The "courtesy" call came at 11:52 this morning from (818) 870-8192. It lit up as 'NSI GRP' on the LED. It is assumable GRP means Group.
"Recently we sent you a postcard in the mail saying your service maintenance warranty was about to expire for your 98 Volvo," the male-voice recording said. I recalled the postcard: small, white with a blue border around the frame. Not from my dealer so I threw it out.
The recorded message then goes on to say that if you don't respond by pressing 1 on the touchtone, your car will never be eligible for warranty again.
Stupid about things like keeping warranties in places where they can be found, and just as ignorant of details like warranty expiration dates, this one actually got me to push a button.
When I pushed 1, it took me to a second recorded message, this one female and saying while they respect your privacy, please push 1 again. (My interpretation: you're basically saying, 'OK I know I'm giving away my privacy now.') I hung up then, figuring the next tier is where you give the criminals your information to see about the warranty or some such.
To settle my question around warranty expiration, I called a reputable source - my Volvo dealer. The head of sales, John White, laughed as he told me my car had been out of warranty since 2003.
"I'd never offer you a warranty on that car. A '98? All those miles," he added bemusedly. My warranty ignorance aside, the implication is that no reputable firm would offer any decent kind of warranty on a relic as mine (when did 9 years become ancient for a car?).
Still, how did the caller know the make, model and year of my automobile? At first I thought of the dealership and financer of my loan. But it quickly became apparent there are many places this information could be available to scammers. Easy enough to get car make and year records from the DMV. From there the scammers could extrapolate, knowing (unlike me) that a car that age would be out of warranty.
It feels almost useless to wonder how they got such targeted information about my vehicle. But just know that the criminals are getting better at targeting their attacks like this. Read my previous blog entry, Getting Personal for another form of targeted attack against online crime fighters.