News Story
Posted by Transylvania County on April 8, 2019

If you have a smart phone, perhaps you are like us; you’re getting an array of phone calls from all over the United States and North America from Telemarketing con artists. They are creative, coming up with new tricks every day to scam unsuspecting Transylvania residents. The callers prey on anyone who answers a phone, but especially seniors and others who have responded to phony sweepstakes or other scams before.


We will continue to spend the next few weeks on examples of scams we know have been successful for fraudulent telemarketers give you an idea of the tricks they play.



A caller claims to be able to protect you from identity theft and from thieves who might steal your credit card numbers using the Internet. The caller warns that thieves will run up hundreds of thousands of dollars in debts in your name, and that you will be liable unless you purchase protection for $200-$600. In fact, federal law already protects you from liability for such theft and for misuse of your credit card numbers.



You are invited to become a “secret shopper,” someone who gets paid for conducting business with a company and then evaluating its performance. You receive detailed instructions on how to test the Western Union or MoneyGram wire transfer system, along with a check for several thousand dollars. You are told to deposit the check into your account, wire 90 percent of the funds to a person located overseas, and then immediately fill out an online questionnaire about your experience. Days after you deposit the check and wire the funds overseas, your bank says that the check was counterfeit and that your account has been debited in the amount of the check.



You are contacted by an individual who presents himself as a utility company employee. The phony utility agent claims that your water, gas or electric bill is past due and that your service is about to be cut off. You can prevent disconnection by paying your bill and late charges. If the scammer is standing at your front door, he will accept cash or a check. If he has called you on the telephone, you can pay by providing your checking account or credit card number. This scam is frequently used against seniors.


The North Carolina Department of Justice can help; call toll free at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM

Source: NC Department of Justice