Saturday, May 14, 2005

As if y'all didn't have enough to worry about

The Squaliformes and their pardners in the collections industry are getting more and more creative all the time, and with all the news about the techno-geek scammers lurking on the Internet, the really creative Echeneidae Collectoris are emulating the hackers and phishers.

Take the example of "John," who got tired of telemarketing calls, took the time to get on the "do not call" list, changed his phone to unlisted and when that didn't stop harassment from a collector, he disconnected the phone and like many people today, simply uses his cell phone.

For the collectors and skip tracers, this is a problem. Well, not for all of them. If they don't have a willing insider in the phone company (and many do), a little cooperation from some of the more helpful credit card issuers can get him the email addresses of the customers who had registered on the card company's web site. But rather than open up the can of worms revealing or using that supposedly "confidential" information, the collector involved had concocted a "phishing" email message that notified the customer that his credit card information needed to be validated by clicking on a URL that looked like it was the card company, but it actually went to a site set up by the collector.

Among the information requested in order to have someone actually call to assure the card was still safe was a phone number and a best time to call. In fact, the message said that this couldn't be done securely via email so it was imperative that he provide a phone number so someone from the card company could call him.

It worked. He dutifully filled out the contact information (they already had his card number, of course), and within a day he got a call - from the collection firm he had told to never call again.

Echeneidae Collectoris is indeed cunning.

The Honorable Judge Roy Bean.

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