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The ‘spoof’ is in the pudding

Want to have some fun?

Nah….I’m not talking about going swimming, or visiting a theme park, and not even t-papering your neighbor’s yard (do people really still do that?). Rather, I’m talking about REAL fun!

Back in late March, I used this space to share my frustration with the multiple calls I’ve received so far this year regarding my interest in purchasing a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan.

Yep, I hit the big 65 this year – later this month to be exact – and I guess I’m a target for all these companies across the United States who think I’m retiring, which I’m not (much to the chagrin of those who despise me professionally; maybe even personally).

I’ve grown more accustomed to looking at the caller ID on my phone and have noted area codes I’m not at all familiar with. I either immediately dismiss the call or let it go to voice mail. And, guess what? There are no voice mails, which leads me to believe that these sales pitches aren’t all they’re supposed to be.

But that’s old news. My new pet peeve is the “spoofing” calls I receive.

According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), spoofing occurs when a caller deliberately falsifies the information transmitted to your caller ID display to disguise their identity. Spoofing is often used as part of an attempt to trick someone into giving away valuable personal information so it can be used in fraudulent activity or sold illegally.

Under the Truth in Caller ID Act, FCC rules prohibit any person or entity from transmitting misleading or inaccurate caller ID information with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongly obtain anything of value.

If you’re like me, when I see a local area code (252) and prefix number (those most used in the Ahoskie area are 209, 287, 642, and 862) I’m led to believe it’s someone locally trying to reach me. In the job profession I’m in, I receive a lot of calls, mostly news tips.

Lately, the majority of those “local” calls are sales pitches for everything from changes in my credit card account, to a great deal on a mobile scooter (for those unable to walk without suffering a great deal of pain or discomfort), to a “healthy living plan” that they say I ordered and is ready for pick-up (I didn’t order such a plan….not unless I’m somewhat like Roseanne and found myself in an Ambien induced situation).

Here’s where the fun comes in.

Instead of immediately hanging up on these callers, I bombard them with questions. Case-in-point is one I received on May 29.

The caller, a female, claimed to be with (and I’m making up the first part to protect the identity of the real company) ABC Credit.

“There are important changes you need to know about your account, Mr. Bryant,” she said in a chipper voice.

Perhaps what she didn’t realize is that I do not used that particular line of credit, but I played along.

The first question I asked was if she was calling from somewhere in or near Ahoskie, NC since the caller ID on my phone showed as 252-209-XXXX. That did not slow her down as the sales pitch continued. I told her this was big news because I had not been informed that ABC Credit had opened a call center in the Ahoskie area.

“How many folks do ya’ll employ there,” I asked.

That got her attention as she paused briefly, just long enough for me to again inquire if she was actually calling from Ahoskie or if this was a spoof call.

“I’m the editor of the local newspaper and I would like you to transfer me to your supervisor or manager so I can set up an interview with them about this major economic development news that ABC Credit has a call center here locally,” I said.

The next sound I heard was CLICK!!

I guess the spoof is in the pudding!

 

Cal Bryant is the Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at cal.bryant@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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