Scammers and Slammers
Todays blog is about an ongoing issue that really annoys me and many other people, however for various reasons, depending on how much you understand what is actually happening.
How is it that even though I have registered on the National “Do not call register” I am still bombarded with unsolicited calls especially from telstra and other service providers?
Link to register information here https://www.donotcall.gov.au/
Firstly I should state that a lot of these calls actually have nothing to do with the company the caller identifies themselves as calling on behalf of!
The number that you see on the screen of your phone no longer has anything to do with where the call originated. It is easily faked but sometimes they are not smart and it is easy to spot ( I have received calls from an idiot that displayed 000) but sometimes it is impossible to tell.
Many of these calls are scams of various degrees of seriousness. Internet service providers (ISPs) may well call you regarding your service, new offers or offers to upgrade your services but they will NEVER call you to advise of a faulty line or equipment which is purported to be affecting the network. This would be done in writing if required.
IF YOU ARE NOT SURE WHO YOU ARE TALKING TO DO NOT GIVE OUT INFORMATION!!
A real employee will have information easily available for you to confirm who they are, such as your account number and/or the date of your last transaction with them. Having said this the best course of action if you are not sure of their identity is to HANG UP! If it really is an ISP they will find another way to contact you.
ISPs are bound by rules regarding pushy sales tactics, although this sometimes does still happen ( you should report it if you feel uncomfortable) it will generally mean they are not who they say they are.
Pushy telco sales people are annoying but that is nowhere near the worst of it. Many of the calls you get are from unscrupulous ISPs that are simply trying to get you to change your phone service to them by any means, legal or not. In many instances I am aware of people have found themselves being billed by a company they have never heard of with no knowledge of accepting any new deal.
The industry term for this is SLAMMING. http://acma.gov.au/~/media/Numbering%20and%20Projects/Fact%20sheet/pdf/Greater%20protection%20against%20slamming.pdf
There are several tricks to this one, they call and say they are from an ISP you may be with (they have no records so often they pick the wrong one, in that case, HANG UP!) and say they have a new deal for you. The telephonists are quite believable sometimes and can offer you a deal you feel would be worth taking, so you agree. Unfortunately if you do not check who is really calling you could now be signed up to Bodgitt and Leggit Telcoms and will not know until you receive their exhorbitant bill in a few months.
So how do I make sure who I am talking to?
A real ISP has a well known contact number, ask for an employee I.D. number and call back on the number listed on your phone bill. Do NOT call on any other number!
One more step up the heirachy of bastards is the call centre that cold calls, purports to be anyone from telstra to Microsoft to the ATO and simply hopes they can trick you into saying the word “YES”
Once they have harvested this linguistic gem from you they edit it into a prerecorded spiel stating all the information they would really have to tell you if they were not scamming mongrels and happily store it in their archives, meanwhile you just got SLAMMED!
There are ways out of this situation, unfortunately none of them are quick, easy or pleasant.
I have had instances where customers have been scammed into porting to a “substandard provider” (I have another, less flattering term but my mum might read this) who then did not bother paying the company they onsold the service from, which resulted in all their ‘customers’ being disconnected for non payment. Try getting out of that mess easily!
The highest on the scale of bastardry I reserve for the straight out scammers that target the elderly and other less tech savvy among us. I really have to try hard with my language for this section.
As I have stated, your ISP will NOT call you to say your equipment is affecting the network, Microsoft will NOT call you to help with your computer (trying clicking help on a windows machine one day if you don’t believe me) and the Australian Tax Office will NOT call and say you must transfer them funds right this instant.
This is a link to Scamwatch, a very good site. Take the time to check it out
I could carry on but I get angry.. Suffice to say
NEVER GIVE OUT BANK DETAILS – OR CREDIT CARD NUMBERS
NEVER ALLOW ANYONE YOU DO NOT KNOW TO INSTALL OR RUN SOFTWARE ON YOUR COMPUTER-
NEVER DISCLOSE PERSONAL INFORMATION-
AND AT ALL TIMES IF YOU ARE NOT SURE HANG UP!!
If it is a real call from a real person they will understand, even if you are me and mum is not around and I preface hanging up with an obnoxious tirade of language that would make Gordon Ramsay blush… Actually I recommend this, it is quite cathartic and while people blush and say “Oh they are just doing their job” I would say F*@k theives that target the elderly, they deserve everything they get, and when did robbing Nana become a job?