The 777-777-7777 “Opinion Survey” Phone Scam

A new phone scam is targeting homes in the 905 and 289 area codes. Unlike the more common (and completely transparent to all but the simplest of people) “You have won a 100 WalMart gift card” and “I’m calling from the support division of Microsoft” ruses, this one actually displays some cunning and guile. Be warned – it may seem innocent but it is every bit as dangerous and spiteful as any of the straight-up credit card scams.

The calls originate from a number that shows at 777-777-7777 on your caller ID. This should be your first warning, as that number signifies a VIOIP call originating from outside of North America. Unless you have relatives overseas that commonly call via an internet phone, you the easiest thing to do is to just ignore the call. This is a number that should be assumed to be masking the caller’s true location and intentions.

If you do answer the call, the person on the other end will tell you that they are calling from a research firm and they would like to ask you questions for a current survey. The “survey” itself is generic, with seemingly random questions about recycling, air quality, how you feel about your neighbourhood, and the like. I have answered this call three times now, and all three times the questions were about these same topics, but in different orders and with slightly different phrasing. One thing all three calls did have in common were questions that tried to gain the following information in separate and out-of-order responses:

My first name
My last name
If I own or rent my home
How long I have lived at my current address
The name of my employer

Combine those items with the phone number (which they obviously already have) and the address (which can be looked up from the phone number) and you have everything you need to apply for a basic credit card or cobble together a quick-and-dirty identity theft. It’s clever, it’s well thought out, and it could be absolutely devastating.

So be warned. Repairing the damage of identity theft can take years and cost you more money than you can possibly imagine. If you do answer this call (either for curiosity’s sake our just out of boredom), do not give any of your true personal information over the course of the questioning. All they got out of me was the “fact” that Brian Mulroney has rented my house for 22 years and he works at Airbus Industries Canada. I’m pretty sure they aren’t going to be able to do much with that.

9 comments

  1. Musicgrrl says:

    So, let’s say someone was dumb enough to answer this survey. Anything one can do to lessen the potential blow?

    • geekboy says:

      Number one thing: Keep an eye on your credit. The information in this sort of “low-grade” identity theft is usually good for getting second-tier credit cards: Department store cards, Gas station cards, stuff like that. Watching your credit report for the appearance of new items would be your best defence.

      But – If you use Facebook AND have credit cards, this could be the last piece of information needed to build a full-fledged false identity. Both Facebook and most credit card providers sell your aggregate information to data miners. Combine that with a valid address, employment information and residential history, and you can pretty much do anything you want including acquiring replacements for “lost” credit cards and government ID. In that case, I would suggest checking with the federal government to make sure that no one has “replaced” a SIN card in your name recently and vetting every entry on your credit card statements, in addition to the aforementioned keeping an eye on your credit.

  2. Howdy Doody says:

    I just wanted to say that this scam has now reached Northern Ontario and the phone number is ‘unlisted’ not the 777 as noted above. I got the phone call on the weekend and you are right. The questions start innocently. Any allergies? etc. But where I became aware that something was off was when they asked for my name. For a survey, why is my name required. But thanks GeekBoy for posting this information because it wasn’t until I read this that I became aware of what information they are really getting and needing.

    FYI – I lied to them but they do know my name from the phone book and I am on Facebook and that has me concerned.

    Thank you.

  3. telemarked says:

    Anyone seeing a 10 digit number consisting of all 7’s. should realize this is some bogus B.S.!

  4. Max says:

    Please avoid this scam by not answering the telephone

  5. TVFilthyFrank says:

    😉 called this number went to voice mail.

  6. einnor084 says:

    I received a call from 1-777-777-7777, dis moanin & didn’t bother 2 answer. I thought – R THEY TRYIN 2 conVINCE ME, DAT I’M A LUCKY GUY? @ any rate, I alwayz tell folkz, Google, iz ur friend, & thusly Googled da #, & here u guyz r! So dis post servez 2 let u all know, they r calling Las Vegas, Nevada now. Cocky, sum of a beeyatchez! SMH

  7. Kris says:

    I’ve gotten this in North Carolina, so be warned

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