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I didn't do it! Really, it wasn't me!

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

We're all aware of the telemarketers, "phishers," and other scam artists that call our telephones incessantly. Lately, about half of the bogus calls I get are coming from the Idaho area code - and some are coming from our city prefix.

Because my phone rings all day with those calls I generally let the machine answer, unless I recognize the horrified!number.

Imagine my shock last week when I did recognize the number - and the name - and it was my own!

The second time it happened, I answered it. It was a recording claiming to be Microsoft, telling me I had to change my IP address or my account would be cancelled. I should press 1 to be connected to a technician. I hung up.

After about the 4th call, I decided to see what was behind button #1. The recording told me to hold to take a short survey. After a few sesconds of silence, I got that angry-sounding disconnect tone.

Will our acquaintances think my husband and I are behind this scam?

This is a really small town, and during the years that I was involved with real estate, animal rescue, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Fireworks Fund, I became well known. My husband was a custom home builder, so he was known to yet another group of people.

If they get these calls, will they think we've gone over the deep end?

I called the phone company to see if there was anything to be done, and there is not. They said I could change my phone number, but what would that accomplish?

As my son pointed out, whatever new number I got may already be being used by these crooks.

Technology may be a wonderful thing, but when it allows crooks to clone your phone number and use it for nefarious purposes, I think it's a dangerous thing as well.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Comments(38)

Kat Palmiotti
eXp Commercial, Referral Divison - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

It's such a pain in the butt that we have to deal with silly time wasting things like this. 

May 12, 2019 09:21 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Endre Barath, Jr. It makes you wonder how many other people who know you, at least by name, are getting those calls.

Myrl Jeffcoat A whole day with no robo-calls. That calls for a celebration!

Liz and Bill Spear Somehow they make it look like your number, when it may actually originate from some other country. They can also make email "look like" it's coming from a different address.

May 12, 2019 02:40 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Carol Williams Not answering those calls does save time - but I don't like to think about the fact that some calls may be from real client leads who don't bother leaving a message.

John Henry If they're from a different country, there's no chance at all.

May 12, 2019 02:42 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Kat Palmiotti I agree. A waste of time. Unfortunately, they wouldn't persist if they weren't making money. That means some folks are being scammed.

May 12, 2019 02:43 PM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Prop. Mgr, Wenatchee, WA

Hi Marte,
Yes, thankfully I don't have to worry about that. If I were still active I would probably have to have a new tactic. 

May 12, 2019 02:55 PM
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

Many folks are being scammed by these calls. It is just insane. I get a few spammer calls a day and my husband gets them all day long.

May 12, 2019 05:18 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Carol Williams I do worry about it a little - kind of rely on instinct to decide which calls to answer. I'm not always right, but I do know how to hang up on the robo-calls or the scammers.

Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor® Some days it seems like this phone rings every 5 minutes, so I sympathize with your husband.

May 12, 2019 09:12 PM
Bruce Hicks
Best Homes Hawaii - Honolulu, HI
Your Best Hawaii Realtor!

spammers are continually trying to get to us Marte Cliff .  If it's an unknown, long distance number, One customer said he answers by saying "Sherrif's Department, Fraud Division" and he said they hang up immediately.

May 13, 2019 10:01 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Bruce Hicks That's a funny one - probably not a good plan for you or me, however.

May 13, 2019 10:18 AM
Bruce Hicks

What's a little GOOD for us is that our phone caller ID says "SPAM ALERT!" when someone calls Marte Cliff 

May 14, 2019 01:29 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Marte:

Ugh, now that is a nasty situation to be in with no recourse. I'm so sorry!

I got 5 calls (All sightly different 888 numbers) the other day in the social security scam, letting me know my SS # had been been suspended due to suspicious activity. Right.

Jeff

May 13, 2019 02:52 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Jeff Dowler, CRS Five in one day is a bit much! Over the course of a few weeks I got two calls offering to send me a "free" back brace - because I had been to the chiropractor, they knew I needed it. Why / how did scammers have that information.

I didn't think a lot about it after telling them I wasn't interested. Then a couple of weeks ago I read that it was a huge scam that had bilked many, many thousands from Medicare. They had bogus doctors writing perscriptions for those "free" braces. They cost about $40 each, but were charging Medicare $700+ for each one. Hopefully, some folks will be going to jail over that one.

May 13, 2019 03:37 PM
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
Retired New Hampshire Home Stager

There are more each day and they are both annoying and frustrating. Think I read somewhere that only you get the calls from your own number but I am not at all sure of that. We all get so many of these calls that I don't think anyone will think it is actually you just because it's your number.

May 14, 2019 05:09 AM
Anne Corbin
Long and Foster - Lake Anna - Spotsylvania, VA
Serving Lake Anna & Central Virginia

I can't believe the phone company would allow the same phone numbers to be used by two differenty people. That means they are either getting paid double OR they aren't getting paid for the second line. I am surprised about their response to you.

May 14, 2019 06:49 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Sharon Tara I hope you're right. I'd hate to think of all the people I know in town thinking I was making bogus calls.

Anne Corbin I don't think the phone company has anything to do with it - I think hackers have found a way to clone numbers so it looks like a local number when it's really coming from overseas.

May 14, 2019 12:55 PM
MichelleCherie Carr Crowe .Just Call. 408-252-8900
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years

Marte,

What a crazy nightmare of a scheme. Perhaps their method involves calling other people with their own number. You may want to check with a County, state or federal authority to report this on record as fraud (and not connected with you).

May 16, 2019 10:23 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Michelle Carr-Crowe Just Call 408-252-8900 Top 1%! - yes, I think I should report it, but I'm not sure where.

May 17, 2019 09:17 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Pasadena And Southern California 818.516.4393

Hello Marte - it's annoying and alarming.  Those feelings often occurring at the same time.  It's no wonder so many people don't like to answer their phones.

May 17, 2019 10:53 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Michael Jacobs I very seldom answer mine, especially if it's a 208 number. It seems lately that most of the bogus calls are coming from my own area code. Or rather - are made to appear to be coming from here.

If someone is real, they'll start to leave a message and I'll pick up.

May 17, 2019 11:37 AM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Good learning experience. You kept going and you moved forward. Sometimes that’s just the best thing.

May 18, 2019 10:55 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Laura Cerrano - I still wonder if there's someplace I should report this.

May 19, 2019 09:58 AM