Sunday, October 09, 2005

Hello, what's your name?

Locate Cellphone Calls <-- only click if you want to follow up and investigate this scam.

While on the topic of cellphones, I wanted to pass along information of a very clever scam that is making the rounds. My hometown has the largest penetration of cellphones in the country with almost 79% of all adults 16 and older having cellphones. This scam is particularly acute in my area and is spreading internationally.

Essentially it's a scam for cold calling cell phones to obtain your name and number.

Cellphone companies do not publish the numbers of their users, so companies have started to pop up that cold call number blocks to obtain this information "fraudulently".

Example: Area code + a known exchange number for Cingular + random last four digits ranging from 0000 & 0001 to 9999.

The "cold caller" then inquires like this: "Hello, may I speak to Sereda" (or some other uncommon name)

You say: "Sorry, you must have the wrong number."

The "cold caller" continues: "This is 555-555-5555 isn't it?"

You say: "Yes"

The "cold caller" continues: "What is your name? You are not Sereda Tuskavana?"

You say: "No, I'm Jack Whispers"

The "cold caller" hangs up, writes your name and number into a directory and then sells those numbers to the high bidder on their website.

So, just remember, never give out your name if you have a cellphone


Anonymous said...

... or leave your full name or last name on on your answering machine/voicemail.

sullivan said...

wow, how did you find out about that?

thanks for the information.

Mike said...

Another similar one is people will call and say "Hi, who's speaking please?" - a strange ploy that often works, because having heard so few words, most people are too polite to say anything other than what their name actually is.

The correct response is, of course, "Who do you want to speak to?" or something similar. Not rude enough to offend a genuine caller, but firm enough to make a scammer know that you're actually quite savvy.