Scammer calls. Does anyone actually fall for them?

It’s the same story I keep hearing over and over. Victims with great reluctance to accept or admit that they are being scammed. It’s part of the psychological manipulation done by the scammers, I suppose.

An episode that needed airing. Over the top, as usual.

(Also, did they delete the couch gag? Is that gone now?)

Text messages have been something of a problem of late. Usually they’ve offered me help in dealing with the fact that “girls” think I’m a dud in bed (there hasn’t been anyone in a position to make such a judgement in quite some time); after repeated blockings they seem to have tapered off (knocks on head).

But today I got one that said it was an “AT&T Free MSG,” implying that it was from the carrier. It thanked me for paying my bill — which is charged to a card automatically around the 20th of the month — and offered me a “gift” in return (just click the unintelligible link). I’m well aware that I’m far from the brightest bulb in the chandelier; still, even I am not dumb enough to fall for something that transparent. Number blocked, which means nothing since it was probably a spoof in the first place.

I get lots of those, too. Google messages does a good job automatically putting them in the spam folder. I’ve never been curious enough to click on the links and see where they go.

The real AT&T Free MSGs come through fine.

I’ve been getting a spate of calls for “vehicle warranty extensions” on my office landline recently (a government job) and while I want to be snarky, I know my calls could be recorded, so I gotta play nice. There was another thread that recommended that I tell these ‘vehicle warranty’ people that I drive a “1969 Dildo Explorer”, just to f*ck with 'em.

It’s a shame I cant get them to call my cellphone–not as closely monitored.

I wonder what the response would be if you told them that you drive a Trabant, or told them that you drive a ZIL limousine.

Oh, wait - tell them you drive a 1928 Porter that you feel VERY close to.

This exact thing also happened to me, and I was also wondering if it would block real at+t free messages but they also are still coming through for me.

This is super frequent at my company. They’ll contract out some IT issue to an organization that doesn’t use our domain, so the emails don’t look quite legit and many folks delete them.

At the same time, our own IT department periodically sends out trap scam emails that are pretty convincing, and if you happen to click on something because it looks legit enough, you get a big “Ah-HAH!” follow-up email and are mandated to take an online course in web security. I’m convinced they need more actual work to do.

Sidebar, not to derail: of course, when you actually need IT for something, the first stop has to be the help desk in Hungary or Costa Rica or wherever it is this week, and 99% of the time, if it’s any issue more complicated than resetting a password, they’re unable to do anything, will “create a ticket” and redirect it to someone three blocks away from my office. Needless to say, they’re forbidden from providing us with any contact information for that local help desk, as we’re not allowed to skip the first step.

TL;dr our company’s IT department may as well be run by poo-flinging bonabos, for all their efficiency.

One of the regular calls I get is “Sarah from Discover” calling to offer a better interest rate on my credit card account. I hit one once to see what they said and the guy with a noticeable Indian accent who answered claimed to be from, as I remember, Mastercard/Visa/Discover, as if they’d all merged into one giant credit card company. Lately, I’m tempted to hit one and then demand to speak only to Sarah herself, just to see what they’ll do.

Mother? Is that you?

One data point: I used that exact line on a car warranty scammer, and he hung up.

If I got a message offering Free MSG, my first response would be, “No thanks. Chinese food doesn’t agree with me.”

That’s a good one. The ones I get always make you hit 1 to be connected. When I’m excessively bored I do some times - but no one ever picks up. I guess the spammers are having an employee shortage also.
I was going to go with 1938 Porter - from "My Mother the Car: for those lucky enough never to have seen that show.

I didn’t see this when I just posted. And you’re right about the date, I blocked it from my mind.
I’m sorry I didn’t do the “ride in a Trabant” activity which you can do near Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin.

Egad! Even scammers don’t want to insure a Trabant.

Probably think it’s a made-up name. Highly unlikely they know a Trabant is a real car.

I tend to think that almost any of us could be fooled on the right day with the right scam. I don’t think I’m going to wake up and fall for the Nigerian prince, give my SSN to some dude claiming to be from the IRS, or send in a bunch of gift cards to someone claiming to be a police officer to avoid a warrant being issued, but I bet I could be fooled in other ways. But then I tend to treat any unknown phone calls or emails as potential scammers. My car’s warranty? I’m not talking to you. Free vacation? I’m not talking to you.

I’ve been thinking more and more about this, including self-examination of when some thing was obscure to me, but supposedly obvious to others, as well as discussion with actual scam victims about their state of mind during the moments of being scammed.

I think a lot of people consider themselves quite savvy, quite resistant to things like scams, but I think that can be an illusion.

The analogy I like to use is that of building a wall; you may build a wall from very strong materials, you may build a very strong wall - you may examine and test every part of the wall and find every part to be strong, sound and to exceed any reasonable requirements. It’s a good wall - you made a strong wall.

But what about the places that are not a wall? Did you leave any gap? Were you even looking for gaps when you were in wall-examining mode or were you just checking how strong the wall parts are? Even if your wall has no gaps, are you sure it completely encircles all of the things you need to protect?

The easiest thing to do is to check be assured that what we are doing is good. The hardest thing to do is recognise what we are not doing, that we should. It’s easy to look at a wall - it’s not so easy to see an empty space.

For certain values of “real”.

And even hinkier values of ‘car’.