It was a little different, though, this time: Instead of Robo-John announcing that I had been selected to take a 30-second telephone survey and receive a free cruise to the Bahamas for my efforts, it was robo-Sally.This time, robo-Sally did not give the name of the organization “performing” the survey (more about this later), but instead began the process of performing the survey by telephone keypad.The scammer’s system seemed to have trouble recognizing my responses as I pressed the buttons on my phone, but eventually I was able to answer all five questions, at which point I was told I was being routed to a person for processing my free cruise.
I am putting “Melvin’s” name in quotation marks, since I do not know if that was his real name, or part of the script he was reading from.
I introduced myself to “Melvin,” who confirmed that I had been forwarded to them by Political Opinions of America; something the automated survey no longer says.
I also told “Melvin” when introducing myself that I was a fraud researcher with ESET and that I had previously worked at a travel agency that specialized in leisure cruise travel; both true, and something that should have sent “Melvin” scurrying for the disconnect button on his headset.
“Melvin” seemed rather oblivious to this (or perhaps hopelessly naïve), and proceeded to pitch me on the cruise for the next twenty minutes or so, reading out loud large sections of Caribbean Cruise Line’s web site.
In the middle of working on a blog post about SMS phishing scams at my desk last night, I received a rather strange call.
The number displayed on the Caller ID was +1 (360) 474-3925.
I did not recognize the number, but since it was PM, I assumed it was a colleague trying to reach me at my desk from somewhere around the world.
To my amazement, it was the same scam survey call I had written about three weeks ago here at the ESET Threat Blog (Press One if by LAN, Two if by Sea…).
Here are some of the things I learned in my conversation with “Melvin:” It is the fourth item on the list that is of greatest interest.