Sometimes, you might have Comcast internet. And sometimes the service speeds are less than stellar. And sometimes, you might get annoyed, and tweet about it. And sometimes… just sometimes, someone might call call you.
Tweet your troubles
I figure maybe… half of the time, that giant corporations listen to any complaints about their products on social media. So, sometimes I’ll tweet a complaint.
— Frank M. Taylor (@Paceaux) March 20, 2015
And the Troubles will Tweet Back
So, I was delighted to see that Comcast actually saw my tweet, and responded. It’s nice when they acknowledge the problem
@Paceaux Just following up, Is this still going on? -KJ
— ComcastCares (@comcastcares) March 29, 2015
Twitter is not a troubleshooter
True story, you can’t solve problems on Twitter.
I sent a response back. I’ve never gotten anywhere with griping about it, but I figured I’d expand on the problem.
@comcastcares It's been consistently bad the last few weeks. speedtest put me at 10 down earlier this week.
— Frank M. Taylor (@Paceaux) March 30, 2015
Comcast Someone Calls You Back
A few minutes after that tweet, I got a call from 661-748-0240. My wife was in Las Vegas at the time, and that’s not a number that I recognized, so I figured it’d be important to answer. So I did. It was someone claiming to be comcast.
After about the first 5-8 minutes, I figured something was awry. So I ran upstairs, set my phone on speaker, and recorded the call. You could listen to the full thing. Or… you could listen to the first 15 minutes, and then fast forward to the 43 minute point.
@comcastcares We're good. Gilmore and his crew sorted everything out. Thanks for the help!
— Frank M. Taylor (@Paceaux) March 30, 2015
Who in the…
So, going through the call, I thought that Comcast might employ the most evil, sadistic, and bored people in the world for their call center.
After discussing with some friends (thanks Rob), these guys probably weren’t Comcast; they were scammers. The phone number from which they called me (661 748 0240) is not a Comcast number. And I called Comcast this morning, and they don’t have anything on my account indicating that someone called me.
Is there a moral to this kind of long, kind of hilarious story?
Morals? Pfft. Really? Not with these guys.
Comcast Cares, but scammers care more
They claimed to be Comcast about a dozen times. For most of the call, I thought they were. Even when they called me Frank 4Chan Taylor, I was still thinking they were Comcast. Call Center representatives can be notoriously awful, especially when they have to work third and fourth shifts. Having worked in a call center, I imagined 4 guys bored in a dimly lit cubicle farm with no manager, who had just reached the “eff it” point. Call centers don’t allow representatives to drop the line, so I figured that they were giving me hell just so I’d drop off the call.
It wasn’t until I had some friends listen to it, that it seems more to me like this was a scam—an extremely stubborn scam. I googled the number, and it definitely seems like one that scammers have used in the past (661 748 0240).
But, let this be a lesson: scammers are monitoring social media streams, looking for opportunities. If @ComcastCares really cares, they’d sent out a notice to people to not expect customer service calls based on tweets.
Don’t tell people what they should already know
Less thinking scammers, and more thinking, “Awful Customer Service”, I didn’t give an account number, a credit card number, last four of a social, or an address. Because those are things that I knew that Comcast had. I also didn’t know if these guys were really Comcast, because they didn’t have any Comcast-specific information on me. One of the guys slipped, and gave an address, but with there being so many Frank Taylors in the world, I figured they had the wrong info.
Know the information that you put on the internet
I honestly don’t know how these guys got my number. My number isn’t publicly available on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, so that’s a mystery; I can’t figure out how they got my number. But, despite having a blog, and an online presence, I’m very guarded about everything else that goes online. I don’t put my physical address out there, nor do I share my location.
Again, I assumed I was talking to an exceedingly awful Comcast, not scammers. So I’d figured they’d seen my twitter profile, which says that I have a blog. So, I’d mentioned, very forcefully, that I was a blogger — assuming they understand that,despite relatively low internet traffic (25k hits a year isn’t that impressive), that I would make this incident publicly known. But they didn’t know that. But it became clear to me that most of the information they had, outside of a tweet, was being pulled from Google — and that I had encouraged them to Google me by mentioning my blog. They confused me with several other Frank Taylors. But I made a mistake in confirming information from my blog, thus getting them close to the target.
Scammers will try
These guys tried a few different tricks to get information out of me. They posed as comcast and threatened me with charges (which had me going for a while). They used fear to get me to cooperate (calling me 4chan, threatening to call the police). They tried to threaten my financial state, by sending me to collections. They tried even being friendly with me at the end (after we prank called, they still tried to sell me something). They tried quite a few different tricks to getting me to reveal my information.
They sent me to a website — which you should not go to. I figured that the website was for phishing, so I pressed Ctrl + Shift + N and opened it in Incognito mode, where the browser wouldn’t have my history, cookies, or personal information. What I saw was inappropriate for work, but also innocuous. I looked at the source code later and was able to determine that it was a website created for the sole purpose of being inappropriate, and shaming people.
Posing as an authority, Technobabble, Ignorance, Fear, Legal Threats, Name calling, and Friendship were all used to collect my personal information.
What You can Do
If you get a call from 661 748 0240, expect to have a good time.
You can also keep an eye out.
I figured out when they visited my blog, and checked google analytics. Based on when I think they must have visited my blog (because they shared information about me that they could only have gotten from there), their ISPs are suddenlink, Millenium Telecom, and/or Telus. They were most likely in Fort Worth, Bossier City, or Chilliwack. Their screen resolutions were 1366×768, 1920×1080, or 1680×1050. Two of them used Windows 7, one of them used a Mac running Mavericks, all of them used Google Chrome. And Google thinks they were males between 25 and 34, but that sounds a little high to me.
Post Follow Up
I tweeted the above post to Comcast. And Comcast is with me, these are most definitely scammers. And, kudos to you Comcast, for passing it on to your leadership team. It’s a shame these guys weren’t using you as your ISP, or we could’ve tracked them down.
@Paceaux I do believe they were scammers in this case. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I forwarded this to my leadership team.
— ComcastCares (@comcastcares) March 31, 2015