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Driven to death by phone scammers

Topic closed. 32 replies. Last post 1 year ago by waltoy.

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RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
mid-Ohio
United States
Member #9
March 24, 2001
19830 Posts
Offline
Posted: October 8, 2015, 5:05 pm - IP Logged

The Federal Government should call on the Jamaican Government to shut down these scam artists. If they don't, just block all calls from that country, they would act very fast then.

There are scammers all over.  The letter I got saying I've won a jackpot and they needed $15 handling fee was from Kansas.  The call I got from some women saying I was getting my final warning about the IRS filing a lawsuit against me and I should call some department sounded very American.  Most of the calls I get are from scammers in the state.

The thing I hate about the SOBs is they ring the phone all day but not long enough for me to get to it before they hang up.  They call old folks and expect them to hang out next to their phones and answer within four rings.  Family and people who matter know with my bad knees it's going to take me six or seven rings to get up and travel to my phone.

 * you don't need to buy more tickets, just buy a winning ticket * 
   
             Evil Looking       

    zephbe's avatar - animal butterfly.jpg
    South Carolina
    United States
    Member #77167
    July 15, 2009
    556 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: October 8, 2015, 5:39 pm - IP Logged

    Why do they talk to people they do not know?

      Bondi Junction
      Australia
      Member #57242
      December 24, 2007
      1102 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: October 8, 2015, 6:21 pm - IP Logged

      The phone calls wouldn't stop.

      The man on the other end of the line made promises of a big payoff: millions of dollars in prize money. But first the IRS needed $1,500 in taxes, he insisted, then the jackpot would arrive at the family home, a camera crew ready to capture the excitement.

      The calls came a couple of times a day; other times, nearly 50.

      Mr. Albert, we need the money to be sent today ...

      Don't hang up the phone, Mr. Albert ...

      Mr. Albert, don't tell your wife about this ...

      Albert Poland Jr. had worked 45 years for the Burlington hosiery factory in Harriman, Tennessee, starting off as a mechanic before rising to become a quality-control manager.

      He and his wife, Virginia, were living a humble life in the Appalachian foothills near Knoxville, having raised a son and daughter in their 62 years of marriage. The family patriarch was known simply as Daddy.

      At age 81, his mind was faltering. He suffered from Alzheimer's and dementia. And the caller — a man in Jamaica — preyed on that vulnerability.

      Poland's lucidity fluctuated. In February, he went to the local police station and asked whether they could make the phone calls from the 876 area code stop. Another time, he went to the post office to send money to his caller. The teller stopped him, talked with him and handed him a brochure on Jamaican lottery scams. He thanked her.

      His family tried to intervene numerous times. On one of his good days, he told his wife simply, "I'm in too deep."

      On March 21, the caller asked for $1,500. Poland withdrew the maximum $400 from his ATM and sent it via Western Union. He was sure he was going to win more than $2 million. He hoped to pay off his son's mortgage and help his family for years to come.

      His son, Chris Poland, was livid when his mother told him his father was talking with the caller again. Chris, 53, had had the same conversation for months with his dad; his father had sent more than $5,000 to the caller. Chris spoke with his father like most any son would. "Daddy, you taught me the value of the dollar. Why are you giving money away?"

      As father and son talked by cell phone, the Jamaican called back on Poland's land line.

      Mr. Albert...

      The next morning, a Sunday, was like a repeat record. More calls and another tense phone conversation between father and son.

      Virginia got dressed for church. Her husband decided to stay home.

      It was a beautiful spring morning, with temperatures hovering around 60 degrees and the trees a lush green. Poland strolled around his yard. A neighbor waved: "Looks like we're gonna have to start mowing soon."

      "Yeah, looks like it," Poland said.

      He walked to the basement of the family home. He carried with him a snub-nose .38 revolver.

      In his suicide note, Poland told his family not to spend much on his funeral and said he hoped that when more than $2 million arrived tomorrow, it would vindicate him.

      'Truly heartbreaking'

      Albert Poland was in the grips of a Jamaican lottery scammer — part of a cottage industry that targets nearly 300,000 Americans a year, most of them elderly, and has enticed them to send an estimated $300 million annually to the Caribbean island nation.

      AARP has run campaigns warning about the scams originating from the Jamaican 876 area code. The U.S. Postal Service has published pamphlets and distributed them across the country. The Senate Special Committee on Aging held hearings two years ago about the magnitude of the problem and urged U.S. and Jamaican authorities to do more.

      "The Jamaican lottery scam is a cruel, persistent and sophisticated scam that has victimized seniors throughout the nation," said Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, the committee's chairwoman. "It is truly heartbreaking that this scam has robbed seniors of hundreds of millions of dollars."

      It's such a huge problem in Jamaica that the scams have been dubbed the highest-level Tier 1 threat: a "clear and present danger" to national security, says Peter Bunting, Jamaica's national security minister.

      From children to the nation's most tech-savvy 20-somethings, from a former deputy mayor of Montego Bay to the most vicious gang members, lottery scams have left few segments of the island nation untouched.

      "It is extremely corrosive to the fabric of society," Bunting says. "We have seen where it has corrupted police officers. It has corrupted legitimate businesspersons who end up playing some role in laundering money."

      The Poland family first spoke to CNN in April. Investigators are looking into Albert Poland's case and hope to provide some solace to the family soon; for now, his scammer remains at large.

      From there, CNN followed the money, traveling to ground zero of the scams, Montego Bay, where we witnessed a police raid of a suspect's house.

      In Jamaica, more than 200 deaths a year have been tied to the scams. And in the United States, the scams have cost people their lives — and their life savings.

      Trial marks U.S. first

      Edna Schmeets looks like she's straight out of "The Golden Girls" central casting: a grandma with curly gray hair and a 5-foot-2 frame. At 86, she's soft-spoken, yet opinionated.

      Just a month after Albert Poland took his life in Tennessee, Schmeets faced down her scammer in federal court in Bismarck, North Dakota.

      Sanjay Ashani Williams started off as a scammer around 2008, making calls to elderly Americans. He eventually graduated to buying and selling caller lists — reams of information containing the names and numbers of tens of thousands of potential victims.

      Williams made more than $5 million on his operation, the government said. His case marked the first U.S. trial of what officials call a "lead list scammer."

      In addition to dealing in lists, Williams continued making calls himself, including to Schmeets.

      "He said I had won this $19 million from American Cash Awards and that I would have to, you know, pay taxes on this money before they would release it," Schmeets testified, according to trial transcripts. "And they kept calling about sending another check and another check and another check. I mean, it just kept on and on until I had both my life insurances gone, all my savings. Everything.

      "I just had lost everything."

      She sent checks for $65,000, $57,000 and $20,000 over the course of the next nine months.

      How much did she lose total?

      "Oh, my goodness," she testified. "When I figured it out, it was about $297,000."

      Assistant U.S. Attorney Clare Hochhalter probed, "Did you become suspicious after you kept sending money and you didn't get your prize?"

      "Yes, I did," Schmeets replied.

      But she said she was told not to tell anyone "about this until you get your winnings, your $19 million. Then, you can tell everybody."

      Why keep sending money?

      Because, Schmeets testified, she was told she would get "all your money back, plus the $19 million."

      Schmeets and her husband, Lawrence, had been married 62 years. They lived on a small cattle farm. Her husband worked in the railroad industry; she clerked at a grocery store to bring in extra cash. They raised five children: four boys and one girl. The family had endured tragedy years ago when one of their sons died at age 31.

      Her husband died in 2010. Phone calls congratulating her on winning a lottery began in fall 2011 and continued through June 2012.

      Her motivations for wanting the money were simple: "I was going to just give it to my children."

      Instead, all that she and her husband had worked for was gone.

      She glanced occasionally across the room at Williams. He never returned her gaze. Instead, she said, he rifled through a garbage bag containing hundreds of pages of court documents. He was dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit, with a bushy beard and braids piled on top of his head.

      She thought about how different he was than the person she had envisioned. "He seemed like such a nice guy on the phone," Schmeets would say later.

      Williams operated out of Montego Bay and established an intricate network of runners based in Charlotte, North Carolina, to pick up money and send it to him.

      His website, gamblerslead.com, was a gold mine for scammers seeking phone numbers for elderly Americans. Authorities studied more than 500,000 emails connected to the site, an FBI agent testified.

      Authorities discovered that Williams was buying lists at wholesale on the black market, where they can go for up to $5,000 and contain tens of thousands of names. He carved up the lists and sold names and numbers to callers for $5.50 apiece.

      Thirty-two people in the United States and Jamaica were indicted in the scheme. Eleven pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, seven are awaiting trial, and 14 are awaiting extradition. According to authorities, many pretended to be FBI agents, bank personnel and IRS workers to convince people that their lottery winnings were real.

      Seventy-two Americans, all older than 55, were identified as losing money in Williams' operation.

      William Porter, 94, was a fighter pilot in World War II in the Pacific theater. He lost $250,000. Charlotte Davis, 64, was also targeted. She testified that she was told by her scammer that if she didn't send the money, he'd rape her daughters and kill her son.

      A 72-year-old victim from Odessa, Texas, committed suicide. Prosecutor Hochhalter told CNN that it was too difficult legally to bring homicide charges in the case. "But we believe we have the factual evidence to suggest that this offense involved conduct that created a risk of serious bodily injury or death," Hochhalter said. "And that's evidenced by the fact that at least one person did commit suicide."

      Williams was combative at the defense table through much of the trial. He said his rights were violated when he was arrested on a trip in North Carolina, and he threw fits that annoyed even his own lawyer. He refused the judge's recommendation to wear nice clothes in court, instead opting for his prison outfit. He had the same reaction when the judge suggested he might want to consider a plea deal that would result in three to five years in prison.

      Instead, Williams placed his fate in the hands of a jury.

      His attorney, Charles Stock, tried to make the case that hotels, credit card companies, casinos and other companies buy and sell Americans' personal information all the time — and that it's perfectly legal. This is true, the prosecution countered, but it becomes illegal when you knowingly use the information for a crime.

      Williams was convicted on an array of conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering charges. He faces up to 40 years in prison.

      "That was a big relief," Schmeets said, "to know that he's going to prison."

      During the trial, an expert from Jamaica's equivalent of the FBI gave an assessment of just how endemic the scamming has become.

      Kevin Watson, a corporal with Jamaica's Major Organized Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency, told the court that many Jamaicans see scamming as "the only source of income for them."

      "In small pockets of communities," Watson said, "you will find many persons involved in this activity. You will also find children who grew up ... to believe that this is OK — it's OK to get involved in lottery scamming."

      Deadly competition

      The turquoise water off the coast of Montego Bay serves as a majestic paradise for millions of tourists.

      But outside the walls of the resorts, the victims of lottery scams are counted not by sums of money lost but by an ever-growing tally of bodies.

      The expansive four-lane highway along Montego Bay's Resort Row gives way to winding, pothole-filled roads where corrugated-tin homes press up against the cracked pavement. Goats straddle the sides of roads barely wide enough for two cars.

      It is here in the ghettos that competition for calling lists has turned deadly.

      More than 200 Jamaicans a year are killed in connection with lottery scams — a fifth of the killings in the island nation, which has the dubious distinction of being among the most violent countries per capita in the world.

      Scammers who sell names and numbers to callers expect a cut of their profits; if they find out they're being cheated, they'll hunt down and kill the caller or a member of his family. Other killings occur when rival gang members steal caller lists.

      "It's a cancer in the society," says Luis Moreno, the U.S ambassador to Jamaica. "Gangs escalate armed competition with each other over who is going to control these lists and who is going to get the best scammers, the best phone numbers, the best phone guys. Even children as young as 10, 12 years old are tied in as couriers."

      In June, a 14-year-old was dragged out of his home and machine-gunned by gang members connected to the scams. The same fate befell a 62-year-old grandmother in July. Two American women were wounded in August at a nightclub when a gang member opened fire on a rival who owed him money. The rival was killed.

      "These gangs are often indiscriminate," says Bunting, the national security minister. "When they come looking for their target, if they don't find him, they will shoot members of his family to essentially send a message."

      The average Jamaican makes about $300 a month. The top lottery scammers boast of bringing in $100,000 a week. They share videos of washing cars with champagne and show off by setting fire to thousands of dollars in cash.

      Scammers justify their actions by calling it reparations for slavery, authorities say.

      We're robbing the rich to pay the poor, scammers think. If someone is stupid enough to send us money, that's their fault.

      "You're not stealing from the rich to give to the poor," Moreno says. "In fact, you're victimizing the most vulnerable people of a society — Jamaican as well as the U.S."

      Lottery scamming sprang up between 1998 and 1999 when legitimate American and Canadian call centers set up operations in Montego Bay. Young Jamaicans were trained on how to empathize with customers.

      No one could have known how those skills would result in today's flourishing scam business.

      Kenrick Stephenson, known simply as Bebe, is credited with being the country's first lottery scammer. His hub sprang out of Granville, one of Montego Bay's poorest and most dangerous neighborhoods. Bebe trained, recruited and cultivated young scammers.

      Mansions popped up, taking over land where squatters dwelled. Expensive cars cruised the streets. Scammers flashed their bling. At the gates of call centers, scammers lurked, offering money to anyone who would provide lead lists.

      But even the godfather of lottery scams wasn't immune to the spiraling violence. Bebe's life was snubbed out gangland-style at the gates of his mansion in the plush Ironshore neighborhood of Montego Bay in May 2014.

      Showing how intricately tied scammers are within Jamaican society, Bebe was a prominent gay activist and powerful figure within the ruling People's National Party. When he was killed, a party member said he would be "sadly missed." His casket was said to be made of gold.

      Top officials know that the stakes are great. If the violence moves closer to the resorts and scares off visitors, the nation's economy would crumble. Its multibillion-dollar tourism industry counts for about 90% of the economy.

      "We have to have a zero-tolerance approach," Bunting says. "We need to establish that this is as much a crime as drug trafficking, as much a crime as if you held up somebody with a gun. It is in some ways even more cruel because of the age and the vulnerability of the victims."

      A Jamaican raid

      The sign at the entrance to Rosemount Gardens, a middle- to upper-class neighborhood in Montego Bay, reads: "The law is active here. Take no chances."

      Today, the law is active.

      Wham. Wham. Wham. Two agents pound on the front door of a house. The sound echoes around the neighborhood. A dog barks from a nearby house.

      One of the agents has a 9 mm machine gun. The other is armed with a Glock handgun. More are standing back. They've gotten intelligence that a man inside has earned maybe hundreds of thousands of dollars from scamming.

      The house, once a one-room concrete shack, is undergoing extensive renovations, including a new wing and a front porch with intricate floor-to-ceiling grill work — fancy burglar bars to keep intruders out. A mound of sand sits next to the porch. A stucco front wall remains unfinished.

      Inside, the suspect grabs a hammer and drives a nail into his laptop, piercing the hard drive. He runs to his bathroom and throws the laptop in a bucket of water in his shower. He begins eating pieces of notebook paper.

      The agent with the machine gun kicks open the door and rushes inside. Other agents follow, their Glocks drawn, and go through the house room-to-room.

      In seconds, they spot the suspect in a back bedroom. Wearing only gray briefs, he holds his hands in the air and falls down on his bed.

      "You get out of bed!" an agent screams.

      The suspect moans, a mortified look across his face.

      "Right now! Right now! Downnnnnnnn!"

      He lies on his stomach on the bedroom floor. An agent handcuffs him. That's when authorities realize he's chewing on something.

      "Spit it out! Spit out everything!"

      An agent pulls out a machete and stands over the suspect, the blade looming over his head. He coughs up pieces of paper with names and numbers.

      Kevin Watson, the Major Organized Crime and Anti-Corruption official who testified at the North Dakota trial, oversees the raid on this August day. Watson is a made-for-Hollywood cop, with slick-backed hair, a million-dollar smile and effusive pride in law enforcement.

      Watson stands in the bedroom, the handcuffed suspect next to him. Authorities have found a treasure trove: the laptop, the chewed-up paper, cell phones and a notebook with dozens of names and numbers.

      Watson holds up a flip phone and scrolls through the call log. Scammers prefer to use flip phones instead of smartphones to limit their digital footprint. Calls to America were made at 10:42 a.m., 10:43, 10:46, 10:47. Each call went to a different area code.

      "It's quite unlikely that you know someone from all these states," Watson says.

      He turns to the suspect. "How long have you been involved in lottery scamming?" Watson asks. "I don't want you to tell me that you're not involved, because we didn't come here by chance. If you understand how MOCA works, you understand that we came here because we know what you're up to. All right. So how long have you been involved in lottery scamming?"

      The suspect says he wishes not to speak. Under further questioning, he acknowledges that he defrauded people a "few years ago."

      "Like how many years?" Watson asks.

      "I don't want to respond," the suspect says.

      "You do understand that we can get all of that information, right? So it would be prudent for you to be honest with us," Watson replies.

      Silence.

      In the suspect's wallet is the name, address and Social Security number of a 69-year-old man in Wisconsin. The suspect admits he's never been to Wisconsin.

      Investigators log all items seized and bag them. They take away the suspect to be booked and jailed. He has been charged with "knowingly possessing identity information of other persons with intention to commit an offense," Watson says.

      Four years ago, Watson scrapped his IT job for the opportunity to conduct raids like these. At 37, the father of two young children has made targeting lottery scams one of his primary aims.

      When he spoke at an elementary school this year, a teacher pulled him aside and told him that 17 of the 35 students in her class wanted to be lottery scammers. He spoke with two boys, ages 7 and 9, who told him they hoped to become scammers so they could drive fancy cars and live in big houses.

      Watson's heart sank. "I was very broken by what I heard," he recalls. "What lottery scamming is doing is making it look like only thieves live in Jamaica."

      As he leaves the scene of the raid this day, he walks out the broken front door and gives a thumbs up.

      "We're successful with this one," he says.

      Plugging the leaks

      Watson and his Jamaican colleagues have begun making headway in the fight, although they admit it will be a long battle.

      Law enforcement personnel have met with priests and preachers, business leaders and teachers to talk about the need to stop the scams. Just this year, police have spoken to more than 10,000 children and teens at schools across Montego Bay. Their message: There's nothing glamorous about stealing from old people or getting executed.

      Jamaican authorities and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement launched a joint task force in 2009, called JOLT, to focus on the scams. But there was little the Jamaican Operations Linked to Telemarketing task force could do, because the scammers were essentially untouchable. There was little political will to prosecute the scammers and few laws to hold them accountable.

      And so, they flourished. One prominent rapper glorified scamming in a song. People could walk down the streets of Montego Bay and hear scammers operating in the open, Watson says.

      That changed in 2013, when Jamaican lawmakers passed what has become known as the Lottery Scam Law, giving authorities the tools they need to conduct sweeping raids and keep suspects locked up.

      More than 500 arrests have been made since then.

      Western Union and Moneygram now closely monitor transactions, especially around Montego Bay. Scammers have begun shifting tactics, using money mules to carry cash directly to them. Sometimes, they talk their victims into sending appliances with cash hidden inside.

      Call centers have tightened their operations. Employees get searched before and after their shifts. Cell phones, pens, notepads, CDs, flash drives — everything — gets stored in lockers while they work. Their Internet access at work is strictly controlled.

      Workers also undergo lie detector tests once a quarter, get fingerprinted and are warned of the likelihood of jail time if caught working with lottery scams.

      Those measures have "completely locked down the leakage of information," says Yoni Epstein, who heads a trade group representing more than two dozen call centers in Jamaica.

      The centers provide tech support, customer relations and other services for companies like Xerox and Amazon. They employ 17,000 Jamaicans.

      Scammers no longer wait outside their gates.

      Still, caller lists are available online through black markets, authorities say. Leaks can come from disgruntled workers — if not in Jamaica, then in other countries — or from hackers or other criminal enterprises.

      History was made this year when a Jamaican was extradited to the United States for the first time on lottery scam charges. Damion Bryan Barrett, 29, pleaded guilty to wire fraud and was sentenced in June to 46 months in prison.

      "Before all this, I was just going through a very difficult time. Smoking, drinking, just living," Barrett told the judge in federal court in Fort Lauderdale. "I just want to go home to my son — be a better person for him, so this won't happen to him."

      Moreno, the U.S. ambassador, says Barrett's extradition "sends the message that there's no way that you can really get away with this."

      Jamaica's minister of national security agrees. Bunting says Jamaican officials want more suspects extradited because no Jamaican wants to end up in a U.S. prison. When top drug traffickers from Jamaica were extradited to the United States, Bunting says, it cut down tremendously on his nation's drug trade.

      "If we could get maybe a few dozen scammers extradited," he says, "then it could have a similar chilling effect."

      Authorities pledge that more extraditions are on their way.

      The calls keep coming

      The day after Albert Poland killed himself in Tennessee, neighbors brought casserole dishes and reflected on the man who taught Sunday school for more than 45 years.

      The phone rang. Caller ID showed that it was from the 876 area code. Then it rang again. And again. And again. More than 40 calls from Jamaica. Poland wasn't even in the ground yet.

      Chris Poland could hardly contain his rage. The son decided to do something. He picked up his father's phone, placed it on speaker and hit the record button on his cell phone. He pretended to be his father.

      The man on the other end said he hoped to deliver millions today. He said he'd received the $400 from Saturday but needed another $1,500.

      "Where is your wife right now?"

      "She's at the store," Chris responded.

      "Ah, OK, OK, OK. What I need you to do now, Mr. Albert, is I need you to get your bank card and your identification card and go in the car right now. I'm not going to hang up. OK?"

      "But I don't have a car. She's in the car," Chris said.

      "Ah, and that's the car you'd have to use to go to the Western Union and your bank. Right?"

      Yes, Chris told him, adding that maybe he could catch a cab.

      "That would be more better, because we don't want your bank to close today and we need to deliver this money," the man said. "We want to deliver your $2.5 million to you before your bank closes, so you can put it in a safe place. OK?"

      "OK," Chris responded.

      "So go outside right now and get a cab. I'm not going to hang up ..."

      "OK," Chris said. "Where will I get the money, the $2.5 million?"

      "Remember that we took your address from you on Saturday. It's going to be delivered directly to your doorstep. OK?"

      Chris said he needs to hail a cab; the caller promised to call back in 10 minutes. The two hang up.

      More than three months after Poland's death, the calls have not ceased.

      Sometimes, Virginia Poland picks up the phone. She found her husband's suicide note next to his computer. "He was my best friend. He was my buddy. He was just good to me," she says softly, dabbing tears with a tissue. "When they took him, they took my life, too."

      Once, she told her husband's scammer that her husband killed himself. The man laughed. She told him to call the funeral home.

      How the scams work

      Getting hold of a caller list is gold in the scamming world.

      Originating from legitimate calling centers, such lists contain the names, addresses and phone numbers of thousands of Americans and can be purchased online in the black market.

      Scammers begin by congratulating their prey for winning a lottery or a Mercedes. Victims are then directed to pay "taxes" up front, typically $1,500 to $3,000 through Western Union or Moneygram. The winnings never surface.

      Sometimes scammers send checks for thousands of dollars to lure people in; the checks bounce, but by then the victims have paid their "taxes."

      Scammers hook the most vulnerable, often tricking them into sending cash again and again. They sense a lonely person, flatter them and convince them they're friends. Sometimes, victims get coerced into sending TVs and appliances to Jamaica. A rare few have flown to Jamaica and married their scammers.

      When victims try to back out, scammers use Google Earth to zoom in on their homes, describe the neighborhood and threaten to kill or rape family members.

      One elderly American has been duped of more than $1.5 million, authorities say. Another taped 99 $100 bills to the pages of Better Homes and Gardens and sent it to her scammer.

      Three years ago, a 70-year-old engineer sent hundreds of thousands to his scammers. At one point, he received a letter purportedly from the U.S. ambassador to Jamaica asking him to take part in a sting. The man flew to Jamaica, but authorities — who'd gotten wind of the plan — met the man at a bank before he wired $50,000 to his scammers' account. The scammers' had planned to kill him shortly after the transfer.

      Some of the more sophisticated scammers send mass mailings to tens of thousands of Americans, asking them to fill out a form and send it back if they want to participate in a sweepstakes. The mailings often appear legitimate. The scammers will look at the handwriting of respondents and focus on ones who appear to be elderly.

      News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

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      Consumers are so infuriated with robocalls that when we called for volunteers to try out three widely used robocall blocker devices plus Nomorobo’s call-blocking technology, more than 130 people responded. We asked each person to install the call blocker that we sent them, monitor the number of robocalls that got through for four days, then disengage it and compare the results. We also asked them to describe how easy it was to set up the robocall blocker.

      Some of the devices offer a blacklist, meaning that the software is already preloaded with thousands of spam numbers, which are automatically blocked from coming through. Some offer a blacklist and a "whitelist"; that is, consumers can also manually program the phone to recognize and accept a certain number of known "safe" numbers. We chose a product that represented each of these technologies to send to our testers, who were average consumers.

       

      Consumer Reports

      We all get a lot out of lotteries!

        Bondi Junction
        Australia
        Member #57242
        December 24, 2007
        1102 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: October 8, 2015, 6:31 pm - IP Logged

        If nothing else they could get them to Call Australia instead of the United States. Thud

        The Aussies would just divert the calls to New Zealand!

        LOL

        We all get a lot out of lotteries!

          duckman's avatar - ducklogodrake64x64
          Jacksonville Florida
          United States
          Member #23018
          October 6, 2005
          918 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: October 8, 2015, 6:50 pm - IP Logged

          @ duckman,

             Great stuff, LMAO, I hope I can remember all that when I get a call, although most time I don't answer the phone less I know who it is.

           

          Reminds me of a time a telemarketer had the unfortunate luck of catching me when I had nothing to do, very unusual.

          Long story short, I kept them on the phone trying to waste their time for so long that I finally asked, why don't you give up ?

          He said they were not allowed to do that. LMAO !

          Usually I don't even bother to answer these calls but when I've got some extra time, I will. Had one scammer keep calling (have call block so it doesn't even ring, but does record the call in Caller ID, he called about 25 times), so I unblocked his number so the next time he called and I was home, it was fun time Smiley Long story short, he never called back again...

            Artist77's avatar - batman14

            United States
            Member #121745
            January 16, 2012
            4792 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: October 8, 2015, 8:01 pm - IP Logged

            This is so sad. I saw a dateline episode a few years ago and this woman who had been scammed online, was asked why she did not know it was a scam. She responded by saying well they contacted ME out of all the people in the world. And she looked to be in her 40's.

             

            My land line rings multiple times a day (based on the caller id) but I rarely pick up and don't use voice mail on it. When I do pick up, the caller hangs up or some "charity" asks me for money. Last time I picked up, this woman addressed me by my first name and said I was harder to get hold of than....insert cutesy statement here.  I said well if I called someone 20 times and the call was ignored, I would take that as a big hint!  And I only keep a landline due to 9-11 like a number of us in the DC area.

            J'aime La France.

              grwurston's avatar - Cute animals_Spider.jpg
              Winning makes me smile.
              bel air maryland
              United States
              Member #90251
              April 24, 2010
              4878 Posts
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              Posted: October 8, 2015, 8:18 pm - IP Logged

              Usually I don't even bother to answer these calls but when I've got some extra time, I will. Had one scammer keep calling (have call block so it doesn't even ring, but does record the call in Caller ID, he called about 25 times), so I unblocked his number so the next time he called and I was home, it was fun time Smiley Long story short, he never called back again...

              A lot of the sweepstakes letters saying you have won XXX amount of dollars come from the midwest, Kansas, Nebraska area. Once you mail in one entry you will be guaranteed  to get dozens every month.

              A lot of them ask you to order things, similar to Publishers Clearing House. So, if you have older family members suddenly giving you items that they say they mail-ordered or bought online, it is a dead giveaway they are falling for these scammers. KEEP stressing that the sweepstakes are BS and they are just conning them out of their money. If necessary take charge of your elders finances. Check their mail. They may get bills and set them aside and forget to pay them. Especially if they're sending a lot of money to Jamaica or wherever.

              Bottom line, keep an eye on them.

              "You can observe a lot just by watching." Yogi Berra, Hall of Fame baseball player.

              The numbers will tell you what numbers to play. Pay attention to the numbers.

              Don't just think outside the box, crush it.

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                Harbinger
                D.C./MD.
                United States
                Member #44103
                July 30, 2006
                5583 Posts
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                Posted: October 8, 2015, 8:29 pm - IP Logged

                A lot of the sweepstakes letters saying you have won XXX amount of dollars come from the midwest, Kansas, Nebraska area. Once you mail in one entry you will be guaranteed  to get dozens every month.

                A lot of them ask you to order things, similar to Publishers Clearing House. So, if you have older family members suddenly giving you items that they say they mail-ordered or bought online, it is a dead giveaway they are falling for these scammers. KEEP stressing that the sweepstakes are BS and they are just conning them out of their money. If necessary take charge of your elders finances. Check their mail. They may get bills and set them aside and forget to pay them. Especially if they're sending a lot of money to Jamaica or wherever.

                Bottom line, keep an eye on them.

                Good advice GR. 

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                  New Member
                  New York City
                  United States
                  Member #169249
                  October 9, 2015
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                  Posted: October 9, 2015, 6:21 am - IP Logged

                  Have watching some videos about these Jamaican scammers and it really make me mad to know that even Jamaican government is not able to eliminate these scammers from the country. They say that when they arrest those scammers, it just takes 1 or 2 days before they go out of jail. Yeah, they have so much money. Paying bail is not a hard thing.

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                    texas
                    United States
                    Member #152324
                    February 11, 2014
                    168 Posts
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                    Posted: October 9, 2015, 3:07 pm - IP Logged

                    Very sad story,if ur number is not in my contacts,u won,t get an answer you will have to leave a voice mail.I,m very aware of this perticular scam.

                    May their souls rot in hell.

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                      Baton Rouge, LA
                      United States
                      Member #4602
                      May 7, 2004
                      699 Posts
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                      Posted: October 11, 2015, 9:32 pm - IP Logged

                      I get some scammers on my cell phone, usually credit card scams. I've gotten the Microsoft scam at work a few times along with someone claiming to be from our IT department saying my computer is infected and they need me to do certain things to stop it. I know Microsoft won't call me and I know how our IT department handles infected PCs because something happened to me once that made me think my work PC might be infected, and they didn't handle it the way these people wanted to. In fact, I had to call and report my PC might be infected to our IT staff and they immediately logged into my PC remotely and checked it.

                      The dead giveaway for a prize scam is pretty simple. If the winner has to send money to claim their prize, it's a scam pure and simple. Why people don't know this is beyond me since it's so well publicized. Even the state lotteries themselves publicize this.

                      Prisoner Six

                      "I am not a number, I am a free man!"

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                        Baton Rouge, LA
                        United States
                        Member #4602
                        May 7, 2004
                        699 Posts
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                        Posted: October 11, 2015, 9:35 pm - IP Logged

                        Very sad story,if ur number is not in my contacts,u won,t get an answer you will have to leave a voice mail.I,m very aware of this perticular scam.

                        May their souls rot in hell.

                        Sad that it has to be that way these days. I for the most part am the same way. I only answer calls from my local area code, but now I'm getting scam calls from local numbers too.

                        Prisoner Six

                        "I am not a number, I am a free man!"

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                          usa
                          United States
                          Member #89197
                          April 2, 2010
                          2817 Posts
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                          Posted: October 17, 2015, 12:26 pm - IP Logged

                          We have scammers right here in the states.. LOOK AT ILLINOIS !!!  FRAUD SCAM.......... SOME ONE NEEDS TO GO TO JAIL !!!

                            CSense's avatar - villiarna
                            New Member
                            East Coast
                            United States
                            Member #168062
                            August 15, 2015
                            25 Posts
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                            Posted: October 17, 2015, 11:50 pm - IP Logged

                            The Federal Government should call on the Jamaican Government to shut down these scam artists. If they don't, just block all calls from that country, they would act very fast then.

                            Than they should do that with Mexico/South America, Africa, Australia, Asia and Europe. A lot of scammers are from all over the world. I get emails that are so clever it take a person with common sense to see they're from scam artists. I even got one from a reputable USA company and contact them by sending that email to confirm whether they sent it or not. They replied the same day and said it's not them but scammers and thanks me for informing them about it. Read too many stories about Americans sending thousand of dollars even their life savings to these scammers.Not all Americans who were scammed are the elderly too, some are young and middle age. I feel really sorry for the wife who lost her wonderful husband like that.

                            Always pay forward, it's a good start in life that make everybody happy.

                              CSense's avatar - villiarna
                              New Member
                              East Coast
                              United States
                              Member #168062
                              August 15, 2015
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                              Posted: October 18, 2015, 12:05 am - IP Logged

                              A lot of the sweepstakes letters saying you have won XXX amount of dollars come from the midwest, Kansas, Nebraska area. Once you mail in one entry you will be guaranteed  to get dozens every month.

                              A lot of them ask you to order things, similar to Publishers Clearing House. So, if you have older family members suddenly giving you items that they say they mail-ordered or bought online, it is a dead giveaway they are falling for these scammers. KEEP stressing that the sweepstakes are BS and they are just conning them out of their money. If necessary take charge of your elders finances. Check their mail. They may get bills and set them aside and forget to pay them. Especially if they're sending a lot of money to Jamaica or wherever.

                              Bottom line, keep an eye on them.

                              Excellent points. Another thing the Jamaica's area code can be used in this country too, as I found out when I got a call on my phone. I thought it was from Jamaica and track them down from an online website about scammers' calls. Found out they were right here in this country of all places. So there are scammers here too, who used area codes from other countries making people think that. Turned out on that particular website about phone scams, there's been tons of complaints about it. Soon as another scam artist or scam artists are sent to prison, another group is around to take over. Such a pain in the neck getting calls, emails and letters from these greedy people who think they can fool everybody. They fooled some but certainly can't fooled people like me, you and posters on here.

                              Always pay forward, it's a good start in life that make everybody happy.