Occasionally I know stuff because I paid attention when the information came my way. More often than than that my wisdom is the result of mistakes. This is some of both.
In an attempt to contact a creditor today, I called the 800 number as listed in a letter sent to me.
I received a message stating the the number had been changed and that I needed to call 101515800 to retrieve the correct one. I was suspicious and irritated, but more the latter than the former and dialed the number. After jumping through hoops and sitting on hold for a couple of minutes I was given a number that I knew couldn't be accurate. A quick google showed me that the number I'd attempted had been intercepted by a scam company who charges those hapless enough to wade through all the prompts a fee ranging between 4.95 to 5.95 a minute to get the correct number. By the time t he individual gets their phone bill, the company has moved on to someone else. Some people who mentioned this number stated they tried their intended number a few hours later and it was valid again.
A little more research showed that this has been going on for a couple of years and the 800 numbers intercepted span a long list--Sprint, Sears, various long distance companies, mail/phone order businesses and collections agencies. Chances are, the companies who own the 800 numbers targeted by this scam have no idea this is happening. I called a different number to speak with my creditor and the representative on the other end was curious enough to collect my report to pass on to his supervisors.
I spoke with my phone company who told me that they could do nothing until my phone bill comes out. You can bet I'll be watching for the charge.
What I want to know is how whoever this is has gotten away with this for so long.