• In Misc
  • October 26, 2015
avatarBy Rebecca Bartley

On almost a daily basis, everyone interacts with some method of spam, especially in the form of email scams (phishing) or telephone scams (vishing). These scams are commonly used by fraudsters to trick people into giving them personal information online or through the phone. This information can then be used to try to hack an online account, take money out of a victim’s bank account, use your credit card information or even open new credit accounts.

We have experienced a telephone scam recently through a Mexican travel agency who posed as Air Canada offering us as “preferred customers” the opportunity to purchase airplane tickets for anywhere in the world for the low price of only $99. According to the automated voice, we could only take advantage of this offer if we provided them (after being connected to a real person on the line) with our credit card details.

Clearly, this call was a classic example of a telephone scam and we hung up on them right away. However, what happens when they still continue to call you? This was our case as we started to be spammed with numerous calls on a daily basis originating from the same number. We also later did our research and found out this was quite a common scheme reported by numerous airlines including Air Canada and WestJet. We decided to take things one step further, and through our interactions with this Mexican travel agency, we figured out a way to stop their spam calls. Here are some things to keep in mind when dealing with spam calls using this experience as an example.

Caller ID is Easy to Fake

When we were receiving calls from unknown sources posing as Air Canada, we noticed something interesting about the phone number that showed up on our Caller ID. Fraudulent companies often generate automated phone numbers through their systems so that when they call you, their real phone number will not be revealed.

These automated phone numbers instead are generated to match the first six numbers of your phone number (this includes your area code). This gives the impression that the owner of this number is a local caller and not an international caller (which is often associated with scam callers); therefore, you’d be more likely to answer your phone. Additionally, the name of the Caller ID is also generated to be a personal name (ex: Stephanie Parker) and not the name of the company. Keep this in mind the next time you receive a call that appears to be from a local number that you don’t recognize.

Don’t Give Out Your Personal Information

Fraudulent companies will do anything they can to get their hands on your personal information and these spam calls provide a more personal connection to get to you. In our situation, when we received this spam call, we were told by an automated voice to stay on the line in order to speak to a real agent to give them our credit card information. This agent asked right away for our credit card information, and when we refused, he started to throw additional perks our way in order to keep us on the line. By the end of our call, we were offered multiple private and family vacations for free around the world. This was way too good to be true.

Ask For Their Toll-Free Number

By asking for a company’s toll-free number, you can find out a lot of information on the company itself. When we researched the original generated number online, the number didn’t seem to exist or match the Caller ID name that it was associated with. However, we were able to get the toll-free number for the company through asking to speak with the Manager. We explained our interest in the offer and that we wanted to call the number back in order to verify that this was a real company. We actually just wanted the number to find out who the company really is.

Do Your Research First

Through our research of the toll-free number we were provided with, we were able to learn that the company was in fact not associated with Air Canada and was actually a travel agency located in Mexico. Through this, it was easy to find numerous comments and complaints online from others sharing about this scam as well as those who had purchased tickets and given their information out to later encounter numerous issues afterwards. By doing the research beforehand, we avoided being caught up in part of a scam.

Take Your Number off Their List

Once we had their toll-free number and had done our research to find out who was really behind the original call, it was easy for us to get our number taken off their list. With a direct line to their office, we were able to speak to the right person to request our number be taken off the list. To our success, the spam calls had stopped and the number never showed up on our Caller ID again.

Experiencing spam calls or other type of fraud related to telecommunications? Here at TTAG Systems we can investigate any type of fraud related to voice or text messaging and find solution to get your business going. Contact us today for more information.

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