Absolutely. It happened to my relatives too.
The way I found out was I was there visiting and they got a call which I picked it up. It came from what sounded like an Indian person. You see, they wanted to "refund the money" and just needed the bank account details.
Aha! I thought, I'll play dumb and pretended to mistype their remote desktop installer's web address and diverted the conversation to random stuff. Eventually they realized I was wasting their time and called me some exotic slang names, I hand't heard before. I am always up for cultural enrichment, so that was fun. Then they started playing this really high pitched sound into earpiece, I guess to "punish" me and trying to hurt my hearing.
However, it became less fun later when the relatives told me they had already lost close to $10k with them. They had contacted the bank and the police and apparently the bank refunded them some part of it. But otherwise they hadn't told anyone as they were terribly ashamed. They were professionals, already retired, with advanced degrees, and they felt like they should not have been the ones easily fooled, but they were.
So make sure you talk to your older family members, and tell them ahead of time to not be embarrassed if it already happened. Teach them how do respond and how to handle these scammers.
Concretely, the way to respond is this:
If you ever get a call that claims to be from business X, tell them "OK, I'll call you back." Then get off the phone, look up the number for X yourself, and call them. If it was really X calling you, you'll get back to where you need to be. If it was a scam, X will tell you they don't know what you're talking about.
Never trust that a cold call is from who they say they're from.
They even spoofed the number of an actual police station and said, "Google the number on your caller ID to see we are legit". Obviously, call them back yourself.
7 years was not enough for ruining peoples lives.
1.) be relevant to a police investigation
2.) be registered or associated with individuals
3.) have few enough of an exact thing in an area for the manual checking to be effective
Good example would be someone claiming to be your ISP apologizing for recent slow internet speeds (when doesn't this happen), and wanting to confirm you're now happy and not experiencing slow speeds. Why would you doubt this and go to the trouble of calling back?
The other problem is businesses being so extremely dumb. I've had and heard of man cases of Banks calling people, asking them verification questions on cold calls and offering no way to call them back. Not just stupid in that it limits your strategy, but it actually trains people to be more vulnerable to scammers.
If you call the same number the next day the real institution is going to answer, but nobody knows a thing.
Apparently, in some cases, they can hijack the phone number of an institution, but only for the specific caller that they are applying the scam. If someone from another context call the same number it goes to where it's supposed to be.
It's becoming more normal than ever down here... Happened next to me.
We are entering the age of personalized crime, targeted and framed just for you, considering your personality and necessities.
Someone from Mexico answered and initially it sounded very similar to what PayPal employees really say. It took like two minutes before I was really suspicious. I was really tired that day and didn't want to walk though so I kept trying to give them the benefit of the doubt. But a few minutes after that they actually asked me to go into 7/11 and buy a Google Play card for $150 or something. At that point it was just really obviously a scam and I decided to walk home. Called the real PayPal from my computer using the US area code.
Conman calls a landline, starts conversation with "please call the bank back, im putting down the phone now" and ... just plays Dial tone. The trick is call ends only when the person who started it hangs up.
If they want to leave their line open "for a few days"... then good luck to them. :)
The idea was, maybe you dropped your phone and didn't mean to hang up and this gave you time to rectify your mistake without having to redial.
Scammers started exploiting this and the timeout was reduced to the order of a few seconds. Count to five after hanging up and you can just about guarantee that's a real dialtone.
implementing logic/timers with cogs is impractical.
Overall I think it's not worth being on the phone with these people. It's a no-win situation. For them it's a 'job', while you'd be investing your precious time and energy.
There is something about just watching, say, scammers doing the shell game in the streets, that is incredibly draining.
Yeah I expected the name calling but that was just something new. I guess I had really upset them. I imagine they had put my relatives on some kind of a "high value" mark list after they had gotten so much money from them, and they thought they were getting another easy $500 from them again. Instead they spent 30 of their time talking about weather, holidays, barbecue styles in US and other crap.
> There is something about just watching, say, scammers doing the shell game in the streets, that is incredibly draining.
Agree. In case of my relatives, I have to admit, I share some of the shame just because I felt I hadn't done my part to protect them earlier. There is an element of that that expand to the society. You know, watching this happen to other members of the community and thinking what can be done to stop it, why are they wasting their resources like that.