MADISON, Wis. – Those scam calls that you’re likely getting on a weekly basis aren’t going away any time soon.
That’s because it it’s very cheap to set up one of those call centers, according to UW Madison information security expert Dave Schroeder. “This is cheap for them. It costs virtually nothing for them to set up this operation. And if they even get a few people to call back and scam them out of a few hundred or thousand dollars or whatever they can get out of them, they’ve profited.”
New technology allows the scammers to buy American phone numbers in bulk. That lets them set up their operations anywhere in the world, and then make it seem like their phone numbers are coming from anywhere they want. “They will get multiple numbers in various parts of the country. And so you might get a call that looks like it’s from Washington DC, or looks like it’s from your own area code or even your own exchange,” says Schreoder.
He says it’s helpful to think about the scammer operations running like the old style boiler room stock scams of the 80’s and 90’s. “They’re playing on greed or playing on fear, and there’s a common theme that you have to act now and you’re going to miss out or you’re you’re going to be arrested or something bad is going to happen.”
Schroeder reminds people that the IRS or the FBI or any of the dozens of agencies that scammers try to misrepresent will never call you for money in this fashion. The best thing for you to do is simply hang up, and don’t return their voicemails.