Thursday, June 18, 2009

Distraction and Yellow Page Scammers

I consider myself an observant person. I notice things and remember. My husband has called me at work to help him find something at home. Frustrating as this phone call can be, I usually remember where the item can be found. I try to keep myself aware of my surroundings and not be distracted.

This week I failed to be observant and aware because I was distracted. On Tuesday, my Dad had a cardiac catheterization. They were checking his heart to determine if he has a blockage. I was worried about him and waiting to hear the results of his test. The phone rang at work and I was expecting it to be my Mom with the results. On the other end of the phone was a Scammer who happened to call when I was distracted. The phone call went something like this:

Scammer: “This is a courtesy call to update your free online business yellow page listing.”

He read off the company’s name, address and phone number.

Me: “Yes, that is correct.”

Scammer: “Thank you for verifying the information. In order to update the listing in the computer, I need you to answer a few recorded questions to confirm. I will dial the number and help with the prompts.”

He dialed a number and continued.

Scammer: “Please answer the questions loud and clear. I will hit all the prompts.”

Faint Recording: State the name of the Company

I could faintly hear the recording.

Scammer: “Name of company”

I replied.

Faint Recording: State the physical address

Scammer: “They are looking for the address.”

I replied. A few questions were asked requesting basic information. Each time the Scammer would help by stating the question.

Scammer: “The final question verifying that you approve the update.”

Very Faint Recording: “….approve…..$39.95…..months”

Me: HEY! Wait a minute! I heard the recording mention $39.95.

CLICK

The Scammer ended the call.

On a normal day, I would not have answered the questions. I know about the phone frauds for online Yellow Page listings. Why did I answer the questions? There is only one reason I can think of….I was distracted. It can happen so quickly. I let my guard down and gave a Scammer a window of opportunity.

I am irritated at myself and wondered how often I get distracted. Am I easily distracted? I did not think so…but maybe I am…I hope not.

I write this post as a reminder to myself...pay attention.

4 comments:

John W. Zimmer said...

Good catch... scammers are getting more creative. I've heard of dropping thumb drives at business entrances so unsuspecting employees would pick them up and plug them into their work computers to see what was on them...

I get a lot of paypal/ebay/nigerian free money emails that if I did not ask for it - I don't even look anymore. :(

Michele said...

John: Thanks. It was a close one! I did not want to hand my boss a bill for several hundred dollars.

Yesterday, I received three phone calls requesting "verification". Ugh.

SueC said...

I did a blog writing course a few months ago and we talked about the dangers of 'drip feeding' personal information about yourself and family over a period of time. Anyone collecting these 'drips' in their 'bucket' would soon have a complete picture of you and your personal information.

I think the same applies to phone scammers. You never know if the same person is phoning you under a different guise and gradually getting more and more information about you over time. You may not think you've given enough away in one go - but if they're collecting the drips...

Best to just put the phone down as I'm sure you usually do. Hope your dad's okay.

Michele said...

Hi Sue: Thanks for the information about 'drip feeding'. Creepy. I try to be careful what I post but now I am wondering about the 'drips'.

I foiled two more yellow page scammers today. :)

Thank you for asking about my Dad. He is doing fine. He does not have a blockage but has a leaky valve. The doctors are hoping medication will help.