Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Numbers On Caller I.D. Are Not Always What They Say They Are

Is that call for real or a scammer?
Every now and then, I get phone numbers that show up on my Caller I.D. that just don't look right.  So, whenever I get calls from 866, or 855, 753, or any other area code that I am not familiar with, I do not answer the call.  I jot the number down, and enter it on the Google space on the far right on the top right on my browser, to see if I can find out if it is a legitimate number, or possibly one of those which originate in some far-off island which may be a complete scam.

Just late last week, I decided to checkout one of those sites that promises to possibly save you about half on your car insurance.  I did get legitimate quotes, but I also think their site may be hacked, and others may be collecting your personal information, including your telephone number, E-mail address, as well as possibly even your mailing address, be that a PO box, or your street address.

If you don't know who's calling, 
don't answer!
Let them leave a message.
No message?  Can't be too important
then, can it?
Likely, it is a solicitor
or someone trying a scam.
Since then, I have begun getting a few different numbers showing up, which I do not recognize as likely legitimate businesses.  One of them had this number, 855-831-9123.  When this number shows up, I allow it to ring until my telephone secretary answers.  So far, they have let it connect on three occasions, but have left no messages.  They have called several times daily, even prior to 8:00 AM.  I still do not answer.

I Googled the number, and clicked on one of the sites where people can leave information about calls they have gotten from this number.  One person said that they picked up the phone, and entered the number to talk to someone.  That person told them that their credit card interest rates were being raised.  Quick thinking on their part may have saved the day.  This person said to the caller, "Which credit card is this on?"  The man on the other end, quickly hung up.  This has SCAM written all over it.

Scammers can call from
anywhere on the globe.
Return their call, and you, too
could be calling anyplace.
Just yesterday, I also got calls from an area code that raised a red flag.  It was area code, 753-000-8541.  Think about it, have you ever seen any number which started off (000)?  Not only that, I had not seen the 753 area code before, either.  So, I entered that in Google, and landed on the same page as before.  Many people who have answered the phone with this number on their Caller I.D. stated that a man with a heavy foreign accent asked for their E-mail address.  At that, they hung up on the person.

Over the past year or so, I have gotten several calls from such callers.  I never answer any call from any area code I don't expect a call from.

One other reminder; Many calls will also leave you a number to call back.  If you do not know who the company or caller is, don't fall for that trap, either.  Many far off islands have scammers, who call people and leave a message to call back.  They may even say it's an emergency, or that you are about to have your bank account garnished.  If you think the call sounds legitimate, then call your own bank directly, DO NOT, and I repeat, DO NOT call the number they left, even if it's an 800 or 888, or 866 area code.  The telephone companies as well as law enforcement, and the news has been warning people for several years, that many times, when you call the "toll free" number, you will unknowingly be transferred to another number, then put on hold, and it could cost you hundreds if not thousands of dollars which will be billed to your telephone number.  Getting that all straightened out with your phone company may well take several month, and you could even have your phone disconnected for non-payment of the bill while you are getting it corrected.

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