Monday, January 14, 2008

Scam Artists' New Showmanship Pitch: The Wrong Number Phone Game

--As for understanding, these seemingly mistaken phone calls, delivered by scam artists, can be as baffling as dolphin squeals

Magalia, California--The victim comes home from shopping and notices the light blinking on her phone, signaling a recorded message. She picks up and hears:

"Guess I missed you, Rhonda. Anyhow, real quick like, do you remember that guy we met at the golf outing? You know, the big guy with the sideburns, the guy who swore you are a dead-ringer for--somebody. Don't remember. I forget."

This really catches the victim's attention because her name isn't Rhonda. It's Jeanette. Taken from 45 years experience chasing down scam artists and their scams ,former editor / publisher of Business Opportunities Digest, Jack Payne, continues his report concerning this kind of unfolding dialogue:

"Well," the voice continues, "turns out he's a big-time broker, top gun at Shear, Sharpe, and Scalp. Remember that stock your dad was talking about? Bottomless Pit Industries? Well, I ran into him at Crawford's and, over a few Manhattans we had quite a chat. Seems a sensational report is coming out on Bottomless Pit this Friday that's going to blow the price from $2 a share to $10. Or more. Through the roof. I'm getting some right away. I want to make it big, just like your dad. Thought this might be a good place for you, too, to park some of those extra bucks you've got burning a hole in your purse. Be sure to tell Roy about it. Got to run. Love to Kenny and your mom. Call when you get in."

Wrong number? No. "That's what the victim is supposed to think," says Payne. "It's nothing more than a little show being put on for the mark by a traveling circus of scam artists who are simultaneously putting on their little "wrong number" production for not only this victim but a few hundred--or thousand--of others. Taped messages are cheap.

"They don't have to convince many, is the supposition. If they only get 5-10 victims to rush off to their brokers and buy in, that would probably be enough to push the price of the thinly-traded stock they're holding high enough so they could cash-out with a nice profit, take off for the next town, and get ready to put on a repeat performance for a whole new audience of 'marks.' This is the interpretation of SEC fraud-fighters," who are much alarmed and have issued press releases of warning covering this acting type scam.

Payne, author of the legal thriller, Six Hours Past Thursday, has more, pointed observations, "The SEC has had a rush of these 'wrong number' complaints lately," he says. "Apparently this innovative scam has been taking off.

"If, and when, this show were to unfold, say, over your phone, it's O.K. to be paranoid, because in this case, they really are out to 'get' you."

23 comments:

RendRend Shop said...

wow, where did you get all these info from? :) I am impress.

Warmer said...

I think I got one of these phone calls. It was something about stock for somebody named Joe,and it was in a very excited voice. I didn't get the whole thing though because I hung up.

Bern said...

Guess I got one of these too. Didn't get the name, so I erased the message.

Warmer said...

The reason I remember the name, Joe, is because this guy was all over it. It was like Joe, Joe, my pal, Joe. Good thing I did hang up, but now I'm curious.

Jack Payne said...

Yeah, folks, identity confusion is the name of the game on this scam. Worse than this one--where you only lose a few thousand dollars on a stock scam--is the inheritance scam, where you can lose everything, including your identity, if you fall into this trap. I've got a piece coming up, soon, that will spell out in precise detail, just how this one works. Watch for it.

Sigit said...

I think that man was genius. Promoting in "wrong number" way. Too bad, that's for trick others. Guess your post inform me to watch out for it... Thank's

Anonymous said...

I traced one stock that moved to double in 4 hours. It's amazing how high and how fast these thinly-traded little stocks can move. This makes these ideal bait for con artists.

David Chew said...

Nice post.

Lumpf & Hubrow said...

Folks at our agency have been pestered with some kind of mistaken identity thing like this...for the past two years. This sort of thing is more common than you would think.

Terry said...

This is frightening...how they do this. I look forward to the post on how this is done with inheritances.

Anonymous said...

Colonel, we need to use this knowledge to our advantage! Just joking. You remind me of John Scarne btw. Now if I remember my ranks right - an admiral would be above a colonel. LOL

I am also a Kentucky Colonel, between you and me it is my favorite award. Not like I have a whole lot of awards just the two a citation from Polands prime minister and some local stuff. The colonecy just appeals to my southern pyche. Makes me feel special when I'm in Kentucky.

So your saying we can buy for .6 cents pump it to .66 cents and dump it?

I know it happens but I'm actually suprised that anybody can get away with it - with SEC regulations, decumentation regulations, etc.

I know it happens I am just amazed that it does.

Brainburner said...

Now I've heard it all. It's sly, slick, and has all the elements of a good con game.

Chelle B. said...

Wow, Jack. I'd love to think of myself as someone who would never fall for such a scam, but to be honest you keep showing me ways that even I could be taken.

Thank you. :)

Mr. Grudge said...

Hi Jack,
"Shear, Sharpe, and Scalp" I love it. You know, in reading your posts on the subject of rip-off artists, they spend so much time being clever, that if these crooks invested as much time in something legal and worthwhile instead of things like the wrong number scam, then they might actually do something smart. The next time someone leaves a "wrong number" message on my answering machine I'll take caution, as per your informative post. It hasn't happend like this where a person leaves a "stock tip" but it can. Thanks Jack.

The Uneasy Supplicant said...

Hey, this actually happened to me a couple of years ago. But I never returned the call. Deleted it. Figured somebody screwed up. WOW.
Jack, great post!
~JD

Jack Payne said...

Yes, folks, you all seem to "get it" about mistaken identity being a key tool in the con man's kit. Like I said, earlier, up this comments thread, don't miss my upcoming post on inheritance scams.

Drawn upon the same playbook, mistaken identity, this one is so insidious, so deeply penetrating, that, should its tentacles entwine you, the pawn shop could become your new primary source of income.

Lynn D said...

Amen to that. I, too, thought I couldn't be fooled, until I read things in the archives here like Stock Tips that do not add up, which I would call the perfect stock scam, and realized how I could still be fooled. Thanks for the enlightenment.

Cyberpunk said...

It was a brilliant marketing idea, too bad it was used for scamming people. (I dunno how it can be used for good things, tho)

Nice blog. Very helpful in making us all aware and careful.

Jack Payne said...

Thanks, Cyberpunk. You are right. This pitch is nothing more than a (twisted) marketing strategy.

You, too, have a fine blog. Most impressive.

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RichUrban said...

Great Post..I've received one of these calls before!

Rich
http://www.youngrealestateinvesting.com

FLOOG said...

Great post. I'd like to believe that I'd never be so foolish as to fall for something like this, but we probably all know of someone who has at one time or another.

Must admit these days I'm of the 'don't trust anyone' brigade, which is a shame, but also, in my opinion, a sign of the times.

Anonymous said...

If you ever want to find out exactly who's on the other end of the phone when this type of call comes in, just head to this reverse phone lookup site which will give you information on exactly where the phone number is located & who owns it.