Today I received a package from UPS. It was from backcountry.com. My wife and I hadn't ordered anything from them, ever (and we don't have kids that might have placed an order). I opened it up and it is a perfectly nice hooded brown North Face sweatshirt. It's the wrong size and not my color at all (and it's a men's sweatshirt, so we originally assumed someone sent it to me).

Then we noticed on the label, the to section looked like this:

  • FunkyPete & Mrs FunkyPete
  • (246) 653-XXXX
  • our mailing address

The XXXX was 4 more numbers. So someone put a phone number in the TO: line, and it's not our phone number, or even our area code. It's not anyone's phone number that we know. We considered calling and asking why they bought a sweatshirt and sent it to us, and just out of curiosity I googled the area code first. I figured it might tell us something about who sent it — my sister lives in Chicago, I have some friends in Florida, etc. It turns out 246 is Barbados, and we don't know anyone who lives in Barbados. So I googled 246 and scam phone call and found this article:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/josephsteinberg/2014/02/01/dont-return-calls-from-these-area-codes-its-a-scam/#21219ba139d0

That article says there is a scam that goes like this: You set up a phone number as a premium number (your account gets charged $20 just for dialing it), and then you trick people into dialing it. You text them and spoof this number so they'll call you back, or just call them, make some scary noises like someone is hurt or whatever and hang up, etc. The thing about all of those is it's easy to prove after the fact that someone taunted you into calling them — your phone record will show the incoming call right before you placed an outgoing call, so you can probably get the charges refunded.

So I think what happened is someone ordered a sweatshirt and sent it to our address, putting the scam phone number in the TO: label so we'd see it. Presumably they ordered the shirt with a stolen credit card, or there isn't an easy way to make money off of this. Then we'd call the number, we would get charged the $20 or whatever, and we'd have no easy evidence that we were tricked into calling it.

Incidentally I chatted with backcountry.com on their site and told them about all of this, but I didn't have any kind of order number (weirdly there was no invoice/receipt in the bag or anything, so the TO: label was all we had to go by). Maybe it didn't even come from the site it claimed at all? Anyway, they just said if I wanted to keep the sweatshirt feel free, and thanks for letting them know.

submitted by /u/FunkyPete
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