Tuesday, October 13, 2009

How to Answer the Phone

“Oh this FerFAL is such a know it all jerk…”
Hold your horses guys, let me explain. :-)

There are as few things that you want to keep in mind as criminals get more resourceful and creative, things we’ve learned here, and those of us with half a brain now apply and take into consideration;

1)Do answer the phone. There are many ways in which criminals can get your phone number. Without getting creactive, just know that many brake-ins are perpetrated by people that somehow know you or have been working in on around your home.
The guy that painted or remodeled your kitchen was a nice enough guy, he came well recommended, did a good job and you know what? he’s not a criminal and he’s a very honest man. But the young man he just hired to help him ins’t. And he was inside your house. And he saw all the nice stuff you have. And he saw some of the weak spots in your home security. And he has access to his boss’s notebook with your phone. All he has to do one Saturday night is drop by and if it looks as if no one is home, just give you a call. Happens all the time, so you want to answer the phone.

2)“With whom do I have the pleasure of speaking with?” And you happily give away your name.
Your reply should be “Sir/Miss, you called me, who are you trying to reach/ who are you looking for?”
Don’t give away your name. Never. A few more phone calls and they have a good idea of everyone’s name, family members, approximate age, etc. Just don’t give way any personal information at all, none.
Sometimes its just telemarketers or something similar. Too bad for them, but get used to not giving any kind of information no matter who’s on the line.
I’ve heard it all: Fake kidnappings, criminals pretending to be cops saying a family member got hurt. Some people even en up giving account numbers or credit card numbers, tricked into believing they are talking to the card company.
If in doubt, ask for a number so you can call them, make sure you’re talking to the real company. Today its easier than ever using internet.
A person I know got a phone call supposedly by a cop telling him that his son had suffered an accident. They could be ambushing him on some location, or simply wanting him out of the house to brake in, but this person knew one thing: Local cops drop by to inform you of accidents, they don’t call. A few minutes later he contacted his son on the cell phone. He was just fine.

3)Virtual kidnappings became VERY common here. They can leave nice profit and aren’t consider as serious as real kidnaps.
All you need is information. “I’m trying to reach your son mister…” “ oh he forgot his cell/its not working/he’s traveling abroad” Knowing that a person will be unable to be contacted is valuable data, you can fake a kidnapping and use the family’s desperation to get a few thousands bucks out of them fast. Usually its smaller amounts to everything can be done in a matter of an hour or so. Jewelry, cash, car, whatever they have, delivered in 30 minutes to some address. People fear for their loved ones lives and act immediately. This is why its so important to keep in touch and always have communication channels, know if someone will be out of reach and for how long.

Next post will be about ATMs and Credit Cards, and some tricks used by criminals, I’m sure there are a couple you never heard of that are being used today all around the world.



Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, here in the USA the bad guys can get ALL your personal info if they want it, because the agencies who collect the data sell it to anybody or keep it online.

I frequently get calls from people addressing me by my first name. All that is in the phone book (since I was required to have a listing by the phone company) is my first and middle initial and my last name. So if you were to look me up in the phone book, and my name was John Donald Jones, you would see "J D Jones" with no address. However, I tend to get calls asking for "John" from people I've never heard of, usually telemarketers.

The REALLY scary thing is that once I told a telemarketer where he could put his stupid pitch, and a week later I got two FRN's in the mail at my home address from the company apologizing to me, supposedly. But they knew my full name and knew my home address. From that point on I stopped shredding a lot of stuff, because why should a crook dumpster dive if they can know everything about you from a database?

An American has no choice but to give everybody all his info in order to do every day transactions, and the companies sell it to each other and to anybody who asks, there was even one case where a crook simply posed as a businessman, bought names and home addresses, and then robbed the people who lived in ritzy houses! There is simply no way to keep anything secret anymore.

The use of home addresses is required by federal laws known as Auto Bandit Laws. During the Great Depression bandits roamed the countryside, mainly robbing banks, and they were able to not have a permanent address, thus frustrating efforts to catch them. So the FDR administration required the use of home addresses at all times, for all federal business.

These laws have been expanded so that it is illegal for companies to send bills to post office boxes. You have to go through a whole laundry list of hoops to get most of your mail at a box. These laws are intended to stop criminals, but criminals can use them to find out everything about you, then rob you.

One solution I've seen is locked mailboxes. Within the last 20 years the trend for suburban developers is to have a single big metal box with all the mail for the development's residents in individual cubbyhole type boxes, accessible by a single panel at the back. Crooks simply pry off the cover and take everyone's mail.

Anonymous said...

Very good, what you said Ferfal, now I don't feel so bad about giving certain people a hard time when they call me. A number of times I have had to be stern and say, "No, you called me, you tell me first" or something like that, they act as if I'm supposed to obey them or something and I'll bet their tactic works on quite a number of people.

It is true too many organizations have too much personal info online, however; this can be limited, especially if a warranty isn't important to you, this is where companies usually get the most info about you, from you.

While two years have passed, when I was listed in the US phonebook, only my first initial and full last name were printed. Maybe it's how you setup the account?

Also, I regularly get bills sent to my P.O. Box, and it was simple, Legal and easy to do.

Since I stopped giving my name and other info out at the point of sale, I very seldom get telemarketing calls. It's not hard to do. For those business that rquire your name and other info, simply don't do business with them.

The best thing I have found is to descretely pay in cash, sometimes for fun I use two dollar bills.

I avoid doing business with the Feds, it's not, "doing business" anyway, it's something else.

~just my observation from here in the USS of A.

Ryan said...

Hmm, I think the virtual kidnapping thing is bigger there because well kidnapping is bigger there.

Obviously giving away essential information over the phone is stupid.

I answer my phone with "hello" and if someone asks who they are speaking with I give my first name because usually it is just someone trying to verify who they are speaking with so they know if they need to ask for someone else.

Bones said...

One simple rule: Never give out any information to someone who calls (or emails) YOU.

The US has a national "do not call" list that prevents sales calls. Everyone should be on this list.

Anonymous said...

Anon: In our neighborhood, they simply unbolted the community mailbox from the ground and took the whole thing, post and all. Took us a week to get a new mailbox. No mail. No bills. It was beautiful.

Anonymous said...

For years I've been using the line that Spanky used in the Little Rascals:

Caller: Who is this?

Me: I don't know, I can't see you.

Finally I can say someone agrees with me that it's the right response.

livefree said...

I always take offense when someone calls and says, "may I speak to John, or is Barb there?

I always ask ," who's calling please" before divulging any information..

I consider it quite rude to not identify who you are when you call someone..

I was always brought up to say, "This is Joe, (and state your business), may I speak to Mary please, when calling someone..

When we don't hold others accountable for being rude and unmannerly, we just perpetuate the problem..

Anonymous said...

A recurring line in most Louis L'Amour books (westerns) is: Stranger says "I didn't catch your name friend." and the main character replys, "I didn't mention it." or something along those lines.