What percentage of unsolicited phone calls are NOT scams?

There is a ZERO percent chance that I will ever purchase anything as a result of an unsolicited phone call. But I wondered whether ANY of the solicitations might actually be beneficial to some of the recipients. For example, are there any legitimate credit refinancing services that might be of use to someone with multiple high interest loans?

What do you think? Not whether any of the calls you receive are of interest or potential benefit to YOU, but would they be for ANYONE?

I get a lot of calls for political donation, or requests for political volunteering. That can be beneficial if one sees helping to get a politician elected as helpful to themselves.

I get the occasional job recruiting call, I am actually considering a job change, so I have called a couple of recruiters back.

I would guess that a majority of them are not scams. They may not always be good deals or particularly necessary items, but most are likely fully legit.

I work in sales and while I loathe phone sales I know a lot of people who make their living this way selling everything from life insurance to automobiles, to vacations, to almanacs over the phone. All legit. Some of them are actually offering great value, but those guys seem more rare. I know a whole outfit who sells Medicare supplement insurance plans by phone and genuinely save people thousands of dollars a year. Blows my mind that one of the best people a senior could talk to about Medicare is a telemarketer. But if they get a call from one of the guys in this group they would legitimately be better off than with almost anyone else helping them. Now, that’s a rarity. But it exists.

Not many of the ones we get are total scams like MicroSoft “support”, “we can lower your electric bill” and the like but few are worthy. Mostly looking for donations or surveys.

Funny - the vast majority of the calls we get are along the lines of extended warranties for cars we no longer own, and people wanting to talk about our banking/insurance/credit needs. I guess i consider the unsolicited extended warranties little better than scams. The credit/insurance ones, I am suspicious whether they are offering a service I need at a good price. But everyone’s needs differ. And there may be folk who do not realize they could use a service until called.

I guess I will never know which one wasn’t a scam.


Hm, the vast majority I get are spam, though right now I think someone sold my contact as someone going through serious health issues [I don’t think it would be my oncologist’s office, but maybe someone connected with imaging or the test lab. I doubt TriCare would but maybe Cigna??] I am now getting about 1 call a day trying to sell me on some sort of insurance to help me with my extremely heavy medical bills due to having cancer. I am also getting calls from a couple different cancer support type organizations but I don’t mind them.
I still freak people out, I have a cheerful disposition, am positive and in general are almost perky. Look, I weighed it this way - death or chemo, radiation, surgery and lifestyle changes … death does not win. Cortisol combined with a diabetics glucose overload is deadly, as my oncologist called it throwing kerosene on a fire. THe more upset and worried I let myself get the more danger I place myself in. I have to trust my doc and his staff, and so far it is working. I realize our life is going to change and that nothing I do or whinge about will change that so I simply have to ruck up and deal with it. Hence, I try to find something good about everything, like zofran generally kills the nausea, but if I do hurk at least fruit salad and ginger ale taste the same coming back up that it did going down …

I’d say 1 or 2 percent aren’t scams. But I consider any call who’s purpose is to alter my behavior a scam. Political, peddlers, beggars, all of them. If I needed any of those things I would know it.

But, one time it worked comically well for us. At the same time (literally) as our 2 year old refrigerator failed and began emitting smoke, I heard mizPullin answer the phone and say: “Why yes! I really would like to buy the extended warranty!” Which she then purchased over the phone. After concluding the call, we called the warranty number and let them replace the compressor. :slight_smile:


I’ve gotten an extended car warranty through one of these and it paid for my transmission to be replaced twice. I suppose there could be scammers out there peddling bad car warranty deals, but I wouldn’t necessarily classify car warranty calls as so bad.

Yeah, I guess I was a little harsh in my assessment - likely due to the unwelcome nature of these offers. I doubt many of them are outright scams - selling swampland in Florida. But ISTR I used to get a number of the “You have already won!” type, which definitely have a sizable element of scammishness.

Most often, I suspect they are simply something that I do not need or want. I suspect some portion of them might be “not particularly good deals” such that, if you really wanted the service, you could shop around and get a better deal. Of course, that would cost you time and effort, compared to receiving an incoming call.

Glad you had good luck with the extended warranties. At times I will go back and forth on those. My understanding is that with ext warr you are basically gambling against the provider as to whether or not you are going to need services exceeding the premiums. The dealer/financier is betting you won’t. And as a general rule, I figure as long as I have enough savings to cover the anticipated repair/replacement, I’m safe not taking the wager. But I am FAR from expert in consumer financial matters.

None of them. I have investigated every unsolicited phone call I received in the past several years, and as much as I can determine, ALL are scams. No legitimate company makes unsolicited calls anymore. Any who might be tempted are aware that they will be automatically lumped in with the bad guys, so they are suspect from the start.

Then did you immediately cancel the warranty? Or did you let them continue to bill you for renewals, so they made back the money they lost initially?

Either way, you then became a part of the master sucker list, with increased solicitation calls. Many boiler rooms selling one thing sell other stuff as well, and most are not particular about the legitimacy of what they are offering.

Almost all are spam, but only about WAG half are scams. We have a blocker that blocks a lot of the calls, but some calls get thru like local contractors looking for work. I dont like unsolicited calls, but they are not a scam.

They are unwanted but mostly not actual scams. Like do I want to subscribe to this or that newspaper. Or the online pharmacy that I once (over five years ago) ordered Viagra from that calls every few months to ask if I want to renew the order. You’d think after five years, they would give up. Then there are the “mumble-mumble clunk” calls. I assume that they are simply wrong numbers. I have gotten the scam claiming to come from Microsoft claiming that my computer is emitting viruses or something, but they are rare.

There is a big difference between calls from companies that I have established a relationship with that is trying to drum up business. Those don’t disguise their phone number or name or pretend to be in another city or continent than they actually are. Calling them back won’t get a “number not in service” message. Legitimate businesses will leave a message on my voice mail, and not call repeatedly on the same day. They rarely hang up for no reason. They have off-hours recordings that identify the company and on-hours recordings that allow you to specify an extension that actually exists. They won’t have copious negative comments if you do a Google search on the number. Most don’t use Indian support centers.

Legitimate callers do not use the Minute Waltz for hold music, nor say in sped-up English, Your call is very important to us, please stay on the line, nor make the “poike” sound when a clerk connects. These are sure signs of scam artists from India.

Yes, there is a big difference.

Just got a call from a lovely sounding woman looking for donations for some sort of cancer charity … When she asked if we could make a minimum donation when told that I actually have cancer and we have no money I laughed and told her exactly how much I currently have sunk into doctor, lab, imaging, pharmaceuticals and how much more is expected she sort of apologized and said she would put us on the no call list … snicker

My younger son has been amusing himself this summer by answering the phone and talking to them. Oddly enough it seems to come in waves. We had one stretch where it seemed like half the calls were coming from one air vent cleaning company. We might go several weeks without a scammer and then we’ll get multiple calls from the IRS*. One day my son called those guys back a couple dozen times; he asked them if they were hiring; he invited them over for dinner; he told them he was with the FBI and there was a sheriff on the way to their office. They kept blocking his number, but he has an app that lets him change the number.

Overall, I’d say less than 5% are actual scams.

  • India Revenue Scam apparently.

If they are using a spoofed caller ID - its a scam.

EVERY call I get these days is spoofed caller IDs.

Used to be this was true, but anymore caller ID spoofing is becoming industry norm for general sales.

Now again, i say not a scam I mean they are selling a real product. It might be junk. It might be stupid. But it’s real. I assume scam means something like the Microsoft scam or the IRS scam not someone trying to sell who’s who over the phone.