Adventures In Phone Phishing

These phish just want to be caught…Last night the phone rang. The land line phone. (Don’t ask me why I have one, that’s a story for a Hidden Costs Of Home Ownership post that’s been running around in my head.) I was tired, and am unused to dealing with telemarketers after so many years of wireless freedom. So in that short moment between when the phone rang I didn’t devise a clever plan to annoy or frustrate the evening’s invader.

However, I did have the wherewithal to notice immediately that the telemarketer avoided naming the company he was calling from when he offered to send me $100 in gas coupons and a phone card. Nor could he pronounce the name of the home office he was calling from (which he reported to be Reno, Nevada). Also fun was that the gas coupons could be used at any gas station, anywhere. I guess that means the coupons must be manufacturers coupons. I didn’t even know gas companies had manufacturer’s coupons!

And of course, with the hook baited in such a silly manner, it was time for our antagonist, the heavily accented telemarketer to reel in his catch. Because of all the money I had made for his company’s many stores, I could have all this for just the low cost of shipping. Only $5.99.

Tired though I may be, I hung up on him. I could smell the foul odor a mile away. The stench of a phisherman. I only let him ramble this long to get the complete scoop.

Phishing, as you probably already know is the dark art of impersonating someone reputable in order to con people out of their credit card or other bank account number. With all the attention being paid these days to email and other internet scams, I’m concerned that people may not be as on their guard when it comes to the phone. To my knowledge, this is the first overt phishing phone call I’ve ever gotten. Perhaps since the heat is on online, they’re resorting to the cooler waters of traditional land lines?

Some quick tips you should already know:

  • If it sounds to good to be true (like winning a contest you didn’t enter), it is. Well, for everybody but the scammer.
  • If things don’t add up, it’s because you don’t see the full equation. The part you don’t see is all the subtraction about to take place in your bank account.
  • If you didn’t make the call don’t buy anything.
  • If, for some strange reason you’re convinced it’s OK to buy great unexpected deal you didn’t know you wanted, have them bill you. Don’t pay for anything over the phone.

This has been a public service announcement from your friend at Brian’s Random Thoughts.

UPDATE: The same scammer called again today (5/9) while I was at work. He made his pitch to my wife, and when she turned him down, he said that I gave him my approval for it. What the dishonest bozo doesn’t know that my wife and I discussed it at length, and I’ve blogged about it! Next time he calls, I’m going to try to get his name and alleged employers name… 😈

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