Phone Scammers - Getting Several Calls a Day Now

Hi everyone, how are you going with all the phone scammers calling all the time these days?

This week it's been:

  • Australian Border Force (parcel waiting for me with illicit contents inside and a warrant issued for my arrest).
  • Victorian Govt solar hot water rebate x 3
  • Telstra technical support.x 2
  • Amazon unauthorised charge x 2

I believe the solar hot water one is a scam because the call is clearly being routed from a dodgy call centre due to the response delay and fake local number. Surely the Victorian Government would not be using them. They are usually female and as soon as you say a few words that isn't music to their ears they just hang up.

The last one a few minutes ago just said to me, "You are a m*****f***** and a f****** f***er," and hung up because I simply asked, "Did you say Australian Border Force?" after his short initial intro.

I'm sure there's been others I've missed in the last few days because I've ignored a few calls with similar number prefixes.

Edit: My phone often also puts a small note to say "suspected spam caller" as they call.

Comments

  • +36

    If you don't know the number, don't answer it.

    The more calls you answer, the more calls you get.

    • +47

      I can't due to work, I get a lot of local new calls from workers in a specific industry.

      • +6

        Ask them what their friends and family would think of them if they knew what they really did for a living.

        I feel sorry for honest Indian people. It's getting to the point where it harms their reputation and it must be more difficult for them to get client facing jobs especially.

        • +34

          Worst would be if you're Indian born and genuinely work for the ATO or the like

          • -8

            @Arigato: ATO will not call you.
            just to reiterate:

            ATO WILL NOT CALL YOU…
            That is all

            • +12

              @Wiede: Unless the ATO does call you.

            • +17

              @Wiede: The ATO does in fact call you sometimes.

              • +1

                @mitt: No. There is myGov from them to send message.

            • +42

              @Wiede: Can confirm, genuine ATO does call. Mine were from "no caller ID" numbers, but I was expecting them.
              On other occasions the ATO has called me using a local number ID, I simply went and bought the $500 iTunes gift vouchers they wanted and sent them ;)

            • +4

              @Wiede: Worked for ATO
              We made outbound calls all the time, discuss lodgments, recent applications, outstanding debts, ABN registration issues etc.
              The no ID thing can be a pain, I usually lead with a brief reason for the call before going into asking proof of record questions.
              If the client questions authenticity, no big deal, leave reference number and switchboard phone contact for call back.

            • @Wiede: They just won't ask you to pay taxes in Apple or steam gift cards.

              • @Skinnerr: Damn… I though they punished me for all the BitTorrent I did in the early years before Netflix came about. iTunes cards would seem the perfect compensation for all the acts I committed.

          • +3

            @Arigato: I used to work for a large IT services provider. Our call centre was in Auckland, but almost everyone in the level 1 pool was Indian. I was on site and the customers always complained about having to talk to the call centre in India.

          • +2

            @Arigato: I used to work in a technical services position where our assistant who was Indian would have to call up customers to collect their equipment. The poor guy got abused so many times with people just immediately assuming he was a scam caller and he would be pleading to them that their equipment was just ready to be picked up from our office. Luckily he saw the humour in it too.

        • Already did for me. Can't stand them because of this shit.

        • +1

          That's been my go-to response.

          Before I answer about my health insurance, Have you told your mum what you're doing for work? Is she proud?

      • I can't due to work

        Sounds like you are stuck between a rock and a hard place… :(

        Can you get another number/phone just for these work related calls and have another number for personal calls? (if you haven't already done this).

  • +18

    Yeh, same scam call from Border Force just a few minutes ago. During the recorded message, I started pressing random keys on the keypad and got put through to their call centre. Heard the same f words before the line hung up.

    Call from 03 9139 2067

    After receiving the call, go into the details section of the call log of your phone, then the menu in the top right and tap "Report number". Then tap the Report button. This way if other people receive a call from that number, they'll get the "Suspected spam" notification.

    • Thanks. Handy to know.

    • +16

      often the number is no more than a random number they stamped onto the call that will change regularly, usually selected for being a local number for you so you are more likely to answer, it isn't their real number and if you try calling it you may get someone else or no one at all.

      Personally I take two approaches now. If I have no time I will say "sorry someone at door could you hang on a second" and put the phone down to see how long it takes them to hang up (usually not long) or I try to p!ss them off big time, get them so upset they abuse me or hang up (in the hope they are too upset so that it will be more difficult for them to scam the next person).

      • What do you say to piss them off?

        • +38

          keep dropping in sexual innuendo and asking intimate inappropriate questions while constantly pretending not to understand the questions or what I am being told. I love it when they finally break down and start abusing me, just don't go too hard too fast otherwise they hang up immediately, frustraiton and anger needs to be stocked like a good fire.

          • +2

            @gromit: I don't know whether you need help or if I should subscribe to your newsletter. lol

        • Do the exact opposite of what they want.

          I got a call from amazon about my amazon prime set to renew (I don't have amazon prime).
          I just told them that was exactly want I wanted.
          Apparently I needed to fill in a form to have my amazon prime renewed.
          "And if I don't want to fill in a form?"

          Then they hung up on me.

    • +4

      They spoof numbers so blocking em does nothing.

      • +2

        can confirm, once called the number back and the lady who picked up had no idea what's going on

  • +11

    I had one yesterday (illicit parcel), was it a coincidence that the phone number was about 20 higher than mine?

    • +12

      coincidence that the phone number was about 20 higher than mine?

      Caller ID spoofing. https://www.acma.gov.au/calling-line-identification-and-spoo...

      CLI overstamping allows the person calling you to display a different number from the number they are calling from.

      For example, an Australian company which operates an overseas call centre may overstamp their calls (which originate from overseas) with an Australian number so that you identify this number and return a call.

      This is legal in Australia unless it is being done for unlawful or malicious purposes, most commonly to carry out scams. This is often referred to as caller ID spoofing.

    • +2

      Not a co-incidence. It's a trick known as neighbor spoofing. The idea is that people are more likely to answer a number that looks familiar.

      Why Do I Get Scam Calls from Similar Numbers to Mine?

      • +1

        I got the same call and I guess it worked hahaha picked it up due to curiosity.

        They called me twice

    • Ah, the comments by SF3 and stringy explains it well, I had also noticed the same thing happening with some calls.

  • -3

    Will registering your phone number in to Do not distribute, reduced the spam, marketing call?

    • +31

      i don't think scammers from overseas pretending to be from the ato etc, care to comply with the spam act and DNC register

      • +1

        DNC does not apply to Charities, Political Organisations and ALSO Survey Companies - so if they ask 1 question a year even from inside an Australian call centre they can keep doing it with no come-back.

        • Exactly one a year! I make it absolutely clear that I make NO exemption to lodge a complaint if they do not remove my number from their calling list. Gives me 365 days off them.

    • +3

      They will call every number they can think of! Wouldn't be surprised if they have an app which generates a random 04** *** *** number for each call they make, or it they work from an assigned range each day, eg. 0404 100 100 to 0404 100 200. Going onto a list won't stop them.

      • +5

        computer auto dials. only answered calls get put through to the call centre.

        lets assume a small call centre with 30 staff. 5 lines per staff member trawling through numbers constantly. 4 dialling, 1 in use. 10 seconds per attempted dial. (1 sec per not in use number, 20 sec per unanswered number ring out, 50% numbers in use)

        6 dials per min * 4 lines * 60 min * 24 h * 30 staff = 1,036,800 calls per day

        • And since calls are free now there's no disincentive.

          Just like spam email, the way to fix this would be to charge 2c per call or email sent. You and I wouldn't notice it, but spammers would no longer be profitable.

    • haha no

    • No, it may actually do the opposite as this is a readily available list of numbers for them to use to scam with.

      • As opposed to the readily available list that anyone can create because phone numbers are just a string of numbers that increases by 1 every time?

        • It saves on trying inactive numbers.

  • +27

    play along with them and try beat your p.b. of longest duration.
    go to the toilet and ask them to hold on a second, and make a horrendous groaning noise, then tell them you just did a sh?t, much like what they are speaking…
    they stop calling ifyou piss them off enough.
    I personally love it when they lose their sh*t at the end, its funny as hell

    • I usually think that they’ll spam me even more if I piss them off. That’s why I always ignore it in hopes that they’ll just take me off their list

      • Yeah, I had an "Investment advisor" call once. From the accent, I said "Are you South African?" - he says yes. From the number prefix: "Calling from NZ?" - "Yes, but I'm in Poland".

        I said "A South African in Poland calling via NZ to give me investment advice? I think the best investment advice you could give me is that you are a scam."

        He got so pissed off and said he would call me every day for the next month. I had a call silencer, but I could see him trying every day.

    • +2

      Done that a number of times. Getting the kids involved is fun. I even put one through taking care of my little son's real number two once. Done the "bottle of water into the loo and groaning" thing a few times. Hard not to laugh and give it away.

      Back in the late 1990s there was a guy in the US who did epic long pranks on fellow American telemarketers and put the recordings online. His longest pee one was a classic, wish I knew where to hear them again. Daniel Sch…… or something. I can't find him unfortunately.

      • +3

        There was also a Canadian guy who set up an automated answering system using a guy called "Lenny" (a demented Aussie). It was activated by noting the pauses so that it appeared to be having a conversation with the scammer. After a few intro comments it went into a loop where he would rabbit on about his daughters etc and keep asking vague questions. He posted a lot of them on Youtube. It was amazing how tolerant some of these callers were given they were going around in circles (some calls lasted nearly an hour). The ones with the "Microsoft Support" scammers were best as the callers end up getting infuriated easily.

    • +13

      I love stringing them on. A while ago I had one of those car accident insurance payout calls - they asked me about my recent accident and I played along for probably half an hour. In the end my girlfriend had a broken jaw, I had a crook back and scarred penis, our car was parked while we were hit from behind, hand cut and whips broken in the accident - she just didn't get it no matter how much I embellished it. It only stopped when I ran out of crap to say and told her she's an idiot for listening - quick disconnect then.

      • I usually tell them I don't have a Car.

        When they persist, I tell them I don't have a Phone.

        When they ask, "How is it that I'm speaking to you then?" I tell them they have raised a valid point and that "they called me".

        Usually they just hang up.

    • +8

      So my mate did this the on the weekend while I was in the car with him. The guy ended up yelling a torrent of abuse and hanging up.
      Next minute he starts getting a heap of calls and texts returning his calls.
      The scammer started using his number as the spoof number. He works in sales so had to answer every one. Was pretty funny to watch but could have been bad.
      The calls stopped after a day

    • buy a whistle

      • I recommend the "Storm Whistle" they are super loud and great for (profanity) up telemarketers ears.

    • +2

      I did that, put the phone down for hours after saying i’d be right back. Later the day the guy kept calling back over and over, he was furious. Apparently they are not allowed to terminate calls themselves.

    • and at the end slowly explain that you were getting all them mails from their mother beeing sort of neclected. Many give up when they know they lost much time only to be affected.

      • +2

        come again?

        • Told him that his mum rekoned he just did not last long enough. Works perfect for me with another operator getting a real job!

  • +5

    My mate had a call from his own number the other day from a scammer. Looks like they’re spoofing any number they can get their hands on

  • +2

    Some of these numbers are legit call centres due to spoofing. If you block all those numbers, it means that you will not get any calls from any call centre. I don't have any advice, I just hang up whenever I hear an automated message.

    Also, I keep getting calls from someone from "Financial Group", who is an actual person. I just said "don't call me again and hang up", but I still get calls from "Financial Group" every now and then.

    • +5

      I got one of these once. It was a woman with a very heavy Indian accent, trying to sell me something on behalf of "Coles Financial Group" (I do have one of their credit cards). I thought it was spam, and immediately blocked the number. I hadn't been able to do online banking since, as it turned out it was a legitimate call. Because the number was blocked I could never receive their one-time-pin which allows you to interact with your account. Only figured it out after a year or so and getting the FOS/AFCA involved…

      • +1

        Yea, same. I did the blocking thing, but later found out the support call centre for work could not reach me because I got their number blocked, most likely because one of the many scam calls I get was spoofing their phone number. I have stopped doing it since, just need to put up with scam calls.

  • +7

    If I want a bit of fun I tell the caller they have reached the number of a person on the Australia Federal Police witness protection program and that the call is being traced back to its actual origin.
    Amazing how fat they hnag up

    • +7

      They hang up on anything that doesn't align with their narrow script. Sorry - it wasn't because you mentioned the AFP…

  • +1

    Interestingly, once I switched from Telstra to Vodafone, these calls suddenly stopped for now. My number has been on the do-not-call register for a year.

    • I just switched from Vodafone to Telstra and while I'm not getting the calls within the day of switching I get a few spam texts every day.

      Maybe it's a coincidence, but it seemed like clockwork as soon as I ported over.

  • +12

    Google seems pretty good at filtering out spam calls and SMSs for me. I'm on a pixel 3.

    • Same here, Pixel 5, I do get the scam calls and texts but they get blocked and I don't even notice them anymore.

    • +2

      Yeah I've just started getting heaps of spam SMS. 5 or so each day for the last couple of days. Nearly every one has been automatically marked as spam. Good work Google.

      • My samsung also filters a few text messages every day. Seems quite reliable.

  • +16

    Hang on guys, if they are using F words they are definitely from the Australian Public Service,

  • +5

    The number of scam calls, not to mention SMSs, defo seems to have ramped up in the last month or so.

    Becoming a real pain up the @rse.

  • +2

    Get a new phone number and don't put it anywhere near the internet. Best thing I ever did. Not one spam call or text for nearly a year.

  • +3

    Scam calls are on the rise, though reportedly Telstra has some kind of tech that filters out scam calls

    https://exchange.telstra.com.au/were-now-blocking-over-13-mi...
    https://exchange.telstra.com.au/were-now-blocking-around-1-5...

    • Blocking scam calls is no mean feat. Our Networks team has built a smart platform that enables us to monitor inbound calls on our network that have suspicious characteristics, and block them before they can ever reach our customers.

    • We were already blocking around 1 million calls per month using a manual process, so the automation is a huge boon to our capabilities. Scammers use a range of methods and some of the more popular types at the moment include ‘wangiri’ or one-ring scams, and spoofed number calls either pretending to be a legitimate service (like the ATO) or a random number entirely.

    • +1

      I have two Telstra numbers (personal + work) and both get plenty of scam calls.

      • Same here, I actually get a hell of a lot more on my Telstra number than I do on my Optus one haha

    • Telstra seem to be doing a great job for me. I still get heaps of spam calls, but man, 95% of phishing texts are filtered into the spam folder.
      Love it.

  • +4

    I used to get a lot of scam calls, last was from NBN.

    I was pretty pissed off that day as I had a lot of s*it going on, so I picked up and asked if it brings them joy to scam people, and to stop scamming people, which of course, they promptly hung up after that.

    My SO overheard and told me that next time I should just play along, so I'm waiting for my next scam call, but I haven't gotten anything yet :(

    Still waiting for the next lucky person that's going to be taken on a "what is computer? what is this internet thing you talk about?" joy ride lol

    • Make sure you use a strange accent 😎

  • Seems like they don't pretend they are ATO any more. The rebate scam can be reported through ScamWatch.

  • +2

    Just get Lenny to take care of it.

    • Ohhh, that is a classic. Heard that one a long time ago, thanks for sharing!

  • I've already got like 8 spam calls from legit Aussie numbers today. If it starts getting bad might need to change phone numbers…. Worst case though.

    • +1

      8 spam calls a day seems pretty bad to me.
      What's bad? 50 calls a day?
      BTW I think there are apps that help blocking spam calls, have a look.

  • +3

    I got one the other day purporting to be from Queensland Government saying:

    • We must not take the Astra Zeneca vaccine as it will kill people

    • That they won't open the Queensland border until at leat 93% of the population are fully vaccinated

    • That if they open the border at less than that, then more than 2,240 people will die every month from Covid19

    As if anyone who isn't a scammer would ever say that!

    • +4

      Pretty sure that WAS from the Queensland Government.

    • +5

      Sounds like Craig Kelly was trying to get hold of you

  • +9

    I pretended that I only understood Italian ( I do know about 10 words, pizza being one of them). Eventually they had someone talk to me in Italian. It did not go well. It did not stop scam callers. It did amuse me though.

    • -1

      lol isn't pizza in italian still 'pizza'?

  • +11

    I ask them, male or female, in a deep voice…what are you wearing sweetheart? I've got suspenders and a lacy thong on.
    I love stringing em along, but funny how many hang up very quickly

    • +1

      Mate, love it!

    • Imagine if they are actually from the ATO

  • I get them as sms. Android sms has a spam catcher that seems to filter them all fine.
    Android dialer also seems to filter out some calls.

    • +2

      Same here, but doesn't work for Clive Palmer's rubbish, unfortunately.

  • +11

    I let any unknown numbers go to my voicemail. My voicemail message is something like "Due to the insane levels of scam calls, I no longer answer calls from unknown or blocked numbers. I apologise for the inconvenience but if it's important please feel free to text me. Or you can email me. If you don't have an email address for me, you're not getting one from this message, sorry. Please note I DO NOT check voice messages. You will need to text me or email. Thanks!"

    I still get hit by the s[p/c]ammers but now they waste their time, not mine. Almost no legit business gets caught up in it as it takes seconds to text "Hey, it's Bob here re Blah. Can you call me on (whatever)". Also, almost every legit contact has email details for me. Once I confirm it's a legit call I add their details to my contacts list and next time they call I answer.

  • +3

    I like asking the scammers who call if their Mother is proud of the job they do … You get some good reactions sometimes :)

    • ^ useful but impractical for a call Every Single Day - also if they ask how I know it's a scam will fail their test - silence or instant hang-ups could be Anything.

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