News Story
Posted by Transylvania County on April 29, 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.



An unscrupulous mortgage lender offers you a loan to consolidate your debts, help your grandchildren go to college, or pay for home improvements. But the loan is a bad deal for you because it includes a high interest rate, expensive fees for unnecessary options like credit life insurance or disability insurance, brokerage commissions, “points” and origination costs. Your loan terms may also include a balloon payment so that the entire amount of the mortgage loan is due after just a few years. At that point the lender may offer to refinance the loan, claiming this will lower payments. Instead, more fees get tacked on to the loan.  The end result is that you can quickly lose most of the equity in your home (a process known as equity stripping) while continuing to face high payments for what might have originally been a modest mortgage loan. Predatory mortgage loans often target seniors whose home mortgages have already been paid off. This scam is frequently used against seniors.



Your church receives a call from someone claiming to be a priest or pastor in another state.The phony clergyman claims that a valued female member of their church is moving to North Carolina with her children and intends to join your church or parish. They provide the names of the family members and the date they will arrive in your town. On that date, which is usually a Friday or Saturday, a woman claiming to be the future church member calls to say that her car has broken down and she and her children are stranded in Maryland or Virginia. She says that the mechanic will not accept her out-of-state check, and if funds (usually $500-$800) can be wired to her, she can get the car repaired and arrive in time for the Sunday service. She apologizes for the imposition and promises to repay the money. But after the money is sent, the supposed new member of the church and her former pastor are never heard from again.


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

Source: NC Department of Justice