Scam info

Brad Little

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Guildedagain

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Caller ID helps.

Lots of this stuff and more going on. Scaring old people into giving up the SSI numbers over the phone... Should be a special "tone button" for people like that.
 

dreadnut

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I never answer a number I don't recognize. If it's important they can leave a message.
Bingo! That's what I tell Mrs. Dread when she asks me why I don't answer my phone. I am not obligated to answer each and every call.
 

geoguy

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A lost hiker in New Hampshire recently had to spend an uncomfortable overnight in the mountains, because they wouldn't answer their cell phone when rescue personnel were trying to call . . . because the hiker did not recognize the number the rescuers were calling from!
 

dreadnut

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A lost hiker in New Hampshire recently had to spend an uncomfortable overnight in the mountains, because they wouldn't answer their cell phone when rescue personnel were trying to call . . . because the hiker did not recognize the number the rescuers were calling from!
What a bonehead!
 

GAD

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That was widely reported but I tend to think it's a half-truth. I have my phone set to automatically not answer numbers not in my contacts.
 

Default

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That was widely reported but I tend to think it's a half-truth. I have my phone set to automatically not answer numbers not in my contacts.
I would rather deal with the robocalls, because I get calls all the time from people who I don't have in my contacts.
 

DrumBob

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Here are a couple of scams I've encountered lately: I got an email supposedly from Amazon saying someone charged a large screen TV to my account for $769. I checked my account and there was no charge. The email was a scam. Then, the scammer, some POS with an Indian accent, called and said he was from Amazon and told me about the $769 charge. I knew he was full of sh**, so I said, "send me something in writing." With that, he hung up.

The other one said, "You have left items in your cart." I ordered some gig shirts from a Chinese online retailer a while back and did leave two shirts in my cart, but I had since deleted them. The scammer sent me two more emails today saying I had left items in my cart that no longer existed. This is a phishing scheme to get my credit card info. I clicked on the website in the email and it was blocked by Norton, saying it was a scam site.

Don't get fooled.
 
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dreadnut

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I recently got a phone call "... your card has been charged $749 for a subscription to" click. Seeya.
 

crank

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This is a weird one and not necessarily a scam. Amazon sent me a package of pantyhose. Then a week of so later I got a package of 3 cheap ties. So at this point I call Amazon to ask what gives here? They tell me that companies send stuff so that they can then write reviews for their stuff. Hey, that's what they told me. It has not happened since.

Here's a fun one. We were looking on airbnb and vrbo for a lake house to rent for a week summer of 2020. Pandemic so nothing available until you got to the super pricey stuff, like over 10K per week. I decided to check out Craigslist because you never know. Found a place that looked good and received a reply. It was available the week I wanted. It was also available when I inquired about the following week. Their texts were oddly worded and they immediately sent a contract with misspellings. After a little digging I found that their email was routed from one of those untraceable foreign email servers. Also found the same place with the same pics on vrbo. We contacted the real owner to let her know. Never was able to find a lake house that summer.
 

fronobulax

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This is a weird one and not necessarily a scam. Amazon sent me a package of pantyhose. Then a week of so later I got a package of 3 cheap ties. So at this point I call Amazon to ask what gives here? They tell me that companies send stuff so that they can then write reviews for their stuff. Hey, that's what they told me. It has not happened since.

Definitely a scam but you are not the target/victim.
 

Rich Cohen

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That was widely reported but I tend to think it's a half-truth. I have my phone set to automatically not answer numbers not in my contacts.
Me too. A great solution that seems to work most of the time. I'd say, 95% of the time.
 

MacGuild

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Definitely a scam but you are not the target/victim.

Respectfully, frono. It is an unauthorized access and use of personal information, including a name and shipping address, at the very least.
So unless an Amazon user is agreeing somewhere, either by signing-up for a promotion or by the depths of some Amazon Terms of Service rabbit hole, all personal information is supposed to be securely retained on Amazon's end, and not provided to a "brushing" company about which the innocent user knows nothing. Amazon's identifying this practice as a scam distances them from being behind it.
An unsuspecting recipient is certainly a target, and the use of their personal information as part of a scam which involves posing as a user to create fraudulent product reviews certainly makes them a victim. The use of personal information that is stored in the same account profile as one's contact and credit card information is also disconcerting.
And if this is occurring without Amazon's blessing, a good question is how did the "free stuff" company acquire those shipping addresses? It likely wasn't legitimately. A lot of those obscure sellers may well be selling/pooling the user data they harvest, and if one has the tools to commit low-level identify theft using your info, they pretty much have the tools to do worse.
 

fronobulax

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Respectfully, frono. It is an unauthorized access and use of personal information, including a name and shipping address, at the very least.
So unless an Amazon user is agreeing somewhere, either by signing-up for a promotion or by the depths of some Amazon Terms of Service rabbit hole, all personal information is supposed to be securely retained on Amazon's end, and not provided to a "brushing" company about which the innocent user knows nothing. Amazon's identifying this practice as a scam distances them from being behind it.
An unsuspecting recipient is certainly a target, and the use of their personal information as part of a scam which involves posing as a user to create fraudulent product reviews certainly makes them a victim. The use of personal information that is stored in the same account profile as one's contact and credit card information is also disconcerting.
And if this is occurring without Amazon's blessing, a good question is how did the "free stuff" company acquire those shipping addresses? It likely wasn't legitimately. A lot of those obscure sellers may well be selling/pooling the user data they harvest, and if one has the tools to commit low-level identify theft using your info, they pretty much have the tools to do worse.

First I was responding to
This is a weird one and not necessarily a scam.
The article I cited said

"You are not the one who hit the jackpot. A scam company is the real winner," the BBB said in its news release Monday.

Your points seem to have a different understanding of a "brushing scam" than I do and you make some suggestions about Amazon's complicity that I did not get from the article.

As someone who has been around long enough to have used phone books that contained name, address and phone number I am not going to try and establish that sending me an unsolicited package is a privacy issue. "Free samples", unsolicited phone calls and advertising mail may have been a problem but they were not a privacy violation.

Note that the USPS discussion here says that there are numerous places the scammers can get your address.

If Amazon provided the information then yes, it is a violation of privacy and unauthorized use, but no story I have read claims that Amazon was complicit.

Respect noted, and hopefully returned.
 

davismanLV

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This is a weird one and not necessarily a scam. Amazon sent me a package of pantyhose. Then a week of so later I got a package of 3 cheap ties. So at this point I call Amazon to ask what gives here? They tell me that companies send stuff so that they can then write reviews for their stuff. Hey, that's what they told me. It has not happened since.

Here's a fun one. We were looking on airbnb and vrbo for a lake house to rent for a week summer of 2020. Pandemic so nothing available until you got to the super pricey stuff, like over 10K per week. I decided to check out Craigslist because you never know. Found a place that looked good and received a reply. It was available the week I wanted. It was also available when I inquired about the following week. Their texts were oddly worded and they immediately sent a contract with misspellings. After a little digging I found that their email was routed from one of those untraceable foreign email servers. Also found the same place with the same pics on vrbo. We contacted the real owner to let her know. Never was able to find a lake house that summer.
I think the real question is, how do you like the pantyhose? Photos or it never happened!!! :love:
 

MacGuild

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Your points seem to have a different understanding of a "brushing scam" than I do and you make some suggestions about Amazon's complicity that I did not get from the article.

Putting this another way, you said people who receive unsolicited packages are not the target/victim. I'm saying that's exactly what they are. In fact your linked USPS article, screen-capped below, is saying the same things I am saying.

And I don't believe Amazon is complicit in a low-level identity theft scam, on the contrary, it is a nuisance to them and an inappropriate use of their services.

The scammers are certainly not getting peoples' personal information from anything as mundane or obsolete as phone books, typically they are purchasing illegally obtained databases, or loosely legal, much the same way robo-telemarketers buy databases of "confirmed" numbers. This is entirely digital, as the perspective of your USPS link shows, and almost always involves the use of private information that was never intended to be in the hands of the people using it.

And if anyone does receive free packages in the mail, the smart move is to reject it, return to shipper. Keeping it only confirms to the scammer that the personal info of yours they have is valid. Besides, it will always be pennies' worth of junk. Nobody is sending you a free Fabergé Egg (sorry!).




usps.png
 

fronobulax

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Putting this another way, you said people who receive unsolicited packages are not the target/victim.

That's the point of disagreement. I don't think the people receiving the packages are targets or victims in a brushing scam. What have they lost? Don't answer "their information" because this scam does not compromise their information. It utilizes information that was already lost before the scammer decided to send them a package.

It is an unauthorized access and use of personal information, including a name and shipping address, at the very least.

I used the phone book and "free samples" as examples of a decades old practice. If it wasn't unauthorized access and use then, how does sending a package now suddenly make sending the package unauthorized use?

Any chance this is a regional issue? "unauthorized access" is a crime in most of the US but using information that is publicly available is general not prosecuted as unauthorized access because the perp can just point to the public data. But many European governments (for example) take a more consumer friendly stance and practices that are legal in the US are often not legal elsewhere. I tend to focus on what is legal and not necessarily what is ethical which may also be a factor.
 

MacGuild

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That's the point of disagreement. I don't think the people receiving the packages are targets or victims in a brushing scam. What have they lost? Don't answer "their information" because this scam does not compromise their information. It utilizes information that was already lost before the scammer decided to send them a package.

And Napster was just enabling the theft of copyrighted music (in the form of digital data) that had already been stolen and, hey, since it had already been stolen there was no crime in it being "shared" millions of more times, right. Except there was.

Fact is, scammers do not have the right to possess your personal info, and every time your information is illegally bought and sold or used, you are victimized again, violated again. You do not have to have your car or your wallet stolen to be the targeted victim of theft, and you don't have to end up in the hospital to be a victim. Using a person's identity to misrepresent their opinions is also criminal, just as it is criminal to commit transactions in their name or in any way involving them, and doing so certainly targets and victimizes.

And you absolutely do not know that someone's personal information was "already lost"; an unsolicited package may well be indicative of a far greater identity theft in progress, or a fresh security breach of which even the vendor is unaware (Amazon in this case but it could be anyone; months often pass before breaches are detected). It may also indicate that a scammer has far more information than merely your shipping address and that package is a test run. Not to mention that a strange package on your doorstep might be far more dangerous than some clown running a brushing scam; just because something looks like it came from Amazon doesn't mean it came from Amazon. Unsolicited packages can also cause tremendous stress for a person who receives them, particularly if they receive unwanted attention from someone, like an ex or a stalking type badgering them, or they are a vulnerable senior living alone, or simply do not like being disturbed. There are countless reasons why this type of scam victimizes, the USPS link you posted says as much, too.

You speak as if personal data is frivolous, yet such data is obviously becoming the most valuable commodity in the world, if it isn't already, and hence one of your most valuable personal possessions. I suppose one might not consider the illegal and unauthorized use of their personal information to be a crime, or even noteworthy, if one does not particularly care that their personal information is being abused, which is their choice, or does not see how potentially dangerous that can be. I, however, place great value on personal information and am highly protective of my own, and I identify that identity theft, whether the impersonation of another person online or worse, is not something to be so lightly dismissed. I would also consider a scammer using my identity to endorse dodgy products to be highly problematic, clearly illegal, and potentially a symptom of a far more serious problem. I would hope that if some scammer started using your personal information, your name and address, as their online identity, you might not be so cavalier.

For what it's worth, frono, I worked as a senior systems engineer in what we used to call Silicon Valley for 20-years and retired at the age of 45, and never once, not once, ever heard anyone in the tech security sector talk like you have been or suggest that data and identity theft in any form is anything other than a severely serious problem and equally serious crime. Your personal information falling into the wrong hands can cause you a lifetime's worth of grief. As a crime, identity theft is not in any way to be underestimated or dismissed as "victimless". You now live in a world, particularly since the introduction of vaccine passports, where your digital personal information has never been remotely close to this important or this valuable. Or this prized by thieves. And unlike the Mona Lisa, which wouldn't go missing without notice, your personal data absolutely can be stolen without notice. Repeatedly. Unlike a physical object, your personal data can potentially be stolen millions of times.

And, yes, excellent point you make about regionalism. It is a big factor. Huge. It is true that laws concerning data protection are not exactly universal and some nations are less concerned than others when it comes to individual privacy rights. Unfortunately, today, a scammer that may appear to be on the other side of the world may in fact only be on the other side of the street.
 
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