Dwight Watt - Newspaper Article #458 5/15/2019

Question: What do I do on strange phishing calls?


In the last week I have gotten two different (actually three) phone calls wanting me to call a number so they could get my money (and maybe more).

The first was two calls I received in the middle of the night. In both cases the phone rang only once. They woke m from my sleep. Both showed the same number on caller-id which was area code 245. I looked the number up on Google and found that the area code is in Africa and also that it is part of what the FCC calls one-ring phishing calls

If you call the number back it will start billing your phone the FCC reports at about $20 a minute. The goal is to get lot of money this way. The FCC states if you did fall for it call your phone company for credit and if fails contact the FCC.

The call is based on that when we get awoken with a call in the middle of night it will startle and scare us, and we will call back without thing. Do not call them back. I am not sure if you are like me on a pay as you go plan (I use Straight Talk) if could really bill us. However, be aware of this scam. In my case the call came from 245 area code, but it could come from other numbers. If you co not know the number donít call it back. If there was a real emergency there would be a message left (and would have rang longer) and they will leave a name you know or a number with it.

The second type call I got was a variation on the scams to tell you something wrong with your computer and to let them in it. In this case it is a fully robo call that told me it was an emergence message from Microsoft (at beginning and ed of the message) and that my license for Windows no longer worked and all items no longer worked on my PC and to call an 877 number to get it fixed.

First red flag. Microsoft would never call and tell you this and which PC did they mean.

Second red flag. My machine was working perfectly fine.

Third red flag your Windows license will not suddenly stop and Microsoft tell you.

What used to be a red flag. When they used humans calling the person talking was a foreigner typically, often Indian, and spoke poor English. Now this allows an American voice, but I bet if I called the 877 number I would get an Indian with poor English. I realize most Indians are honest people but that is where many of these come from currently. A few years ago, it was mainly Eastern European countries, and Africa is obviously involved also. They can come from Americans also but with the FCC and USA law enforcement they are stopped much quicker and so not as much.

If you did call, they would want your credit card number or bank account number to reactivate your copy of windows and probably want you to log on a site, so they could get in and fix. If it was second part I can assure you, they will plant malware on your machine.

If you get this call or others saying a problem with your computer and to call a certain number to fix or that human speaking to you says equivalent, do NOT give them any financial information. They are scams. If you do fall for it, call your bank and credit card company ASAP and also file a report with the police.

Be careful on all types of calls from people you do not know. I hope the FCC and phone companies start blocking these soon.