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Thread: Stranger Says Their Battery died Wants to use Your Phone

  1. #1
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    Stranger Says Their Battery died Wants to use Your Phone

    Apparently there is a new phone scam where someone asks to use your phone because their battery died.

    The scam unfolds exactly as laid out above.

    “It was an, ‘Excuse me, I’m looking for a friend, my phone is dead, do you mind if I borrow your phone?’ and then the person says OK, they unlock their phone and hand it over,” said Detective Raymond Wetzel with CSPD’s Financial Crimes Unit.

    And with the victim’s phone in hand, the crook is able to get to work.

    “The suspect will point the phone towards his face, pretend to call a number -- maybe actually dial a number so the sound, you know, on a speakerphone so the person can hear their phone being dialed. But in between hitting numbers, they’re also opening their Venmo account and making a number of unauthorized transactions to multiple recipient accounts,”
    If your phone has access to financial accounts, be careful to whom you hand it.

    Since the rise of cell phones and demise of pay phones, I seldom remember friends numbers.

    jtk
    Last edited by Jim Koepke; 05-24-2022 at 4:45 PM.
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  2. #2
    It's nice to want to help people-- a fix for this would be to offer to call someone, by YOUR fingers, and put them on speaker. I suppose the number dialed could somehow be used against you, but never letting anyone else touch the phone and being able to listen in should at least keep someone from stealing you blind...

    If they don't remember the number, well.... try someone else.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kev Williams View Post
    It's nice to want to help people-- a fix for this would be to offer to call someone, by YOUR fingers, and put them on speaker. I suppose the number dialed could somehow be used against you, but never letting anyone else touch the phone and being able to listen in should at least keep someone from stealing you blind...

    If they don't remember the number, well.... try someone else.
    seems like there is a new scam hatched every week.

  4. #4
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    Don't know about anyone else, but access to my banks and financial apps are fingerprint protected, even if the phone is unlocked to make a call.
    It's never too late to have a happy childhood.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Schoenthal View Post
    Don't know about anyone else, but access to my banks and financial apps are fingerprint protected, even if the phone is unlocked to make a call.
    Same here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Wintle View Post
    seems like there is a new scam hatched every week.
    Scammers likely don't have anything to do but work on scamming others.

    They probably watch crime shows on TV for new ideas. Maybe they brainstorm with their scummy friends.

    Are scum and scam diriived from the same root source?

    May as well be.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

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    My saying is the cream and the scum float together.
    Bill D

  8. #8
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    This is one reason I am unlikely to do anything financial on a phone. If I were forced to, I'd only give it access to an account with a low balance, like 2 digits to the left of the decimal point.

  9. #9
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    If I were inclined to help I'd just say give me the number and I'll enter it. We can do speaker phone. Handing my unlocked phone to a total stranger won't happen.

  10. #10
    My mind does not work like that.
    Everyone on this and other similar forums is here to help in one way or another not scam others.
    I really don't know what posses people to exploit others kindness for their own gain.
    People like these scammers make it difficult to trust anyone anymore.

    Jim, I hope the next story you post is more positive.

  11. #11
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    Jim, I hope the next story you post is more positive.
    Me too, this was just a warning post for others.

    As one, who like many others, tends to trust people it is a reminder to be careful when trusting strangers.

    All my cell phones are currently without service. One is used for an alarm clock when needed. If one of us is traveling we will buy a prepaid phone for the convenience during the trip.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

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    My wife drove past one of those commercial STEM places and noticed a 7 year old standing in front in the cold. She ran her errand and, on her way back home, she saw the kid again. Her 35 years as an elementary teacher and principal kicked in. She parked the car and approached the kid. When she asked if he was waiting for someone, he burst into tears. So my wife took him into the coffee shop next door, got him some hot chocolate and got the story. His nanny had dropped him off, not realizing that the place was closed. There were about 15 customers and all had overheard the story.

    She pulled out her phone to call his parents. Her battery had died. When she asked the owner if she could borrow a phone, 15 hands went up with 15 phones. It turned out well. I’m sure the nanny got a stern lecture.

    There’s no question that any of us would have done the same thing. But I don’t think I would have noticed the kid. My wife is clearly better at being a good person than me.
    Last edited by Roger Feeley; 05-25-2022 at 11:45 AM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Feeley View Post
    My wife drove past one of those commercial STEM places and noticed a 7 year old standing in front in the cold. She ran her errand and, on her way back home, she saw the kid again. Her 35 years as an elementary teacher and principal kicked in. She parked the car and approached the kid. When she asked if he was waiting for someone, he burst into tears. So my wife took him into the coffee shop next door, got him some hot chocolate and got the story. His nanny had dropped him off, not realizing that the place was closed. There were about 15 customers and all had overheard the story.

    She pulled out her phone to call his parents. Her battery had died. When she asked the owner if she could borrow a phone, 15 hands went up with 15 phones. It turned out well. I’m sure the nanny got a stern lecture.

    There’s no question that any of us would have done the same thing. But I don’t think I would have noticed the kid. My wife is clearly better at being a good person than me.
    I would like to think everyone of us in here would have at the minimum volunteered our phone for this purpose. Huge difference between this story and a stranger approaching claiming to need to use your phone. Your wife is a good person obviously and has a kind heart. I suspect at least some of her qualities reside with you as well.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Koepke View Post
    All my cell phones are currently without service. One is used for an alarm clock when needed. If one of us is traveling we will buy a prepaid phone for the convenience during the trip.

    jtk
    Old cell phones and tablets are good shop tools for magnifying and taking quick photos of work.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edward Weber View Post
    Old cell phones and tablets are good shop tools for magnifying and taking quick photos of work.
    Someone told me that even without a service provider they are good for calling 911. Not wanting to try this without an actual emergency it hasn't been verified on any of my phones.

    Internet search says it is true.

    In the early days of cell phones dialing 911 connected you to the emergency service for your phone's area code. My home location was in Contra Costa County (northern part of the east bay area code 510). My work was in San Francisco, area code 415. There was some criminal activity and when calling the police the dispatcher wanted my location. When told the problem was at Market & Powell st. they informed me Market & Powell didn't intersect and were a few blocks from each other. Since others were calling in I gave up.

    Later giving it a little thought, in San Pablo, near my home at the time, there is a Market Street and a Powell Street that are a few blocks from each other. It wasn't long after that cell phones calling 911 were routed to the dispatch office nearest the cell tower instead of the callers area code.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

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