August 13, 2013 | Vol. 74 No. 3

Attorney General says to beware of telephone scam

Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane issued a reminder about the latest version of a very old telephone scam that has recently resurfaced in Pennsylvania.

Don’t fall for it. It is simply an attempt to trick people into giving out personal or financial information.

It is a robocall. The person claims to be from something called the “State Investigations Department.” (There is no such agency.) Callers are told that their name has surfaced in a criminal matter, and they must act quickly to clear the matter up.

In some cases, they are told to call immediately and provide information or they will be arrested.

One recent call originated from the 845 area code out of New York. Some of the messages had foreign-sounding accents, but the truth is there may be more than one version, and more than one accent.

Another recent robocall claims to be from the FBI, telling people that there have been break-ins in their area. The voice says “To protect yourself, push 1.”

Ms. Kane says phone scams come in all shapes and sizes and for people to keep their guard up. Remember these tips:

Never give out personal information over the telephone or online.

Never give out billing information over the phone, especially when receiving an unsolicited telephone call from a stranger.

Never cash a check from an unknown source, especially if asked to wire a portion of the proceeds to a stranger.

Never wire money or purchase “green dot”-type prepaid cash cards in response to a telephone or online appeal, whether it is from a stranger or someone who claims to know you.

Never let emotion or fear overcome common sense. If receiving a call or online appeal for money from a friend or relative, slow down and verify everything.

Here is a good rule of thumb: never give out sensitive information to anyone on the phone unless you initiated the call to a company you know is legitimate.

If you believe you’ve been the target of a scam or any type of consumer fraud, please call the Attorney General’s Consumer Helpline at 800-441-2555.

Reader Comments

(1)

ruthie writes:

Those were the same tips I found at Callercenter.com and I find it really helpful that we get reminders on how to avoid becoming phone scams. Thanks!