Wednesday, June 10, 2009



When some company -- or some automated computer -- calls, there is no way to know who the call is coming from. If they leave a phone number/web address to call back, there is no way to know if the number/URL they left is legitimate. If they ask a question and say "Press 1 for yes or 2 for no" , there is no way to know if you are actually triggering some other action, like buying some worthless item for lots of money. Note: They've got you on record! (even though you didn't know what you were doing).

In other words, phone calls from people who say they are the telephone company, or a debt collection company, or a pollster, or a Police Benevolent Fund, [*] or a Cancer charity may not be what/who they say they are.

These calls should be illegal, because even if the call you just got chanced to be legitimate, then the next call from someone saying the exact same thing might be a crook.

If you get a call that sounds legitimate, like the phone company saying you owe money, and you know you do, just thank them for the reminder and pay the way you usually do. DO NOT EVER PAY OVER THE PHONE TO SOMEONE WHO CALLED YOU.

When you call the bank, say, they ask you for your name and some kind of password to verify your identity. When someone calls you and says they are the bank, say, you have the same obligation to verify the caller. Since that is impossible, yes IMPOSSIBLE, you should not respond with any information whatever; even information that sounds innocuous to you, like whether you are the person they say they are calling. If they are pfishing, they can use any information you provide against you.

In response to calls from anyone -- any company -- you do not know, just say, "Thank you for calling, but I never respond to a cold call. Never. Bye Bye." And hang up.

[*] Note. A funny thing... just as I was in the middle of writing this post, at the exact place where the [*] is, I got a call from a "Breast Cancer Charity."

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