I just got a call from one of those scammers. I knew it was a scam call because the phone number only showed seven digits—we now have to dial ten, so this is always a sign of spoofing—and the first three for the exchange matched mine. Whenever it’s a call coming from a number with the first three digits as my own, I know it’s spoofed. I get the same spoofing on my cell from time to time. Both are in “unusual” exchanges where the odds of getting a call from someone else in the same one are about nil. (Although I did once get a call from someone who had themselves been on the receiving end of a spoof, with the scammers using my number.)
The big thing, though, is that if it’s a major company calling you, they probably have an 8xx toll free number.
Today’s call claimed to be from Visa/Mastercard—a red flag since they don’t act under the same umbrella—and said there would be changes to my account before the next billing cycle. The hook for me to talk to them was that I supposedly now qualify for 0% interest on certain purchases, and I’d have to talk to them to set that up. But that’s not the sneaky part.
The sneaky bit is where before they set that hook, they said that if I’d already received notification of the changes in the mail, I could press 3 to acknowledge I’d gotten the news and not be called again. Now of course, I know from experience the “don’t call me again” button doesn’t work, but it was exceptionally clever of these guys to suggest there was official communication inbound and that the call was just a courtesy to essentially save me time getting that shiny new rate.
And that’s the thing a lot of people don’t realize about con artists: The good ones will always give you an out, make sure you feel like you can walk away from their offer. There will be pressures to jump on their phony opportunity, like a supposedly limited time, high return on investment, etc., but they want you to talk yourself into going for it. Everyone is going to resist if they feel someone is pushing them, but if they don’t push, our own psychology can trick us into reaching for that carrot.
Well played, scammers. Enjoy it now, because when I become a supervillain I will make it legal to literally hunt you guys.