I’m going to start making a log of all the major scams/spam I get hit with. I’m also going to list businesses that have really bad business practices and ethics in general.
I mean major issues, not every spam email I get about Viagra or being the lost heir to Prince Mombachupa that just requires all the info it takes to steal my identity to get $175,000 (because those really can’t be stopped and they’re pretty anonymous).
I’m not even worried about one-off phone calls or flyers and other mildly negligible annoyances. I mean the persistent ones that clearly cross the line.
- Want to report an online scam/spam to Google? Use this tool.
- Want to report a phone or fax scam/spam? Use this tool.
- Want to track down phone scammers/spammers that you’re dealing with? Read this article.
- Want to register for the Do Not Call Registry? Register here.
- Want to stop junk mail? Read here.
- Security Warnings & Tips
So let’s kick it off (quick word about free speech):
Beware of Fluff and Modern Day Charlatans
Article I wrote way back that would be good to include in this list:
You Spam Me. I Get to Spam You, Right?
Another article I wrote that would be good to include in this list:
Onto the New List of Players
ServiceMagic (servicemagic.com ?) – 303.963.8740
I don’t believe this number is actually ServiceMagic because that looks like a real professional company website, but the phone calls from this number posing as ServiceMagic are insanely unprofessional. I’ve been getting calls from this number day and night (any time) and they never leave a message.
I finally caught them calling and picked up “Please remove this number.” and I received this response in a smirky, rude tone “Is this NAME?” and I said firmer “Remove this number.” (as if it matters what my name is, any real professional company knows that if someone asks to have their number removed you respond politely and comply immediately, it’s a $10k+ fine to call someone when they request do not call) and in an even more annoying and obnoxious tone the man replied “So, this isn’t NAME?” I replied “No.” and hung up.
Here’s the kicker, he called back and I answered only so he could hang up on me haha! I called back and he answered and guess what, hung up on me again. That’s pretty much confirmation this is some guy in a basement up to no good. If this is a real company this guy would be fired for ridiculously immature and unprofessional behavior.
So whether this is really ServiceMagic with a pore choice in who they are hiring and marketing/telemarketing techniques or some possible scammer posing as ServiceMagic I can’t be sure it’s a scam. I can however be sure It’s defintiely not okay and is very spammy.
When I’m done writing this article I’ll notify ServiceMagic of the issue and of course allow them to verify that 303.963.8740 is not them and of course to verify the warning to my readers to beware of this imposter.
UPDATE: ServiceMagic responds in the comments below – Confirms it is their number and just a bad employee.
Potbelly Sandwich Works (potbelly.com) – 512.477.0300
The company seems legitimate enough looking at the website, but I get calls from this number all the time and they never leave a message. Searching around, this number is apparently linked to some sort of scam.
If this company is legit then it could be one of two things. One, an employee there is using their phone for extra curricular activity or two, someone is forging their number. Meaning the calls aren’t actually coming from that number, but someone is spoofing it to look like it is coming from that number on the caller ID.
In all fairness, I’m going to email the company and inform them of the issue. Perhaps, they have no idea this is happening. But, this warning will remain because people still need to be cautious of that number.
Update: Someone from Potbelly got back to me and let me know, that yes, they were aware that there might be an issue and that I in fact further confirmed the issue for them. The actual voicemail of 512.477.0300 (if you were to call) warns of the issue about their number being spoofed.
Potbelly also informed me that they do have their IT people investigating the issue. You might ask “why don’t they just change the number?“, well in my opinion I think it might do more harm than good and cause more confusion.
My guess is that the current number is well established in the phonebook, marketing materials and dozens and dozens of websites. So to change their number and lose all that traction when a new number can just as easily be spoofed by someone doesn’t seem like a good call at all.
Potbelly itself is a legitimate company, and the sandwiches sound delicious so if you have a Potbelly near you there is no reason to worry, go try a sandwich! But, if you don’t live in Texas and have no reason to receive a call from Potbelly / 512.477.0300 DO NOT ANSWER IT!
Various Made Up College Names – 347.294.3400
I’ve received about six calls from them in three days. Doing a little research it appears that it’s a fake college or telemarketer for multiple colleges regarding online degrees. No matter what though it’s not legitimate even if it’s not a scam. They never leave a message and they probably don’t, or at least didn’t actually have you on a list so don’t answer to tell them to put you on the DO NOT CALL list.
Why? Because you’re only confirming to them that the number is being actively used my a real person. So, how did they get my number? Again, they probably don’t have your number. My guess is that it’s an auto-dialer with set parameters like real area codes and prefixes, but the actually number (123.456.7890), is probably being called in sequence, 0000, 0001, 0002 etc.
Then, there are probably three different categories for numbers they assign as they go through:
1. Disconnected / Out of Reach – Meaning they probably reached an error message.
2. Connected – Meaning they reached voicemail.
3. Active – Meaning a real person answered. Depending on how sophisticated their software is they might receive an alert or they might be manually listening and hop on calls with real people (there will probably be some static or clicks or a short wait where you’ll likely have to say “Hello, hello?” before someone finally answers).
Number three is the worst, you’ll now be on their hot list. They’re probably not a legitimate company so you can scream DO NOT CALL at them all you want, but you probably just signed yourself up for being called a lot more and having your number sold on hot lists of phone numbers.
Years ago when I was 17-years-old I worked for a company telemarketing. The company was legitimate enough, but let me tell you there is no such thing as legitimate telemarketing. It is ALWAYS wrong and always unethical. What I didn’t know then I learned quickly after working there a short while and quit. It is disgusting and immoral. Telemarketers think of you as a number and ALL they want is your money.
I was just a kid and I learned my lesson, but grown adults who continue to telemarket are not nice people. You have no reason to be nice to them. Although I recommend always screening your calls. After all if it is important enough they will leave a message, besides in this day and age your family and friends are more likely to text you. But, if you do happen to answer just say “Put me on your DO NOT CALL LIST.” and hangup. There is no reason to listen to a word they have to say.
Although no telemarketer is good, most will at least respect the DO NOT CALL Registry, because it’s something like a $10k fine if they don’t.
That’s all for now. I sincerely hope I don’t have to further update this list with new scams/spam I experience. I will however be happy to research and investigate any scam/spam issue anyone else is experiencing to see if it’s a legitimate worry to warn people about.
Security Warnings & Tips
First, make sure you’re using the best and most secure email service around.
- Don’t use other people’s computers or public WIFI to login into your private accounts at all! Just don’t do it. If you absolutely must, here’s a good article to read.
- No legitimate company will ever contact you asking to verify your password so don’t even respond. Just because it appears to come from or be about a service you use doesn’t actually mean they know you use that service. They’re just phishing for info to a mass list of emails.
However, they may also actually know you use a service, still this is no reason to be alarmed. It’s 99% likely it’s not a personal attack. They’re probably just using a bot to crawl various sites, social networks/profiles to put two and two together that you have a LinkedIn account, PayPal, whatever.
- Beware of spoof emails. I’m seeing a lot of Facebook and LinkedIn spoof notification emails lately. If these manage to skip the SPAM folder and make it to your inbox just hover over the links to make sure they’re legitimate. Hovering over any link should show you the exact URL, often bottom-left in your browser status bar. You can quickly see if it’s the legitimate URL. Look out for misspellings of the domain, linkdein.com or similar tricks.
- Do I really need to mention stay away from the Viagra, royal dead people that are willing their fortune to you, sexy person that has a crush on you and get rich quick emails? No? Okay, good. Moving on.
More tips to come and please share any tips you might have in the comments below…
Thanks for reading, Bryan