Am I being scammed? If so, how does it work?
October 24, 2013 6:22 PM Subscribe
A solicitation telephone call from a long distance number leaves a message saying I've qualified for blah blah blah. This happens literally twenty times a day from 10 - 12 different numbers. I was out of town for a few days and my voicemail box filled with these messages. They're not calling any more (more or less), but I think/worry that in getting them to stop, I somehow played into their hands. Did I?
posted by janey47 to technology (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
When I got home to find that my voicemail was full, I was furious, so I found all the numbers associated with these calls on my caller ID, and called one to give them a piece of my mind and to say "stop." The response then led me to call each one separately to halt the calls.
When I called each number, I got a recording that said "Press any key on your keypad to be removed from this list." Initially I tried to wait on the line to talk to a human being to say "take me off ALL your lists" but nothing happened. So I pushed a number. The recording said "thank you" and dropped the call.
It appears that the numbers I call do not call me again. So in a way I'm satisfied. But it makes no sense to me that this would benefit them in any way. What do they get out of it if I call back and can't claim my "prize" (which would of course be some scammy thing that I have to pay an arm & a leg for but which they say is free)?
So that made me think that there's some benefit to them that lies simply in my calling the number. They are all long distance numbers, but the long distance fee goes to the phone company, not them. And if it were a fee-based number I would expect them to try to keep me on the line.
So is there any way that simply connecting with the number, however briefly, would cause my telephone number to be charged a premium that would be sent to them?
I guess if I just wait a month and look at my phone bill I can figure it out better, but I'm having a hard time letting go of the question. I know from friends who are more tech-oriented not to respond to scam emails but just to delete them, because by responding I would confirm that the email is in use, but I can't just delete 12 to 20 voicemails a day, every day for the rest of my life.
Can anyone explain this or think of any reason other than pure spite that any scam artist would do this? I tried to explain the question to AT&T but they just wanted to put me on a DNC list and that wasn't my question, ha.