It appears fundraising scammers are calling from 866-497-0858 asking for donations they claim will be used to raise money for veterans, police, firefighters, breast cancer, leukemia, and other cancers, autism, colleges and schools, the NRA, political organizations, and other seemingly worthy causes are ALL SCAMS.
How the Fundraising and Donation Request Scam Works
Many of these fake fundraising scammers use automated interactive voice response (IVR) software that sounds very human, but you are initially talking to a software-based robot who asks you some questions and responds based on your replies before transferring you to the real scammer who steals your credit card number under the pretense of raising money for a variety of fake causes that these scammers rotate through every day. The human scammer often says they will mail you an envelope so you can mail your donation in, but then they immediately still ask for your credit card number.
The robot caller usually begins the call with either a pleasant female voice or a stern male voice asking, "Hi, this is (fake_name), how are you doing today?", "Hi, is the head of the household there?", or "Hi, is (your first name) there?" Scammers often use IVR robo-dialing to automatically match the name that the robot asks for on the phone call to the name that is associated with millions of phone numbers and addresses on phone marketing databases that anyone can purchase. Many of the thousands of India phone scammers also use these same phone databases and they often ask for you by name to sound like a personal phone call to gain your trust. If you reply "No, John is not here" or "No, you have the wrong number", the IVR robot is programmed to say "Maybe you can help me" and still ask you for a scam donation. All of these IVR robot-based fundraising scams have been robo-dialing using the same IVR software voices and scripted dialogues for years now, only varying the charity/cause that they falsely support from week to week.
Calls During the Holidays
During the holiday months of November and December, these scammers usually change their IVR recordings to say they are fundraising for cancer research, autism, veterans, etc. During other times, they pretend to raise money for police, the NRA, political organizations, schools, etc. More than 90% of all North America scam phone calls originate from crowded phone rooms in India and the Philippines that run numerous fraud, extortion, and money laundering scams every day. Some fake charity donation scams are also run by American scammers. Like all the other Indian and Filipino scammers, these fake donation scams spoof thousands of fake Caller ID names and numbers so you can never call them back on the fake number that shows up on Caller ID.
How to Protect Yourself
Nowadays, NEVER trust any unsolicited caller who supposedly represents a charity, a pharmacy, a Medicare or car/health/life insurance offer, a computer support person saying your computer has a virus, a fake robotic recording of a Social Security or IRS officer saying your Social Security has been suspended or you have unpaid back taxes, a fake debt collector threatening you for fake debts, a fake recording from Amazon/Microsoft/Apple/Verizon/AT&T/bank, anyone who phones you with any kind of sales offer (more than 90% of unsolicited sales calls are scams so your odds of saving money are very poor), any kind of legal or arrest threats, any claims of suspicious activity on an account, any claims of refunds or auto-renewed/auto-debited accounts, and any pre-recorded messages.
Any unsolicited caller with a foreign accent (nearly always Indian or Filipino) should immediately be treated as a scam until carefully proven otherwise. Scammers usually use VoIP phone numbers or spoof fake Caller ID numbers that they frequently change every day. Legitimate businesses never use hundreds of area codes and tens of thousands of fake Caller ID phone numbers where you cannot call them back. They are all FAKE and they all try to steal your credit card or Social Security numbers, or they ask for your bank and personal identity information. Anyone, including you, can use telecom software or a third-party service to phone using fake names and phone numbers that show up on Caller ID.
It is really very simple and easy to avoid phone and email scams - if you assume all unsolicited calls are malicious in intent, you will never be scammed and have thousands of dollars or your identity stolen from you.