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Scammers Beware Authorities Caution Residents

By Staff | Apr 2, 2013

Law enforcement authorities are cautioning residents to be aware of a pair of telephone scams that are circulating in the region.

Palo Alto County Sheriff Lynn Schultes reported that a Graettinger area resident received a phone call on Thursday, March 28, in which the caller stated that the resident was living in a high crime area, and therefore qualified for a free alarm system. The resident was told to press “1” to accept the free alarm system or to press “2” to have their name and number removed from a call list.

“What to do, what to do? Is this a scam or just an old sales tactic,?” said Sheriff Schultes. “There have been phone scams where residents were charged fees by dialing a certain number. In this case, what would happen if you pressed “1” or “2”? Would there be a finance charge added to your phone bill or, if legitimate, would there really be a free alarm systems coming or would your name and number be removed from the call list?”

“Without knowing for sure, perhaps the best advice would be to simply hang up and not press ANY numbers,” Schultes suggested.

Area financial institutions are also issuing a warning about a new phone scam involving bank debit cards.

Officials have been receiving numerous reports of people who receive an automated phone call that names several local banks by name. The call then states that the person’s bank debit card has been de-activated and in order to re-activate the card, the individual must to follow prompts given in the message. The individual is then instructed to provide various personal information, along with the debit card number.

Officials say this type of call is a scam and that area banks have nothing to do with such calls. If a customer has any question about their debit card, they should contact their bank. Anyone who has received one of these calls, or might have unwittingly participated in the scam should also contact their bank immediately.

Sheriff Schultes reminds area residents that if they receive calls wishing to sell you an item, perhaps the best thing to do is to simply hang up and contact a local business that sells the same product. Also, if you are notified that you have won something, there should be no strings attached to the prize no fees to pay, and no money should have to be returned to anyone.

“Anything that sounds too good to be true usually is,” Schultes said. “Please report any type of suspicious calls to your local law enforcement agency as soon as possible.”