, I answered the phone when I saw it was them again and told them that I had just Googled their numbers and they hung up! Next time they called was a different person...did the same and they hung up....Haven't been bothered by them for about 3 days now...either they are on the move or they gave us up! Happy

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OMG, that many times a day?!
by LorraineKP / April 26, 2008 7:22 AM PDT

I'm getting sick at the thought of so many prank calls. The service I have has gotten rid of all nuisance calls for me. Verizon provides my phone service, and they have Call Intercept, which screens calls without an identifying number in the Caller ID box. Those people calling from private or unidentified numbers are asked by a recording to state their name. Then your phone rings funny, and when you pick up, you can listen to what they said, and either take the call or hang up. Spam callers never bother trying to get through the screen. This costs a few dollars a month, but it's worth the money because it saves my blood pressure. I cannot bear unsolicited calls.

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Naming names
by PsychGen / May 3, 2008 12:24 AM PDT

Vonage offers the same service. Included, with the 24.99 a month charge. They call it Anonymous Call Block.

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Do not call list
by Remag1234 / May 3, 2008 11:21 PM PDT

I'm on the do not call list and have not been bothered. One of the reasons is that I have subscribed to VOIP[ Vonage] that stopped all except 1 or 2 on occasion. My wife's cellphone just started getting calls, I called back and they were selling baby items. I told them I was single, had no wife or girlfriend and did ot have the plumbing to have a baby. I also said I am on the do not call register and please do not call back.
It's been 1 day and no calls.
One more point, why is it that people MUST answer the phone even if they do not recognize the number calling?? NO ONE IS THAT IMPORTANT that they cannot miss a call.

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UK situation
by TonyGore / April 25, 2008 7:38 PM PDT

We have the equivalent of a "do not call registry". However, the law does not prevent the last few digits being called at random.

I get quite a few of these automated and recorded message junk calls, mostly originating from the US. One of the downsides of cheap call technologies is that you can make them to anywhere.

In the UK, this is what is supposed to happen

1) Caller ID should be given (often it is not)
2) If dialling multiple numbers, and then answering the first, this results in silent calls for anyone answering a fraction of a second after the first person answers. Silent calls are meant to be only a few percent (but my experience is that it can be as high as 50% some days)

There really isn't much you can do. I simply do the following.

If caller ID shows certain types of numbers e.g. ones with the South Africa code on the front, I don't answer them (TalkTalk have their call centre in South Africa and I have no dealings with anyone in South Africa).

If it starts with an 08 (freephone and similar local call cost numbers are all in this range) then I let the phone ring for a while (so that some other poor person gets connected before me).

When I do answer the phone, if I suspect that it is one of these calls, I keep silent. Some systems on the other end then start up their recorded message, so I hang up. If there is a real person, they talk; I might reply.

I am hoping that their systems will be smart enough to eventually remove my number from the list as it is clearly costing them for no response.

What is interesting - the people in the call centres get very unnerved if you give them the silent treatment.

I needed to discuss an issue of security with someon in the bank's head office recently and it led to an interesting conversation - how could we mutually authenticate - how could I be sure he was genuine and vice-versa.

Try asking your caller if they can prove they are calling from the company they say they are. Ask them for some information about you. If they say they cannot give it out (Data Protection) then ask them why they are calling you for it. Only the most genuine will then carry one.

I am afraid the era of trust is finally over. My golden rule is now that everything is untrusted or a scam until they can prove otherwise.

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Phishing on phones has always been done...

Back in the 70's and 80's, phone cracking and hacking were called phreaking... pranksters and criminals would pose as legit companies, phone repairmen to get access to you phone for mischief (some legal and some illegal)... People use to call and pose as legit companies to get your identity...

phishing as we know it on phones is old news....

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Banks and cards don't do it that way
by paul dexler / April 18, 2008 11:15 AM PDT

Hi Judie,
Basically, no legitimate credit organization will ask you for detailed information in an e-mail. If there is a problem, they may send you an e-mail with a request for you to go to their secure website and log on and then supply the required information. If they are asking for account details in an e-mail, it is phishing. The same is true if the request comes in by phone. There are three ways to provide them with information, if they really need it:
1. Visit their office and provide the information in person.
2. Send them the information by snail mail to the address where you send your payments.
3. Go to their secure website and log in. And be sure you use the URL you have on file, not one that comes in an e-mail from them.
Paul

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Next Week's Question
by RichLonrgn / April 18, 2008 11:21 AM PDT

You know it! I just got a phone call from "The Social Security Administration" telling me they were going to stop charging my premium for Medicare and the change would be for the rest of my life! All I had to do was confirm my Social Security Number and the name of my bank. Apparantly, they felt sorry because they had been "paying me so little" ane this would make up for it. Strangely though, when I mentioned that it sounded like a phishing expidition, instead of setting me straight they just hung up. If they think they can grab your money, they'll try any means they can think up.

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Definitely Exists
by jaemery / April 18, 2008 11:24 AM PDT

I had a company call me twice, saying I had a past due balance from Verizon and telling me I had to give them a credit card number immediately or my service would be disconnected. I freaked out and then when I calmed down figured out that couldn't possibly be true. I had just seen my last bill and it showed Verizon owed me money. So I asked them to document that I owed Verizon money and they hung up. They tried again a few weeks later and this time I hung up. But this was definitely a scam.

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Phishing
by pete alberts--2008 / April 18, 2008 11:26 AM PDT

I get similar calls. But, I don't have a credit card, nor do I have an auto warranty that needs extending.
While some might just be sales type calls, to see if "You're in the market", I think that:
Some people Phish in the ocean,
Some people Phish in a pond.
Some people Phish on the internet, and,
Some people Phish on the Phone.

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This is what you should do...
by Rob Zantay / April 18, 2008 11:31 AM PDT

Hey, what they are trying to do is get you to change your card with whatever charges you have pending on it over to their card. They will quote a low (about6.5%) interest rate which may or may not last a year and then go up. If you listen to the recorded pitch it will say hit 1 to get connected to them, hit 2 to be removed from our list. guess which one you should hit, I'll give you a hint... it's not 1.
When you hit 2 you will be taken off their list and they will hang up on you. The automotive call is usually about car insurance, listen to the prompts and see if there is the possibility of being taken off the list, if not talk to the salesperson and tell them that you don't own a car. That should get you off their list.

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That doesn't work.
by royc / April 25, 2008 2:42 PM PDT

talk to the salesperson and tell them that you don't own a car. That should get you off their list.
_______________________________

I did that and they hung up, a week later they called again. and keep calling.

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Re: Fraud concerns
by chauffeur2 / April 18, 2008 11:33 AM PDT

Hi Julie,
Here in Australia NO bank or credit card company will ever ask for your details over the telephone....so DON'T EVER give them out.
My advise to you is to hang up on these people and then telephone your bank/credit card company and report the matter to them.
Although they (your bank/credit card company) will not be able to do much about it, at least they have been made aware of the incident, and can take steps to do something about it in the future.
An alternative way to catch these fraudters is to ask them for their contact telephone number so that you can call them back; then, contact your bank/credit card company on the number listed in the telephone directory and ask them if the number you have been given is legitimate.
If it is then ok; however, I'd bet that in 99.9% of the time it won't be legitimate, so you can pass on the information to your bank/credit card company so they can track down these fraudsters.
I would imagine that when asked for their contact details, these fraudsters will give you a million excuses not to give the information to you, in that case, just hang up on them.
You need to treat your banking details and credit card numbers, and the like, as the most personal information you possess, and not give it to anyone under any circumstances, unless you are 100% certain that the source is known to you and therefore legitimate.

Kind Regards,

Dave T. [chauffeur2].

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Extended Warranty
by mwooge / April 18, 2008 11:36 AM PDT

No phone calls, but I've got a lot of mail about my car warranty running out, but not from the dealer I bought from. This is a separate company, which probably isn't legit.

What's a little unsettleing is that they knew the mak and model of my car.

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We got it on the phone...twice
by Tapisfun / April 25, 2008 11:21 AM PDT
In reply to: Extended Warranty

We have had a similar scam tried on us on the phone. Once in California and once in Montana.

The caller says our "extended warrantee" is expiring and asks if we want to renew it. Since we do have a maintenance agreement on our refrigerator/freezer, we assume that is what they are calling about.

However, when we ask what company they are calling from and what warranty they are calling about they hang up!

If we didn't ask, they probably would have quoted a price, done a sales pitch and taken our credit card number to "pay" for it. Ha! Lucky we were curious enough to ask a few questions.

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Extended warranty
by HighDesertDiva / April 25, 2008 11:23 AM PDT
In reply to: Extended Warranty

The type of marketing you are encountering isn't phishing. What probably happened is if you purchased a new or "gently used" vehicle from a dealership, they sold your name and contact information to another company that markets post-manufacturer warranties. I used to work for a survey company, and heard a lot of complaints about these extended warranties. Before you consider purchasing one, determine if the places where you plan to have work done will even honor it, what it covers, is it portable (if your radiator blows when you are away from your home area), and whether you have to pay up front and be reimbursed by the warranty company. As for vishing, my rule is if I did not initiate the call, I do not tell them anything.

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short, sweet and effective
by koolezt / April 25, 2008 12:55 PM PDT
In reply to: Extended warranty

"if I did not initiate the call, I do not tell them anything."

perfect rule, diva

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Auto Warraanty
by fjacobs396 / April 25, 2008 11:41 AM PDT
In reply to: Extended Warranty

They get the info from Dept. of Motor Vehicles. It's a third party warranty - doesn't cover squat. The only extended warranty worth a darn is from the factory.

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