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  • Writer's pictureDearRobin

Sketchy Telephone Call

Dear Robin,

I answered my mobile phone yesterday because the caller id displayed the number of the local police department. The man calling asked me if I would donate some money to keep the town safe. I course I said yes...he said that because this was a "Christmas Campaign" he could only accept a prepaid gift card as a contribution. I said that I did not have a prepaid gift card. He said that I should go to Walmart and purchase a gift card and that he would call me back later in the afternoon. I told him that I did not want to go out because the roads were icy. He told me that it was very important to get the gift card information to him right away because it was the last day of the "Christmas Campaign".

I told him that I was sorry but I couldn't contribute because the weather was bad. He told me that the police Christmas campaign needed my money and that he was very disappointed in me. I knew that something wasn't right when he started getting angry at me.

I politely thanked him for calling and hung the phone up. He called me right back and asked why I had hung up on him. I hung up the phone again and blocked the number.

Did I do the right thing?


Dear Luke,

You did exactly the right thing.

Cybercriminals are very tricky and demanding. As you have discovered they can "spoof" telephone numbers of places and people that we know and trust. (Caller ID spoofing is the process of changing the Caller ID to any number other than the actual calling number.)

Fake charity scams are unfortunately way too common,

Your telephone call is an example of what I call social engineering.

Social Engineering has been a very successful technique used by cybercriminals to extract information and money from innocent people. These scammers target seniors and baby-boomers because we are a very trusting group and have money in our bank accounts. These criminals see us as profitable targets. They can be friendly, sympathetic and willing to help and in some cases will try to intimidate you and be downright mean.

Here are some signs that the person on the other end of the phone call is a scammer:

1-The caller asks for payment with a prepaid gift card

2-The caller tries to pressure you

3-The caller says that payment is urgent and that you need to give them money quickly

4-Your gut tells you that something is wrong..Always trust your intuition.

Seniors and Baby-boomers are very SMART and SAAVY.

If you receive another of these phone calls....Hang-Up Immediatley

If a charity or service organization calls you asking for money, and you want to donate, tell the caller that you will call the organization directly and hang-up the phone.

Calling the organization directly will insure that your hard earned money goes to the right place.

If you would like to learn more check out the my resources on

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