I entered a phone number I didn’t recognize into Google and hit search, as I tend to do when I get a phone call from an area code I don’t recognize. My call came from 519-660-8031, which seems to be well represented online, mostly telling variations of the same tale. Sometimes when you pick up the phone, they ask you about your credit card usage history as part of a ‘contest for a million dollar diamond ring’ or similar.
So, you answer some questions that might sound innocuous, and then you’re told that you’ve WON! They just need to know your address, birth date, and some security questions such as what your dog’s name is… nothing big or scary, right? Oh, and there’s the routine bit about a very small issue with a winner’s release statement, or maybe they’re going to send you your ‘prize’ via a courier. It’s just a formality, but due to legalities with the courier, and in order to prevent you from having to pay taxes on your winnings, we just need you to pre-pay the courier so that it appears that you’re buying this ‘prize’ and that you won’t have to pay taxes! The tax story likely plays better in the US, as in Canada you don’t pay tax on any lottery, draw, or game show prize you win. So, just give them your VISA number, and the three digit code on the back, as well as the expiry date, and you’ll get your prize in 4-6 weeks.
So, they have your street address, your credit card information, and likely security questions such as your pet’s name, maybe your mother’s maiden name, your birth date, and if they’re good, even your social insurance number. The hard part is over, and now they can assume your identity… and you’ve even paid them to do so.
One example of stories from this “PSI” (Publisher’s Secure Incorporated) company, who have come up under at least a dozen different phone numbers in the 519 area code;
Yep. Got several calls now. (Both from 519-660-6672 and 519-660-4395) I answer and they just hang up. I called them back. Both of them. The first number I get a voicemail “Your call has been forwarded to an automatic voice message system…”phoooo” is not available, please leave a message”. “Phoo” sounds like someone blowing into the receiver. I’ve called several times. During the day, it goes straight to VM, at night, it rings several times THEN goes to VM. So I call several times in the middle of the night. Just for fun. The second number, and I LOVE THIS, rings several times – again in the middle of the night – and you get someones voicemail. It’s some guy saying “I’ve hacked into this voicemail, and if you’re getting calls from this number, it’s a scam.” I LOVE IT. I wish I was smart enough to hack into the first one’s voicemail!!!!!!!
If they call back, I think I’ll play along and see if I can’t convince them that I don’t feel secure telling them my credit card number over the phone; could I fax them a copy of my card so that I was more secure from identity theft? Maybe email them? See if I can’t get more information out of them than they get out of me.