Early this morning I awoke with a start. When our house phone rang, the caller ID listed our home number. How is that possible? Suddenly, I felt like Drew Barrymore (above) in the movie Scream. I nervously picked up the phone expecting the person on the other end to say, "Are you alone in the house?" Instead I got a recorded message urging me to find out more about lowering my credit card rates. I'm not sure if I was imagining the heavy breathing or not, but I showed them, by quickly hanging up.
Later, I went to CNBC contributor, Herb Weisbaum for answers. He spoke to Bikram Bandy, head of the Do Not Call program at the FTC, "A person's own phone number is not likely to be on the blacklist, so these telemarketers hope to beat the filtering software by spoofing that number."
According to the Council of Better Business Bureaus, I could have been the victim of one of several different "phishing scams." If I had stayed on the line longer, the "robo call" might have asked me to "verify my credit card number under the guise of lowering (my) interest rates."
The BBB offered these common sense tips on What to do if a scammer calls:
Just when I was starting to feel better about learning how to protect myself from scammers, I heard how showering can be a dangerous experience.
In a recent study conducted by two dermatologists, daily showers were shown to put your body at risk. As mentioned on the Today Show, "Showering too often: dehydrates skin, irritates skin, washes away good bacteria, and increases risk of infection." The dermatologists recommend showering every two to three days in frigid weather depending on "how active you are."
Now I look forward to ignoring both familiar and unfamiliar phone calls, while lying around in my own filth. Why do I suddenly feel like I'm living a college boy's dream?
I'm laughing about what you look forward to, Julie. Oy vey. Really, people? They should not publicize that bit on showering. Now, we can look forward to the men in our lives lying with us in our accumulated, combined filth between frigid showers that undoubtedly cause increased potential for shrinkage. At least, we'd miss the double dose of phishy scam calls. What is the world coming to?ReplyDelete
Don't answer the phone ever! Using your own number? That is criminal.ReplyDelete
I'm thinking I won't be showering in any frigid water thank you very much.ReplyDelete
>>... The dermatologists recommend showering every two to three days in frigid weather depending on "how active you are."ReplyDelete
I'm not active at all, so I shower once every 7 to 10 days. Unfortunately, what I save on my water bill gets absorbed by what I spend on deoderant. But at least my skin isn't dehydrated.
'Loyal American Underground'
Robyn - At least I still have your fun blog, and upcoming book to look forward to! Good point about shrinkage, though it will be a miracle if we survive the stench!ReplyDelete
Alex - If I do answer the phone, I'll keep one finger on the off button just in case I have
to hang up in a hurry! You're right it is criminal!
Delores - Just abstain altogether! Filthy living is in vogue right now!
Stephen - Didn't you hear that too much deodorant can kill you too! Just be stinky like the rest of us! Where's your team spirit?
That is just weird; your own phone number comes up? My son calls me on his cellphone and my name shows as the caller (both our phones are on the same account). I hope I'm not up to no good, too.ReplyDelete
If daily showers put you at risk, call me a daredevil.
I have to admit that when I am downstairs and want to talk to my husband who is upstairs, I call him on his cell using our landline. It saves me from screaming and busting a vocal cord for him just to ignore me anyway.ReplyDelete
That certainly was strange that your phone # came up on your caller ID. Those scumbags find a way to get around everything.
The dermatologist is correct but I am not ever going to give up my wake up showers and my go to bed baths. I steam all the mirrors up and therefore don't notice my dry, scaly skin.
Cherdo - It makes sense that your name would still appear, but it was very creepy to see our name and home phone number appear on our landline. I've always liked daredevils, Cherdo!ReplyDelete
Arleen - I agree that it's better to protect your vocal chords now, to save up for the
more important screaming later. The scary part is that this probably confuses the heck out of older people who are more at risk for falling for these scams. Keep steaming up the bathroom mirrors, and don't forget to moisturize!
I'm disappointed that the BBC didn't mention the option of giving the scammers bogus information. If enough good citizens sent them on wild goose chases, it would put them out of business. The only good bacteria I ever saw were dead.ReplyDelete
Gorilla - Only you and Smacker Ramrod would be devious enough to pull off such a caper. We should have these calls forwarded to your jungleline, so both of you could outsmart the con artists! Of course it would be easier to just hang up, but where's the fun in that?! Yes, I suppose the live bacteria would be more of a nuisanceDelete
Your last line cracked me up.ReplyDelete
I often follow that showering rule, but that's when I'm not going anywhere and have been fairly inactive which in both cases is frequently. Going out though I feel I must shower and get dressed--especially the latter.
I'm seem to recall getting a call in the past with my own number on the ID, but there was never any answer. Maybe a reason to be more scared? I'm not inundated with calls, but I get enough solicitor calls to be somewhat irksome. A lot of people want to install solar panels, improve my house, or clean my air ducts. Just so they don't want to come over to give me a bath.
Tossing It Out
I never answer my house phone. Not even sure why I have it. Lol I'm not telling my son the shower thing.ReplyDelete
Never knew they could spoof your own number. I just ignore them and let it ring. Sometimes I'll screw with them though if the cat is in a mood and answer it, making him meow into the phone lolReplyDelete
It's no so much the shower, but what is in the shower, i.e. chlorine and the like. If it was good clean water, none of that would apply much.
How horrible that these people exist and think up these dreadful ways to trick and frighten others.ReplyDelete
None of the boys I know avoid showering, but my whole family has given up answering phone calls because it's never been someone other than a telemarketer or my over-stressed aunt.ReplyDelete
We don't even have a land line for the phone anymore because the only calls we got on there were from salesmen and such. We use strictly cell phones. It's crazy the length the spammers will go to!ReplyDelete
It is a fact Matt got skin trouble on his back from too much scrubbing in the shower, the doc said he scrubbed off all the healthy oils. The calls we get are Unknown Name but a couple of times I have answered the ones with local numbers and it has been someone I know calling us!!! One time I had a call at 3 a.m., no caller id in the bedroom, from some idiot telling me I had a problem with my computer and should go turn it on and let them fix it, yeah, right!ReplyDelete
very weird to see your own phone number - I liked the Scream reference. If you are going to be like a college boy wallowing without showering - I suggest ordering pizza, buying doritos, and not counting calories, fat grams, or salt intake. Chug a beer and burp loudly. Makes us proudReplyDelete
Scammers are deplorable and I have had elderly clients who were taken advantaged of. I have been awful and when i get one of those calls who want to sell me something or ask too many questions, i once started to breathe heavy on the phone and started to act the Meg Ryan scene from When Harry Met Sally...oddly enough they hung up. As for showering, I knew about that years ago and agree with it as long as one is not active, sweaty and still clean you know where dailyReplyDelete
Lee - I also draw the line at having a solicitor come over to give me a bath! Ha, ha! Good one, Lee!ReplyDelete
Miranda - I'm not mentioning it to my sons either, just in case! Most college boys I knew looked perfectly clean, but I couldn't say the same about their living conditions.
Pat - I'm sure they love talking to your cat! As for the shower, it also depends on water temps, what type of soap you use, and how hard you scrub your body.
Carole - I agree that it's pretty horrible! As soon as you think you're free of scammers, they find new ways to slither back in.
Michael - If you don't answer when your aunt calls, she's probably even more stressed, and thinks the worst has happened to you. I'd still answer her calls, but keep them as short as possible. Glad you hang out with a clean crew, Michael! I wasn't worried about you!
Daisy - I still need to have a landline, as I have trouble balancing the cell phone while I'm doing things around the house. I can't cradle it on my neck like a larger house phone while I'm washing dishes or doing laundry. I'm really the only one that uses our house phone regularly.
Jo - I'm so glad you didn't fall for that 3 am phone call! A lot of people get frightened into giving these con artists all of their personal information. Hope your husband is doing okay. Some of those skin irritations can be pretty painful.
Joanne - I would love some pizza, and ranch Doritos right now! All of the pizza delivery places knew who I was in college. Talk about a claim to fame! I actually never saw any of the Scream movies, but I remember that line from the previews.I wish I had the ability to burp on cue. Maybe I'll start practicing! Ha, ha!
Birgit - I would love to see you do that great scene from Katz's Deli! I actually went there in New York, because I loved the movie! You have to be careful, as the wrong person might get a little too excited and head directly to your house. This is pretty unlikely, as many callers are from different countries, but I still wouldn't give my best performance. I also wouldn't tell them that you just cleaned "you know where." It just might send the wrong message! This was fun, Birgit!
We have a referee's whistle hanging by the kitchen phone. An occasional telemarketer gets the treatment of a shrill blast followed by "Did you get his number, sheriff? It's the one you want."ReplyDelete
Beats the snot out of "Don't call again."
Joanne - I love it! My younger son is a coach, so I'll have to borrow his whistle! I'm sure they immediately put you on the "Don't Call" list after that happens!Delete
Susan - I agree that Joanne's response was "excellent!" I can't wait to read where you left off after high school graduation on your blog!
What will they think of next? I think they need to take more showers.ReplyDelete
Luckily I'm anti-phone enough to rarely answer it if I don't recognize the number, but using the owner's own number to scam them? That's low. Sad thing is, those calls must work on people or they wouldn't keep doing it.ReplyDelete
Carol - There's no question that people need to take more showers when you're on a crowded bus, train or plane in the middle of the summer. I'm surprised the airlines don't add that to their long list of rules.ReplyDelete
Luanne - I couldn't imagine who was on the other line, so I had to pick up. They're counting on reaching curious customers. Sadly, when this blows over, they'll be on to their next scam.
Thanks for your visit, Julie. Will let you know if I finish it, between caring for husband.ReplyDelete
As long as something works for scammers, they will keep doing it. There are lots of stories out there about the elderly getting taken by scammers. It's so sad that these scammers don't care who they are hurting.ReplyDelete
I rarely answer my phone unless I recognize the number and I feel like talking. :-) As I tell my son, I'm under no obligation to answer the phone just because it's there and it rings--it's a tool, not life and death requirement. That message is lost on his age group.ReplyDelete
Now I know if I see my own phone# come up on caller ID it's a scammer. :-)
I've always preferred showers over baths but mine are warm not hot. The only time I take more than one shower in a day is if I've been working outside and am sweaty and dirty.
Sia McKye Over Coffee
Absolutely right. That's one of the reason that I programmed my phone to have a special ring in case my kids or wife calls. then, I don't even have to get off my FA to answer the phone if it's a regular ring.Delete
Since I provided a snarky retort on Facebook (good grief, it's almost like I lead a double life), I'll be serious here.ReplyDelete
If I do not recognize the phone number, I NEVER pick up. Of course, I miss some genuine calls, but I hope people leave a message. Then, I call them right back.
And, if I see my OWN number, I realize that's not right and don't pick it up.
And, if I see my dog dancing around the yard dressed in my clothes while smoking a pipe, then I realize that maybe those brownies weren't what they were advertised to be.
Sorry. I just couldn't help myself.
Carole - I hope your husband is doing okay. He's very lucky to have you!ReplyDelete
Susanne - Yes, I really do feel badly for the elderly victims. They really try to scare them into revealing all of the personal information.
Sia - Sounds like you are prepared for anything! I've also stopped answering toll free calls. Glad you're showering responsibly!
Al - It's nice to know you don't have to get off your " FA" to answer just any old ring! Thanks for your snarky retort on FB. I really appreciate it, since I always debate posting my stories there, but I know at least two or three people may actually be reading them. I would love to see your dancing dog dressed in your clothes while smoking a pipe! Just don't let him drive anywhere after he's had his brownie fix!
LOL - love your last line. Here in NZ, I don't think we have any laws about calling, however we almost never get sales calls. As for the cold shower, no thanks, I will just use moisturizer on my dry skin.ReplyDelete
I'm glad you posted this. These callers prey on folks. Because of the ability to change caller ID, these awful people can represent themselves as anyone...the police, the IRS, your electrical company. I learned from an expert that if you answer the call, they know you have a LIVE number and they then can sell the number to other scam artists. In our house, we don't answer any call if we don't know the number. Anyone who wants us will leave a message.ReplyDelete
I wish my mother would read about scammers, since she engages in so much time with them. For instance, she still doesn't accept the premise that they can spoof anyone's number. So, if they have a number with a specific area code she is CERTAIN they must live there. I've tried to derail this sort of thinking, but thus far zero success.ReplyDelete
I called myself several weeks ago. Willy Dunne Wooters explained to me that scammers can use my number to call me. A few days ago a friend received a call from me. Fortunately, she didn't get to the phone before it stopped ringing. I hadn't called her. It's getting to the point that we can't answer our phones at all. The name and number on the phone can't be trusted even if we know the person.ReplyDelete
Janie - It's pretty creepy that your friend received a call from your caller ID. I've heard of pocket dialing, but nothing like this before. Since scammers know how to rig caller ID, then I suppose anything is possible. Thanks for the word of caution, Janie.Delete
Rhonda - Glad you rarely have to deal with obnoxious sales calls. Keep using that moisturizer as a preventative for dry, itchy skin..Thanks Rhonda!ReplyDelete
Liza - There's one exception to accepting unknown calls on your cell phone. Have you ever used the free calling and texting service, Viber? It's great when you have to make long distance calls, especially from out of the country. The only problem is that it shows up as an unfamiliar phone number with a different area code in the called ID. In those situations it may be difficult to call the person back, but at least texting is still an option.
I know what you mean about those calls from the "police." They really try to guilt you into donating. Thanks Liza!
Robin - I wonder if she would have an easier time accepting this info from a different source. Since you are both active in your church choir, maybe you could suggest using this as a topic of discussion for one of their weekly meetings. I'm sure they're always open to timely subjects. I know how frustrating this must be for you. Good luck, Robin!
A phone call from yourself sounds scary. Glad you hung up! I do the same... when I'm not tempted to do one of those spoof responses. Having read the advice you've been given I must resist the temptation to pretend to be an idiot and chat inanely to them. Not sure I like the advice about showering though. Poo-eee!ReplyDelete
Great info and great advice. They prey upon the public, and as hard as it is to believe, thousands fall for it. I only answer calls from my personal contacts, no matter who calls. College, Janet, and showering - Hmm. Too bad every girl's father had the same look as Norman.ReplyDelete
The last part just got me. :DReplyDelete
Living like the college boy's dream. yeah I think it's better to ignore it to be safe.
This is why I don't have a house phone. Seems that scammers and telemarketers call more often than anyone I actually care about.ReplyDelete
When they do call my cell phone, I just like messing with them. They will take (and try to process) the wrong information a staggering amount of times if they think they're going to get a payoff from it.
"Oh, did I say my Visa ended with an 8? I think that may be a 9. I don't have my reading glasses on..."
Rosalind - I agree that less is more with these phone scammers. I also agree that the same rule doesn't apply to taking showers, though an occasional day off is reasonable!ReplyDelete
JJ - Those Norman Bates lookalike dads probably kept you in line when you were
dating! I'm sure you brought those girls home exactly on time!
SuperLux - You're right that the safest thing is to not pick up the phone in those
instances. I'm sure there are plenty of nice, clean college boys out there, but many of them probably aren't always in the mood to talk to their parents! Thanks SuperLux!
Beer Boys - The other day I got a call from the "police" while I was driving. They even asked for my husband like they were old friends. I just said that we had a bad connection, and hung up. Great job messing with them, but I think I'd be too nervous to pull it off.
(Cue up the scary music.) Just when you think it's safe to answer the phone...ReplyDelete
Those creepy con artists who make those bogus phone calls are the scourge of the earth. The last time I got one of those guys claiming he was from Microsoft, blah, blah, blah, I said, "Shame on you! Does your mother know you're doing this?" I stunned him so much, HE hung up on ME. HA! Felt pretty darned good.
Great post, Julie, topped off by the perfect last line.
Susan - I love how you told him off, and got HIM to hang up on YOU! I'm sure he also added your name to the Do Not Call list! Maybe you even inspired him to change career paths! Thanks Susan!ReplyDelete
I used to get calls from myself. I never answered. I knew I didn't have anything to say. They finally stopped.ReplyDelete
When I lived in Austria for two years I went to the bath house once a week and bathed. It was fine. Everyone got used to it.
Did you have any wisdom to tell yourself?!! That is just plain crazy. I let the phone ring. My husband feels compelled to answer it.ReplyDelete
Yvonne - I'm glad those annoying calls stopped. I'd like to hear more about those bath houses. You must have had quite an interesting experience living in Austria!ReplyDelete
Susan - As a matter of fact, I do have many words of wisdom to tell myself, but I usually forget them a minute later! Let your husband handle it if he wants to, but it is easier just to ignore the calls.
Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problemReplyDelete
not learn, so enjoy it :)
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