Marvel Snap’s new Deadpool trailer accidentally included a phone number leading to a fishy ‘free medical alert device’ promotion that I’m pretty sure is a scam

To celebrate the upcoming release of Deadpool and Wolverine, which lands in theaters later this month, Marvel Snap released an animated trailer featuring the merc with a mouth talking excitedly, as he does, about upcoming summer drops. The video includes clips of Deadpool doing a TV pitchman bit, complete with an 800 number and various exhortations to “call now!” There’s just one problem: The joke number is real, and I’m pretty sure it leads to an 800-number scam targeting elderly people.

The problem was noticed by RegisKillbin on Twitter, who said the phone number in the video—1-800-OHH-SNAP—goes to a promotional message for a “medical alert device” that could be a scam. Twitter user CallmeSal realized the same thing, and posted a video of a call to the number, during which he ends up speaking to someone who congratulates him for being eligible for a “free medical alert device,” the name of which isn’t specified in the video.

The video doesn’t go far enough to really determine what’s going on, and I thought it might be part of a bit. That’s happened before: A phone number stashed away in Cyberpunk 2077, for instance, leads to a Witcher 3 Easter egg. So I did what any videogame news guy on a slow Friday afternoon would do, and called the number myself.

I got the same message CallmeSal did, but instead of choosing the “over 50” option, I went with “under 50.” Rather than being connected to a friendly sales rep, I was switched over to the following recorded message:

“For information regarding the number you dialed, please hold. Again, please hold for more information. You have reached the new mobile directory service. The number you have reached has been changed. To get the new number, please hang up and dial #8010 to reach mobile directory assistance. The cost of this call is $4.99. Thank you and goodbye.”

The message repeated in French, I guess because I’m Canadian.

Now even more curious, I looked up that #8010 number, which resulted in several warnings on Reddit and elsewhere that it is indeed a scam: Every time you call that number, you get dinged for five bucks.

For the record, I did not call that second number. I am curious as to what’s on the other end, yes, but I’m not willing to spend $5 to find out—and more to the point, it seems clear that this whole thing is indeed a scam, or at the very least not a meta-joke where Deadpool breaks into the line mid-conversation and makes a smarmy aside about pegging.

One other interesting note is that every time I called back after selecting the “under 50” option (and man, I hope I’m not getting charged for calling the number in the video), I did not get the over/under 50 choice but was shunted directly to the “new mobile directory service” recording instead. I can only assume it’s using caller ID to ensure the people on the “over 50” line don’t have to answer questions about why they’re charging $5 for a directory assistance scam.

My guess at this point is that Second Dinner whipped up the trailer and used a silly phone number without checking whether it actually leads to anything. Under most circumstances it’d be a harmless mistake (and kind of funny), but in this case there’s a real potential for people to be scammed. It is admittedly unlikely that a whole lot of elderly folk are going to go shopping for an off-brand LifeLine based on Deadpool’s say-so, but an over-excited 12-year-old (or anyone, really) who’s not paying attention could be fooled into dialing that number at least once. 

And if someone does sign up for the promised free medical alert device, that could possibly lead to even bigger losses. The New York State Department of State, for instance, has a “medical device scam” warning on its website that describes an operation very similar to this one. Other states have posted similar warnings, as has the non-profit MedicAlert Foundation.

There is one bright spot amidst all this: It turns out the www.yoursitegoeshere.com URL in the trailer was not actually owned by anyone, so Twitter user @liveoptimistic snapped it up and now has it redirected to the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund, a US-based charity that offers free medical care to sick and injured children in Palestine. 

(Image credit: @liveoptimistic (Twitter))

Second Dinner hasn’t commented on the situation but a couple hours after the video went up on YouTube and Twitter—and just a few minutes prior to writing this—it pulled the video from both platforms. I’ve reached out to the studio for more information and will update if I receive a reply.

PCGamer.com

Leave a Reply