— Life —

I ALMOST FELL FOR A PHONE SCAM

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Today was going to be a fun blog post, but I decided it was more important to tell you about two phone calls I received, allegedly from Spectrum, and a recording that gave me two options: “Press ‘one’ to hear about Spectrum’s new internet packages that could lower your monthly rates. Press ‘two’ if you don’t want to receive any further calls.” I always hang up on calls like these, but this time I thought I’d hear them out.

It was convincing. I’ll give them that…. Until the guy on the phone got creepy.

For starters I could hear the other “Spectrum operators” in the background who were supposedly calling other customers, and when he put me on hold to check something with his supervisor, canned music played in the background. It mimicked everything about a legit call.

“I see your current monthly bill is $260.34,” he said. Then he asked how many TVs I had, and if I wanted to keep their Silver package which includes HBO and Showtime. Next he wanted to know what company I use for my long-distance provider, and I told him. When he and I decided on a lower monthly rate of $186, he said, “To make sure we’re making changes to the right account would you please reconfirm your address?” I gave it to him, then he said he needed a valid form of ID like a driver’s license number or a state-issued identification card.

That’s when a little bell went off in my head. “Hey, you called me,” I said. “You should already know who I am and have everything you need to make changes to my account.”

Then he asked, “Do you live alone?”

Say what?

Next the alleged Spectrum guy said, “I asked you that because I’m having trouble making the changes. It could be that you have more than one phone number. If so I’ll need to send you a link to your long-distance provider. Just click on the link, and it will ask you to fill-in your social security number and confirm each of your accounts.”

That’s when I said, “Don’t call me, again,” but would you believe he called me AGAIN this morning, from a different phone number, to see if I’d ‘thought it over.’

“My husband and I aren’t interested,” I said, in case he put that together with his question of Do you live alone. “And we’re calling the FBI.”

Then I called the two numbers the scammer had used. Both were disconnected. I also reported the calls to the White-Collar Crime Division of the San Antonio Police Department who told me to expect to hear from them again: Now that they have some of my information, they will come at me from a different direction with another phone scam and new phone numbers. It’s how they operate.

Watch out! Scammers are like cockroaches. They will be with us until the end of time. Their mothers must be so proud.

Love, Brenda

30 Comments

  • Linda L Floyd July 3, 2021 at 11:18 am

    They are so good at it! Just think what these cockroaches could achieve if they put their efforts into really doing something positive for the world!
    They hit your “hot spots”; fear or savings of some kind! Mine called and said they were discontinuing my gas and electric that very afternoon because they had not received payment for 2 months. My husband does the bills and he was out of town…had he forgotten to pay? So, the same as you, I started giving them the some information. Luckily my little bell went off when they asked for my address as well…”shouldn’t you have that?”. I hung up and called the gas company….”It’s a scam!”
    Be wary out there, these scammers are everywhere! I just think of all the elderly who have no one to council them and they fall prey to these scumbags!
    Thanks for posting the warning!
    Linda

    • 1010ParkPlace July 3, 2021 at 4:29 pm

      Linda, Earning a dollar is hard work, and I think it would be even harder to con someone out of their money. In some twisted way I think this boosts their ego: Look how smart I am! Something they wouldn’t feel about themselves any other way. You’re so right: They appeal to our soft spots, the things that scare us most like running out of money. Good for both of us for catching on and hanging up! xoxo, Brenda

  • Barbara July 3, 2021 at 12:45 pm

    I tried to leave you a comment earlier this morning, but your website wouldn’t let me. Thanks for telling us about this because I never thought phone scammers would imitate a large corporation like Spectrum. So many ways we have to look out for ourselves that we never had to do before. Xo, Barbara

    • 1010ParkPlace July 4, 2021 at 12:09 pm

      Sorry you had trouble with the website today. We’ve been migrating it to another server and as technology is prone to do, it threw a few glitches into the system. Yes, beware of scammers! xoxo, Brenda

  • Barb July 3, 2021 at 12:52 pm

    I tried to leave you a comment earlier but your site wouldn’t let me. Thanks for the information. I guess I didn’t think phone scammers would pretend to be large corporations like Spectrum.

  • Erin July 3, 2021 at 5:36 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story!

    • 1010ParkPlace July 4, 2021 at 12:19 pm

      You’re welcome! Thank you, Erin, for leaving me a note! XOXOX

  • 1010ParkPlace July 4, 2021 at 12:12 pm

    Bonnie, So many negative scams and topics seem to be coming at us from directions we didn’t expect. xoxox, Brenda

  • 1010ParkPlace July 4, 2021 at 12:15 pm

    Used to fund terrorists? That makes it even worse! Good grief! Doreen, since you read the manuscript I am doing an important rewrite, having to dig deep. xoxox, Brenda

  • 1010ParkPlace July 4, 2021 at 12:18 pm

    Hi Squeak! How’ve you been! I hope you and everyone you love has avoided Covid. LOL! Hope you pressed the right one! The problem now days is we just don’t know. It’s like playing darts in the dark just to answer our phone. xoxox, Brenda

  • Rose July 4, 2021 at 4:37 pm

    Hi there

    I hate scammers. I was getting emails re NETFLIX which I do not have. Tracked down Net’s head office/fraud dept – printed off the emails to them and sent them by snail mail and they were fast in replying! They really keep on top of scams. It’s been a year and no more emails re this scam. Other scam emails I get – I print them off and send them to our Canadian govt fraud dept back east. Unless they get reported our govt finds it very hard to break up the scam rings. Phone calls – used to get a lot re computer – I finally told a guy I don’t have a computer at home but at work – I will give you the IT number to call. Those scammers have been silent for quite awhile. Years ago used to get calls re Microsoft Windows – I told one scammer I’ve already washed my windows – don’t need them cleaned. This finally stopped the M W calls.

    • 1010ParkPlace July 7, 2021 at 12:18 pm

      Wow, Rose! Way to go! You’ve stepped up and stopped them. I’m impressed! Thanks for inspiring me. Brenda

  • Adela July 5, 2021 at 9:03 am

    The worst part is that once these scammers have your begged for a mark, they sell your name to other scammers. Seniors have been flagged as vulnerable.

    • 1010ParkPlace July 8, 2021 at 12:33 pm

      You’re so right, Adela. It’s an endless do-loop we can’t get out of. Brenda

  • Diane July 5, 2021 at 1:42 pm

    Last year I was called 92 times by someone claiming to be from the CRA (Canada Revenue). 92! I blocked each and every number when the call came and they just used a different one. Each call was the same: Police were on their way to arrest me for non-payment of taxes. I was able to find it laughable because I do our taxes and knew we were up to date and accurate, but I could sure see how it would scare someone who was unsure! I did get scammed by a company claiming to be my domain provider. You are right. They were so official!

    • 1010ParkPlace July 8, 2021 at 12:36 pm

      Hi Diane, That is beyond scary! My older neighbor fell for something like that and even though he knows the Internal Revenue wouldn’t call him and ask him to send money, it’s messed with his mind until he’s not 100% convinced. Getting older is difficult and it leaves us feeling vulnerable. xoxo, Brenda

  • Yvonne July 6, 2021 at 7:51 am

    I received calls claiming to be the CRA also and I let them go to voicemail and then no more calls. Scammers hate voicemail. It’s the best way to get rid of them. I receive emails claiming to be Canada Post and I just press Delete. You have to be on your guard all the time. Imagine all the good that could be done if they use their time and energy in a positive way.

    • Brenda Coffee July 8, 2021 at 12:44 pm

      Great tip! Let it go to voicemail. You’re right, Yvonne! Scammers hate that. xoxox, Brenda

  • Hilda Smith July 6, 2021 at 8:34 am

    I get them daily at the moment from someone saying my PPS number has been compromised. They use different numbers each day and I let calls go to voicemail. I only answer calls from people in my address book. Thanks for sharing. x

    • Brenda Coffee July 8, 2021 at 12:48 pm

      Hilda, Ninety percent of the time I only answer calls from people in my address book, but there are times when I know I’ll received a business call, but I don’t know their number, so I answer it. Grrrr…. xoxox, Brenda

  • Antionette Blake July 6, 2021 at 10:28 am

    Yes, these scammers never sleep and they are getting on my nerves – glad that you felt and followed your gut.

    • Brenda Coffee July 8, 2021 at 12:52 pm

      LOL! Yes, Antionette! They never sleep! Kind of like the Devil who’s always looking to trip someone up. xoxo, Brenda

  • Rena McDaniel July 6, 2021 at 12:01 pm

    It’s easy to be duped by those awful people. When my mom had her hip replaced (many years ago). I stayed with her to take care of her. I was shocked and appalled when I started answering her phone. People were calling from all over asking her to send them money or more money depending on the call. I told them they should be ashamed of themselves. and she is an elderly woman who lives on a small monthly allotment. Some were legitimate charities that prey on older folks with sad stories etc. They are easily talked into giving up their money. Within one week I had counted 37 calls asking for money. This leads us to check her accounts to see that she had given these places hundreds of dollars. This is when we decided that living alone was no longer a good idea. That’s when my caregiving really began! That was our first tip though that there were issues. It all started with a phone call.

    • Brenda Coffee July 8, 2021 at 12:51 pm

      I have the same story about my mother, Rena! When I went for a visit and started answering Mother’s phone and watched how she “balanced” her checkbook, I realized she needed to be in assisted living. I don’t have children, so I can only pray someone will be there to watch out for me. xoxox, Brenda

  • Rose July 7, 2021 at 9:25 pm

    Hi there

    I just have to comment again as this is too funny! I sent an email comment on July 4th.
    Last week I received an email (legitimate) that I had won a contest and the prize would be sent in the mail. So I have been expecting it to arrive.
    When I arrived home yesterday the prize had arrived.
    When I checked my junk e-mail there was supposedly an e-mail from Canada Post (but the email address was @shaw.ca) stating:
    We were unable to deliver your parcel as there was no one present to sign for the delivery.
    It was returned to the warehouse.
    Click below and Schedule Parcel Collection.
    TOO funny! Canada Post for one would NEVER send an e-mail – a card would be left to pick up your parcel at the local post office.
    I shall be printing off the email to send to Canada Post fraud dept and the Canadian Anti Fraud Agency.

    • Brenda Coffee July 8, 2021 at 12:54 pm

      Rose, Good for you for being so smart and aware. There are more ways to scam us than we could possibly imagine. xoxox, Brenda

  • Kat July 9, 2021 at 9:51 am

    I’m glad you were able to see through this!

    • Brenda Coffee July 9, 2021 at 2:15 pm

      Thanks, Kat, for your comment and for reading my blog! There are so many scams out there for us to dodge. Here’s hoping you avoid them as well. Best, Brenda

  • Donna Nance July 10, 2021 at 7:42 pm

    Glad your “Spidey” sense kicked in and you avoided a problem. That guy was a real creep. It’s getting so you can’t even answer your own phone without someone harassing you about some nonsense. Years ago the Urban Farmer’s mother called me and said “I think I’ve done something wrong”. Some fellow called, saying he was from Social Security and could save her money on her diabetic supplies. She very cheerfully gave him her SS number. I called the sheriff’s office and a deputy came to her home to file a claim. We followed her credit report but nothing ever happened, no money taken out, no loans taken out in her name. I am following my 86 year old sister-in-law’s lead: let the unidentified calls go to voice mail and return them if necessary.

    Take care, give Annie a hug for me. The boys Riley and Jacob would share their Trader Joe’s chicken treats with her. xoxo

    • 1010parkplace July 11, 2021 at 6:15 pm

      Awe! So sweet, Doona! You and Riley and Jacob. I’ll check into those treats. As much as I’m disappointed to let unidentified calls go to voicemail, it is the smartest thing we can do in the times we live in. xoxox, Brenda

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