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Wed, Jul 24, 2019 10:26 pm

Publishers Clearinghouse Scammer

On Tuesday, July 23, 2019, I received a call from someone pretending to be a representative of Publishers Clearing House (PCH) who identified himself as Tony WIsh and told me I had won 5 1/2 million dollars, a Mercedes Benz, and free petrol for a year for the vehicle - obviously he was not someone who grew up in the U.S. to use "petrol" rather than "gas." He asked me what color car I wanted and whether I wanted the money all at once or in monthly payments and then requested personal information from me to ostensibly fill out a tax form. I asked him for a call back number as an assurance that he wasn't a scammer and he gave me the number 805-399-4139. I asked him where he was located and he told me was at the PCH headquarters in Washington, D.C., though when I immediately looked up the number, I saw it was a California number. When I pointed that out to him, he said that all PCH representatives get 8 numbers, claiming it was so the people they contacted would not have long distance charges, though the number he gave was not a local one for me. When I asked several times what street the headquarters was on in Washington, D.C., he repeated "you are breaking up." I hung up at that point.

For anyone who might receive such a call and think it could be legitimate, Publishers Clearing House states on their Fraud Protection page that "Our major winners are notified by mail or in person (at our option) and we never phone ahead to disclose that someone has won a major prize."

I filed a complaint at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Consumer Complaints website as I usually do when I get calls from such scammers intent on defrauding those they call. I also filed a complaint at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Complaint Assistant site at where you can select the "Rip-offs and Impostor Scams" option.

[/security/scams] permanent link

Mon, Jul 15, 2019 10:53 pm

Scammer calling from 210-361-8678

I received a call from 210-361-8678 on my cellphone today. The call was obviously from a scammer as the message included some statement about my social security number (SSN) and legal action that would be taken against me if I didn't call the number from which I was called - I didn't note the exact message, but I found someone at the Whycall.me site at Phone: 210-361-8678 reporting a message that seemed similar if not the same as what I had heard. The other person reported he or she received the message below on July 16, 2018:

Security number is used for some fraudulent activities and due to that we have in order to suspend your social security number right away from the Law and enforcement Department and also to freeze your bank accounts before we go ahead and do that. If you need any further information about it kindly call back at 210-361-8678. Once again that's 210-361-8678. Thank you.

There were numerous other people reporting similar calls where someone was referencing a problem with the person's SSN and advising the person to call 210-361-8678. The call is obviously an attempt to defraud those called. I went to the FCC Consumer Complaint webpage and filed a complaint. I received an email response to the form I submitted with a ticket number. The email response from the FCC stated "The FCC is committed to doing what we can to protect you from these unwelcome interruptions to your day. Unwanted calls, including illegal and spoofed robocalls, are the largest category of complaints the FCC receives." It is troubling, though, that some fraudster has been engaged in this activity using the 210-361-8678 number for a year with no action taken against him. The first report I saw on the Whycall.me site was on July 16, 2018, but I saw others reporting the same issue on that webpage from that date through July 15, 2019. The Whycall.me site allows one to search for reports filed by other people on calls from telemarkers and scammers. The site describes itself thusly:

Whycall.me is a consumer complaints board used to report telemarketers, robocallers, scammers, and debt collectors that violate the law. We receive more than 6,000 complaints each month, which helps potential victims identify and avoid answering calls from problematic phone numbers. Our global phone book of numbers is powered by crowdsourcing and online data sources.

The site's homepage advises users of the site to also report the calls to relevant government agencies, which it lists. For the number that called me, the site listed the following information:

San Benito, Texas
Its exchange 361 is managed by SOUTHWESTERN BELL - TX
The number is currently on switch number SNBNTXSBDS0 (switch is a technical specification, provided here for phone hobbyists)
Around 20% of people reported it as "Recorded Message"
You are the 2nd person to search for it here.
There has been a total of 30 comments left about the number.
Latest people reported the number as that of "SCAM, "Social Security'"

I registed an account at the site and posted a note about the call I received today.

[/security/scams] permanent link

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