Friday, March 12, 2010

Phone Scams

Today I received a cell phone call that registered as "No info" for the number. The man on the other line had a heavy foreign accent. He basically said my cell phone had been randomly selected as a winner in a contest held by Interlinks Telecommunication in Canada and I have won a BMW and $350,000. He said I needed to call a phone number and speak with Mike Kimball to work out the details. The number was 876 area code. I just said okay and hung up the phone, knowing it was just a scam. Thinking that was the end, I went about my day. Three hours later the same man calls again telling me I need to call to claim the prize. I asked if it was the same info he gave earlier. Yes he said, and repeated the phone number. I asked if I truly won something why does this Mike guy not call me? His response was simply that is what he was doing. Uneasy that these people had my phone number and were obviously going to call me until I take action, I bellied up to my trusty computer. I knew better than to try calling the number as I feared incurring an outrageous phone bill. Google to the rescue again. I first tracked down a company in Canada by the name the man had given. Sure enough, outside of Ontario, I found the company. I searched the website and found the phone number did not match, and conveniently enough, the names of those who worked there were listed too. Your right, no Mike Kimball listed. Next I Googled the phone number. It popped up as a Jamaican phone number.........long way from Canada, huh? Then I Googled Jamaican Phone Scam, up came a lot of stories of people who have received calls similar to mine, unfortunately some of them acted on the calls. There are stories of money sent, and expensive calls made. Sick, just sick. I guess that is how these people keep going. They fish the phone lines until they catch one vulnerable person, desperate for a little extra money, not thinking about what might be happening.
So, my bloggers, word of advise. If some one calls your phone, unsolicited, their number is blocked (by the way I checked my ATT wireless account and the number showed as 000-000-0000 "blocked" on the call list), they ask you to call to claim the prize of a drawing you never tried for, DO NOT CALL, you may be stuck with a mighty big phone bill. You can do a lot of research yourself on the Internet now. Yes it is hard to turn down someone who says you won that much, but you can certainly verify very quickly if you are about to get drug down by a scam. So, write down all the info the caller gives, verify it over the Internet as a scam, then make a report to the FTC.
I am not sure what to do from here but will keep you advised if I get any more phone calls. I am hoping my skepticism on the last call made the point clear that I will not participate and hopefully they will not call.

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