Earlier today, some random person with a random Los Angeles-based area code number called my phone with some terrible news: My Amazon account had been hacked. A guy in Alabama had apparently used my account to buy an iPhone, and I needed to send over some details to dispute the charges.
Naturally, I panicked, but the automated voice on the other end assured me it would be sorted out—if I sent the company some of my details. It then told me to go to a URL with the words “amazon” and “webnode” in it—a domain that was totally secure, totally legitimate, and totally affiliated with the e-commerce giant—to plug in details from my account, my email, and my passwords. Instead, I hung up.
I’d also hung up a few hours earlier, when another unknown caller (this time from Indiana) told me that my “vehicle warranty was about to expire,” when I don’t even own a car. The same goes for the dozens of calls I’ve received telling me my Social Security number’s been suspended, or that there’s a vague “criminal case” being mounted against me—calls that you might have been getting lately (and for as far back as you can remember), too. Robocalls have been slamming phones across the country at an unprecedented rate, putting us on course to reach about 51 billion robocalls by the end of this year.
There are all sorts of reasons this awful and annoying form of spam has been on the rise. Robocalls have always been profitable for the folks on the other end of the line, but new forms of tech have made their calls harder to block and phony phone numbers easier to buy. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court walked back certain robocalling rules earlier this year, allowing scammers to employ autodialing schemes scot-free.
We can do all we can to stop these calls from coming our way, but a lot of folks—including myself—seem to be stuck squarely inside robocall hell for the foreseeable future. So the least we can do is commiserate about that hell together. Let us know about the weirdest robocalls you’ve recently gotten in the comments below. Who knows, maybe someone, somewhere can bond with you over the exact same scam!