Mises Economics Blog
The Angry Economist
Civilian Gun Self-Defense
In The Pipeline
Fall of the State
Worst Phishing Scam Ever
I just had an interesting telephone call. Two calls, actually. (I hung up on them and they immediately called back!) They pretended to be calling from a mortgage company, collecting information to have someone call me back later to make a refinancing offer. They called me "Markley", apparently unaware that I had a first name.
There were two things that made this special.
The first was that when I told the lady I didn't believe her company could give me a better rate than 5%, she kept asking for my information anyway and said "you're breaking my heart" several times. I couldn't help but think of Eric Cartman's sales line "you're breakin' my balls". Hint: Legitimate salespeople will go away peacefully when they realize they won't be able to make a competitive offer. This lady thought she'd have no problem giving me a better than 5% rate on a fixed mortgage. I know better.
The second, and more amusing, aspect of this phishing expedition is that after I hung up and she called back and I asked to be put on their Do Not Call list, a man came on the line and started insulting me and swearing at me after saying that he would not put me on the Do Not Call list. The best part was that he used Indian insults, e.g. calling me a "choot" (which you can look up if you want to).
I asked him "is this a real business?" and he responded "no, it's a dance club." I let a dramatic pause elapse and said, "I don't hear any music." From the background noises I could hear, it did in fact sound like a call center. Judging from the time of the call and the thick accents, the call probably did originate from a call center in India. Is this how bored or unhappy employees are passing the time nowadays?
The telephone call ended when he told me to hang up and I said "no, you hang up." Eventually he did.
I do believe this was more sinister than prank. Several weeks ago I believe I was contacted by a much calmer person in the same group. He couldn't understand that I wasn't willing to give him my Social Security number over the telephone and wouldn't take "no" for an answer. I had to hang up on him, too, but there was no call-back and no stream of insults. Both times, the people were very interested in my information.
I wanted to use Call Trace (*57) to report these choads scammers, but after a quick search online I was unable to determine how much it would cost me. (It's not free, to discourage frivolous use.) I wrote an e-mail to Verizon customer support encouraging them to publish the fee on their website. I will not, on principle, use a feature if I'm unable to determine its cost.