Robocalls are generally annoying, but some types of scams are more obnoxious than others. There is a wide variety of scams in the market and most of them use deception to make it look legitimate. One of the most common scams is the so-called “express written consent” or “opt-in” scams. In these kinds of scams, telemarketers call up potential victims and encourage them to opt-in to their marketing lists. Once they do, the telemarketer then proceeds to sell personal information such as name, address, phone number and other confidential information.
The “express written consent” or “robo revenge” schemes usually go like this. An unsolicited person calls up a victim, claiming to be from a legitimate credit card agency, banks or government departments. The caller ID of the victim is displayed, along with his personal details and contact details. The “robo prankster” then informs the victim that if he does not provide him with his credit card information, then he will send a legal demand for the information.
This type of scheme typically operates through a telemarketing call registry. These call registries are non-disparate units that list specific phone numbers for sale to all those interested. They are rented by telemarketers and used for targeted phone calling. All the listed phone numbers are connected to a single IP address, which acts as the central database for all registered numbers in the system.
To make it look more authentic, most robocallers have a fake calling software that generates an IMAP or POP3 email attachment to present to the victim. They also make available a downloadable mobile phone app that simulates an authentic company's email system. Once downloaded and installed on the phone, the user is presented with a pre-written confirmation email, which is generated by the iPhone or Google Android software. This email contains a link to the phone's main web page. Users are then required to click on the link, which redirects them to the fraudulent website.
Once there, they are asked to enter their personal information and personal credit card numbers. They are asked to click on the link provided in the email, which takes them to a bogus company website. Here, they are required to pay a membership fee to access the site. The purpose of this is to gather personal information on the unsuspecting consumer, including but not limited to address history, income, previous addresses, phone numbers and other personal information. This personal information is then sold to marketing firms that specialize in selling personal information to third parties, such as telemarketing companies and scammers themselves.
There is good news, however. It is very easy to identify unsolicited robocalls using a reverse lookup directory. This is because these types of directories contain information that is held by the phone companies themselves. Each time a phone number registers with a local or state phone company, it is entered into the company's database. This database contains information about all phone numbers registered in the area. The reverse lookup directory allows you to search this database to find the number associated with the unknown numbers.
As an example, let's say you received a robocall from someone claiming to be from a “law firm.” You would then search for the name of the law firm using a legitimate search engine. If you found the number in the results, you would know right away that this is a scammer trying to use legal proceedings against you. Because these types of scams make up a large percentage of the unsolicited phone calls that plague consumers, most of them are easily found and dealt with through legitimate means. However, in this particular case, the scammer probably did not have any intentions of using the telephone at all. So even though this could be considered a legitimate email, it still falls under the category of spam.
The problem with spam is not only that it costs you money, but it also can put you in a bad position if you become a victim of one. If you were looking to buy something off of your credit card, how would you feel if you received a robocall? Even worse, if the scammer's real intentions were to try to get your personal information, such as your social security number, where it could put you in danger. While it is easy to spot a legitimate spam email, pre-recorded messages fall under a different category altogether. Because it is hard to discern when the recording was recorded digitally, you have no way of knowing whether or not the person on the other end of the line is trying to steal your identity. And just like spam, using pre-recorded messages can land you in a lot of hot water.
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