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A Better Way to Fight Scam Calls

by @ 8:22 pm
Filed under: social — Tags: ,

The usual advice on handling scam calls has been to not answer unknown caller id’s or hang up immediately and to not interact, lest the scammers will flag the number as live and will call it more often.

However, a recent extensive study out of NC State has confirmed what I’d always suspected and that is the scammers pay scant attention to if and how the calls are answered and blindly keep on calling. That means they fire up their auto-dialers, sequentially calling numbers and connecting the answered calls to agents regardless of past history.

I get plenty of these calls myself with the immediate telltale sign being a local but unknown caller id. If I have some time to kill, I pick up the call, go through the initial robot IVR qualification steps and when the live agent finally comes on, I just waste their time.

There are plenty ways to waste scammers' time. You can hang up after the initial greeting, talk gibberish, ask them to wait a minute and set the phone down, or just go along pretending that you are interested in whatever junk they are peddling. The scammers are pretty savvy in recognizing time-wasters and hang up rather quickly, but by then you have wasted a bit of their time.

Now If everyone wasted a few seconds of the scammers’ time, that can add up quickly to a substantial loss to them with the effort not justifying the potential gains. That should drive some if not the majority of the scam call centers out of business.

So, go ahead and answer the scam calls. Every time you waste a scammer’s time, there’s the satisfaction of knowing that it might have saved a vulnerable person from falling victim or at least from being annoyed.

Craigslist eBay Motors Car Scam

by @ 1:09 pm
Filed under: internet,web — Tags:

ebay-craigslist-car-scamI'd been in the market for a used car when a too good price on Craigslist caught my attention. I'd sold a street bike on Craigslist a few years ago and had a good experience so figured to go into this but with raised antennas.

An email later, the seller reveals a sob story about the car belonging to her dead husband and wanting to move on. The car's in a great shape with all paperwork in order. Sounds plausible, so can I see the car? Seller replies the car is in some eBay garage across the country in lot number so and so.

No worries, she just needs my info and eBay will contact me about payment. The money will remain with eBay until I receive the car and I have 10 days to inspect it. If any issues, I can return it at no cost to me.

So I ask for the eBay page where the car is listed. Seller says she took it down because of the fees. But really, eBay will make all arrangements.

Yeah, sure man. Of course at this point the full blown scam was obvious, but should have been obvious at Craigslist. A quick Google search revealed that this unholy Craigslist-eBay alliance bait and switch is in fact very popular and a few people have been victimized, buyers and sellers.

So why this post? Just adding one more page to Google's search results to raise the warning volume slightly more.

Read this and stay vigilant. There's plenty more info on this. Just Google it.

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