The phone rings, and you are looking forward to a call from your friend. Instead, there is a brief pause, and an automated voice tells you Amazon has an order pending for a new phone, and they need you to approve the expenditure. STOP. BREATHE.
This is one of the many attempts the unsavory side of the human race is using to get information from you so they can steal your money. If you click any buttons, they will come on the line and ask you for information like name, account numbers, and more. Other spammers want you to talk about car warranties, pay to get someone out of jail or help keep you out of jail.
It's time to arm yourself and your family with information and a gut check process!
Here are some easy things you can do to protect your information and maybe have a little fun.
Team up with your smart friends and family and form a protect my information network. Before responding to requests, talk to someone you trust and see if they feel it is a valid company.
Keep a list of your bills and how to call those vendors. If you receive a call, always call back on a number from your invoice and have them tell you what they know about you.
Never say "Yes" to these callers. "Is this Pat Sawtelle?" "Yes." Now they have a recording of you saying "Yes" and by sniping that audio they can use it toward breaking into your accounts or charging you for something you didn't order.
Have some fun saying no. Get creative with the callers.
When you suspect they are scammers, say no, then sing a children's song until they hang up. Or maybe a Christmas Carole or your best impersonation of Donald Duck.
Are you tired of the "I want to buy your home" calls? Tell them you will consider the offer for Fifty Million dollars, all closing, and moving costs, and the money must be in a Bank Cashier's Check from a local bank of your choosing. Or my writer friends say things like "I would love to but can you move the dead bodies buried in the back yard?" or "I'm sorry, I sold it to the local gang leader because he promised to get the blood out of the carpet."
Drop into a child-like voice and turn the conversation on them. I had one guy going, and he asked how old I was. With that question, I started quizzing him about going on dates and where he liked to eat. I was laughing so hard when he finally hung up.
And they don't just call. Some of the mail you receive is designed to confuse you about your car or home warranty. Always remember to call people you trust. If they are spammers, tell them you sold the car or maybe that you might consider their offer if they agree to cover the car which you ran off the cliff and totaled yesterday, (Mischief can be fun). Put your number on the National Do Not Call list and tell them their calls to you are costing them $50,000 each by law. That has scared a couple of callers (hehehe).
My family and friends ask why I play games with them. One it is fun and I've had some great laughs at the expense of the spammer calling staff. Secondly, by keeping them busy I've impacted their productivity rate and possibly kept them from scamming someone else. I'm sure even spammers have goals they have to reach to keep their job.
And if you get scammed? Report it. Very famous people have fallen prey to FBI scammers. Some of these creepy people have been put out of business because people stood up to them. Know who to trust, and everything else goes on the suspect list!