Scammers are quick off the mark

Less than two weeks ago I got a landline in my home for the first time in several years, my number isn’t even in the online white pages yet but today I received my first scam call

Someone from the Australian Tax Office left a message, in a very strong Indian accent, telling me that I am under investigation and need to call him back urgently to avoid consequences

They didn’t use my name so hopefully they were just dialing random phone numbers and my telco hasn’t sold my info already

But how can you get the 1.28 million dollars that are owed to you if you don’t respond?!?!

Did they use your name in the message or was it a generic message? I imagine the spammers could autodial every number and leave the same message hoping for someone to call them back.

Your phone number was probably in use before by someone else. When someone cancels their account, I think the phone companies leave the number idle for awhile, but then assign it to someone new. I don’t know what that time period is - someone here who works/worked for phone companies can probably provide a knowledgeable opinion. So, you are either getting auto-dialed, or the call was for the former user of your phone number. Either way, you are safe to ignore it.

No listing needed. They just robocall all the numbers within a exchange. From 555-0000 to 555-9999. VoIP makes this much cheaper than buying a list somewhere.

If you can, sign up for Nomorobo. This works for VoIP (including many cable phones), some cell services, etc.

We did this and it made a huge difference.

I’ve read about nomorobo a couple of times, but haven’t really looked into it. Are there any inconveniences or drawbacks to it? What about costs? I get a lot of spam calls on my home and work phones.

Not all phone systems support it. I think you need dual-ring capability. The call rings your phone and nomorobo’s phone at the same time. If nomorobo thinks it’s a spammer, it picks up from it’s end and your end is disconnected.

I’ve used it for a while and the only ‘disadvantage’ is that your phone still rings one time. Other than that I haven’t had any problems.

Right after I got my first smartphone (last year) I started getting spam calls on it. I surmised that the number had belonged to someone else.

They’re not scammers. They’re free market entrepreneurs. They identify a marketing niche and exploit it.

I have one of those goofy little BFE local phone companies, that is not yet with the program:

“Unfortunately, AT&T (Traditional Landline) does not support Nomorobo yet.”

AT&T doesn’t want this blocked, because they make so much money charging a monthly fee for services like caller-ID to enable their own customers to screen calls.

I’m surprised an enterprising VOIP provider hasn’t integrated nomorobo into their service natively already. They could first send the call to nomorobo and then send it normally if nomorobo doesn’t take it. That would avoid the first ring going to your house.

In any case, many VOIP providers offer dual-ring capability. Depending on your phone needs and internet speeds, you may be able to get everything you need for less than $10/month.

I was talking about scammers with someone who told me “I tell them I’m in a program where I have to stay at home wearing an ankle bracelet. Suddenly they’re not that interested in me.”

I am so going to do this.

But they are deceptive in doing so. They represent themselves as being someone they are not. That’s what makes them scammers as opposed to legitimate free market entrepreneurs.

What a coincidence - I got a call from the IRS (USA’s version of the tax office) telling me that I was under investigation and needed to call some phone number in Washington - not Washington, DC, where the IRS is actually located, but Washington state, on the other side of the country (about 5000 km away, I think).

This is about the fourth time I have gotten one of these (far more common are the “Windows Technical Support” callers who try to make me think there’s a problem with my computer, then want access to it, almost certainly to upload some ransomware onto it and then demand hundreds of dollars to restore access to my computer). It sounds like they’re getting their act together now; in the past, the calls came from the “Department of Criminal Affairs.”

Yes. Their whole purpose is to steal as much money from gullible people as they can. After my dad suffered a traumatic brain injury, he was defrauded of $15,000. Fortunately the credit union was on the ball and wrote it off as fraud.

You mean, like the pharmaceutical industry? Fast food? Used cars? Cable TV? Exercise machines? Sham-wow?

Feh. They are Australian Dollars. What’s that in Merkin, fifteen cents? :wink:

Last time I got a call from the IRS, my delinquent bill had passed 1.2 BILLION dollars. Cool. I wish I had enough money to owe somebody that much.

You should call one of those tax help firms on TV. They can get that down to 750 million. Maybe less!

Or selling Internet services to vulnerable old people who don’t have computers, and whom they know don’t have computers? Or this [emphasis mine**?

Not to mention phishing scams, loan scams, fake debt collectors, the IRS thing that has been mentioned, fake charities, fake arrest warrants, and so on.

Anyone who thinks they are ‘free market entrepreneurs’, or thinks that people deserve to be ripped off because they should know better, is in my opinion no better than the thieves themselves.