Mark and I are in the middle of refinancing our house through our mortgage company to get a better interest rate, so all of the sudden, I’m getting scam calls from “mortgage companies”. Scammers are getting too smart for our good these days!

For several years now, I’ve known that if a phone number looks similar to mine on my caller ID and I pick up the phone, I shouldn’t say anything because if it’s a robocall, it won’t know that there’s anyone there and it will hang up. Not so these days…

It started with a call that ignored the fact that I didn’t say Hello. A voice that sounded very like a real person said, “Hi! This is Justin. I’m calling from your mortgage company about your refinance.” Note that he didn’t say the name of my mortgage company, but I didn’t think about that at the time. The first two times that happened, I thought it might be a legitimate call, so I started to speak, but the phone hung up. A couple of days ago, I got the call again: “Hi! This is Justin. I’m calling from your mortgage company about your refinance. First, I need to tell you that this call is being recorded for training purposes. Can you hear me OK?” I said, “Yes!” and then it went on and I realized it was a recording and hung up.

This afternoon, I got a call from a woman where the phone number didn’t look similar to mine, so I thought it was safe to pick up. Again, I didn’t say hello, but she started talking about our refinance and I told her we were already working on a refinance so she was too late. She said, “That’s why I’m calling. You haven’t signed anything yet have you?” I told her I wasn’t interested and I hung up.

That one had me mad enough that I happened to mention to Mark what’s going on. When I told him about the calls I’ve been getting from “Justin”, and that he asked me if I could hear him alright, Mark told me he’s heard of this scam. He looked on his computer and found an article that described how this scam works. The robocall asks a question that you’re likely to say yes to, such as “Can you hear me alright?” or “Is this the lady of the house?” It records you saying yes, and then if it is able to get some information out of you, it puts your “Yes” into their recording to make it sound like you’ve agreed to give them permission for something.

Also, by saying yes, they know they have a live number and they sell that number to other scammers. Besides the woman today with a different looking phone number and the one from “Justin” with a similar phone number, I have also been getting calls where caller ID hasn’t picked up any phone number. Those I don’t pick up. Once as the phone was ringing, my phone said out loud, “Call from Unknown. Call from Unknown.” I didn’t pick that one up either.

My answering machine doesn’t take messages here so I’ve always felt safe just picking the phone up to see if it’s a recording or not. Apparently, that doesn’t deter them anymore. I’m just warning you that if you have been relying on not saying “Hello” until you see if it’s a recording or not, that no longer works. The recording may not be deterred by that and it sounds like a real person until it gets you to say, “Yes”. Don’t do it!

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