Consumer reporter John Matarese looks into the top robocall of 2017.
Remember Rachel, one of the original robocallers? Millions of Americans answered their landlines in recent years to be greeted with a "Hello, this is Rachel from card services." Rachel still resurfaces every now and then, but she has now been replaced by a giggling young woman named "Emily."
The typical "headset" robocall A typical call goes like this: "Hello! (pause) Oh hi there! (pause) Oh I am so sorry about that, I was having a little problem with my headset. Anyway, my name is Emily." Marian Diana told me she's received several "Emily" calls, always with headset issues. "I picked it up, and it's dead for just a couple of seconds, and then a girl comes on, with a very nice voice and says 'can you hear me?' Then comes the headset line. "It's always: 'Can you hear me? Wait, I have to fix my headset," Diana said the caller tells her. Worst part: Emily primarily calls cell phones, especially when you are driving, which can be dangerous.
Who is Emily? Several State Attorney General offices originally worried that saying "yes" to Emily's questions could lead to an unexpected credit card charge, or worse. But the more we know, the more "Emily the headset girl" appears to be something a little less dangerous. The hoax busting website Snopes.com has no any reports of anyone having money or their identity stolen by saying "yes," in almost 6 months of hearing about these calls. Snopes says Emily would need your credit card or social security number to cause serious harm to you. Meantime, ScamDetector.com finds similarities to calls from a Mexican based travel company, that has used some of the same lines before. For instance, Emily always claims that you have stayed in their resorts before, which is what the Mexican travel company has claimed in their robocalls for years. "I'm calling because you stayed at one of our resorts in the past, and you qualify for a 75% savings," Emily typically says. Answer "yes" and you get you a live operator who tries to sell you a vacation, ScamDetector says.
How to stop the calls
Getting annoyed? You may be able to block it with apps like NoMoRobo. Read my recent report on how to stop annoying robocalls to your cell phone., Or you can do as some pranksters are doing, and ask Emily if you can buy her a new headset. Whatever you do, don't waste your money.
“Don't Waste Your Money” is a registered trademark of Scripps Media, Inc. (“Scripps”).
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