Is this some new scam?

The Wal Mart reciept checker thread made me want to post this.

Tonight my house phone rings. We don’t get many calls on it as only a few people have the number and its unlisted.Caller ID says “Cell phone”. I answer it.

Some guy with what sounded like a jamaican accent mumbled something and for at least 30 seconds I’m saying “Speak up, I can’t understand you!” I can tell he’s getting flustered and ANOTHER dude gets on the phone. Sounded jamaican too, but I could at leastr make out what he was saying.

He claimed to be calling to tell me I won some Wal-Mart prize. I was like “Really? Seriously…you want me to believe that?”

Then he asks if I have a pencil to write down some claim number. Now I’m like “Dude, no. You’re calling from a cell phone. I don’t f’in believe you.” and hang up.

Its got to be a scam, but its a new one to me.

Calling people to tell them that they’ve “won a prize” is not a new scam.

I meant specifically saying they were from Wal Mart and I’d won a prize stuff, not the phone call in and of itself. I’ve never had a call like that and it was strange. I’ve had telemarketers try to scam me in the past. Which is why I don’t give my number out to anyone.

Well I guess using Wal-Mart specifically might be new. But the thing is, if that’s the criteria we’re using to determine what a “new scam” is, then anytime I take a classic scam and change one of the minor details it’d be as if I’d invented a new scam.

I guess I really meant has this happened to anyone else? Have you ever had some heavily accented guys calling you saying they were from Wal-Mart? I don’t generally take calls if I don’t know the number but I had a recent death in my family…when I saw “cell phone” on caller ID I answered because I thought maybe a relative who had the number to the landline had a new phone or given it to another relative who didn’t. Everyone else has my cell phone number at work…not even the unit has my landline number.

Maybe Wal-Mart outsources their prize announcement services?

I’m only half-kidding. My perfectly respectable bank once farmed out their “newsletter” to a company that sent out emails so closely resembling phishing that I reported it to the authorities, then found out it was legitimate. Sometimes big corporations haven’t a clue.

The only heavily accented guys that ever call me and try to sell me stuff are from Turkey, and they’re selling rugs. Of course, I’ve bought rugs from them in the past (both these guys, and their partners in Turkey), and I gave them my number, so it’s all legit.

I had a similar call a couple of months ago; the guy on the phone had a fairly heavy accent (don’t know that it was Jamaican), and claimed he was calling on behalf of Target. Said I’d won a $50.00 Target gift card, and they’d like to send it to me, but needed to confirm my mailing address. So he got my mailing address (I only gave it to him because I have a PO Box, I wasn’t giving out my home address, and I do shop at Target, so there was at least a credible chance that this was for real, though I wasn’t holding my breath).

Then came the scam part: In order to receive my prize, I had to pay a $1.00 processing fee. That was it. One tiny little dollar. Nothing, right? Except that I had to put it on a charge card or ‘major name’ debit card. Oh, he was smooth about it. Only started out by asking me what type of card it was, then for the expiration date, etc. Clearly, though, he was working his way up to gathering ‘useful’ (for him) information. I told him I don’t give out that info over the phone. He got insistent and frustrated, then I hung up. He attempted to call back something like five times over the course of the next 15 minutes.

As AClockworkMelon says, calling to tell folks they’ve won something isn’t a new scam by any means. But I think the scammers are trying to add a layer of “maybe it’s for real” to it by telling you that you’ve won a prize from a store you actually shop at. And let’s face it, most of us do shop at Wal Mart and Target, at least occasionally. Much more believable than them calling to tell me I’d won the Italian lottery or something.

I checked a bit…Wal Mart doesn’t do phone solicitations or prizes or whatever. I didn’t think they did, anyway, but I wanted to be sure in case they call back. What I really want to know now is how they got my unlisted number.

Random dialing? I think that’s how they got my number, because when they wanted to “confirm my address”, he started off with an address that’s nowhere close to mine. But he started off with “Main Street”, again, trying to play the odds, I guess. First, guessing that I shop at Target, second, hoping that I either lived on Main Street, or close enough for me to think it was just a mistake (as a matter of fact, my street intersects Main St. about two blocks down. . .)

The fact remains, if you dial an area code and common prefix for any given area, then four other random numbers, your chances of reaching someone’s home are pretty good.

True. Thinking about it more (I had just arrived home when they called yesterday, after driving all day after the events in this threadand I was a bit out of sorts to think clearly) the mumbly first guy didn’t say my name. He didn’t ask “Is this Mr. or Mrs. Jolly Roger”, at least I don’t remember him doing so.

I don’t like scammers, whether they’re on the street with a BS story, or on the phone. But I especially hate unsolicited phone calls. Before the no-call list came out my hatred for telemarketers was as intense as the sun. This call combined the two. I know it doesn’t make a good person to say it, but if they got hit by a bus…well, I won’t say it.

Come to think of it, a month or so ago I kept getting unsolicited sales calls on my cell phone. I did have it on the do not call registry. The number kept showing up as “unavailable” but it was one of those really annoying machines when I did answer it. Worst part- they never ID’d themselves. I’d answer and theres a voice saying “Hey, dude! I’m glad I caught you…” and a moment of silence, leading me to think it was someone I knew at the first time. Then they’d go into “If you want this great deal, press 1 now! Big Big Savings!”. but they never mentioned what they were selling or anything.

It happened daily for about a 4 days, and it was driving me crazy. It stopped the morning I thought to myself “If they call again I’m going to track them down someway and I might have to beat someone’s head in.” As I said above I hate telemarketers. Hell, I hate them worse than people with nuclear powered car stereos that feel the need to dial up to 11…and trust me, I really hate those guys.

Before anyone says it, I know such fantastic rage is irrational on my part. But those are two of the things that always press my buttons.

Ciao bella! Much name eesa Mario. I’m from-ah Napoli. You 'ava wonne the Lotteria Italiana.
What? You donna believe me? You offend me. Would I lie to a beautiful woman?

Wow!!! The lottery??? Where do I have to send my Prize Processing Fee? Will you take a credit card over the phone??

::So Excited!!!::

I had fun reading this aloud to myself a few times, thank you!

I want to point out that even when unlisted, cell phone numbers will show up on Accurint/LexisNexis searches as ‘related persons’ via address or credit report. While it’s not a landline, that cellphone bill goes somewhere, right? I got a call on my cellphone for my husband’s deceased grandfather a couple months ago from Medicare. Grandfather **never **had my # but I bet they found it as a related person w/ Accurint. (I believe they were calling b/c some of the bills from Grandfather’s passing were still unpaid a year later.)

I had a friend who had just gotten out of the Air force. He told me how some bozo he was stationed with actually fell for the nigerian scam once. So I guess, I’m even angrier at people that fall for it.

I think the reason may be this…whether its on the street or on the phone I can tell a BS story when I hear it. I like to think I’m a friendly person, but after years of it I tend to go into “leave me the fuck alone” mode. Now it can be difficult to avoid these things on the street…the people that pull them tend to hang out in front of stores and places where you HAVE to pass them. But my cell phone? Yeah, that bugs the crap outta me. I have to answer it pretty much, because it could be someone from Battalion HQ or even a colleague whos number I don’t have in the phone. (which has happened when someone has an emergency).

Back when mrAru was navy and on a long deployment [and we still had a landline so this was about 15 years ago] I had a similar call except I think it was Sears. I needed to pee so I gave them some line about being in a hurry to leave for an appointment so we rung off. About 10 minutes later the same car kept driving slowly past the farm for about 10 minutes as I sat in the front window with it open enjoying some fresh air [my computer desk was in the front window and I was expecting a package anyway]

I figured that they were casing the place because they had called to see if anybody was home, and I had said I was leaving for an appointment.

A little more than a year ago I was cleaning out some stuff in the garage when I saw two ladies leaving the neighbors house. I don’t think they were in the house but just talking to the old lady next door outside. I figured they were friends of hers. They saw me look (oops! Made eye contact!) and came running over to my yard telling me how they were selling some miracle vacuum dust sucker-upper or something. I thought “Man, I don’t wanna deal with this crap right now”, so I politely told them my floors were hardwood. I also said it in a way that I thought would suggest “I’m busy, please leave me alone”.

They went into how its great on wood floors and they just needed to come inside and demonstrate. I politely, but losing patience told them “Look, I’m trying to clear out some stuff here, and I don’t have any time”. (Because really, if I say “No, I’m not interested” I fuckin’ well mean I’m not interested.). They persisted and I told myself to be polite only *one more time * before I lost my temper. So I told them “I don’t buy anything from people on the street. Sorry. Have a good day.” and turned to resume my work and they STILL insisted that if I let them into the house I’d be wowwed by this thing…and the third lady driving their van began pulling into my driveway. The van BTW had no visible logos or anything implying a company or employer.

I didn’t know it, but my wife was by the door and heard the whole thing. She walked in front of the van, gave the driver a "turn the hell around and leave signal, then turned to the two ladies and said “Didn’t you just hear my husband? He said no. No you’re not fucking coming into our house. You need to leave. NOW.”. They left mumbling whatever. I chuckled because she’s usually the one that tells me to not be an ass when people get under my skin and lose my temper.

Maybe I’m too paranoid…I’ve heard, I guess urban legends or rumors about “salespeople” who only want to get in your house so they can see what you have and then come back and rob you later. Which is why I have an alarm system. Not from ADT because they sent this big fat guy in a dirty T-shirt and jeans and a scraggly biker looking beard with no visible vehicle on the street over when I bought the house. (I know these companies keep track of what homes have been bought to drum up business). But the Vector guy showed up in a company car, wearing a tie at least, handed me a card and a brochure and told me he didn’t want to waste my time, if I was interested in a security system to give him a call. Guess which one I picked. (The big fat guy comes to mind because my wife said he rang the bell two weeks ago when I was at work, dressed pretty much the same. She was like “We bought the house a YEAR ago and you’re just coming back now?” and pointed to the friggin’ signs in the yard and on the window that say “Protected by…”)

A lot of the time, stores will call the cops if you let them know that someone is pestering their customers outside the place. Just let the manager know. S/he doesn’t want the store’s customers harassed when they’re entering or leaving the place.