Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: Terrorists are funding their operations through a telephone scam that lures the unsuspecting into staying on the line by promising information about a nuclear attack on the USA.
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2002]
Origins: This is one of the more befuddling Internet "warnings" we've encountered — is the writer's intent to alert us to a phone scam run by terrorists to fund their operations, or is to counsel us not to be scared by recorded phone messages about nuclear attacks broadcast by terrorists to spread fear? (The concept of scam artists' stringing folks along with false stories while racking up phone charges is not a new one: the real 809 phone scam works on this principle, and a June 2002 false warning about a woman's begging the use of a homeowner's phone and then using it to connect to a horrifyingly expensive fee-for-call service also employs this idea.)
Whatever the intent, this warning appears to be baseless. The Georgia National Guard disavows knowledge of a scheme involving automated phone calls that entice victims to stay on the line through the promise of providing information about a nuclear attack in the USA, and the claim that anyone who has your phone number also has your "phone account" and can thereby charge against it is dubious.
Barbara "nickelodious" Mikkelson
Last updated: 13 April 2008
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