Dialing for Information Under False Pretenses

Telemarketing calls are commonplace these days and in some cases a common headache depending on the frequency of which they take place. However, BBB warns scammers are taking a new approach on how to use them not just to annoy you but how to best work the scam using a legitimate company.

For example, a Hamilton man recently received a call on his home phone from someone about money he owes to a known finance company. Although he does not have any debt, especially with the company the caller mentioned, he was told by the caller, if he didn’t pay they would take him to court. Later, he received a call from a different number on his cell phone from the same person, only this time telling him he owed money to Publishers Clearing House. This call, he says, he knew right away was also a scam.

But this isn’t the only type of call making the telemarketing rounds. A Cincinnati area man says he and his neighbors are receiving calls from a man claiming to be from Social Security. That caller claims there’s an alert on his account and his benefits are now being redirected to a different address. The caller claims Social Security needs to verify his correct address and banking information. The Cincinnati man says he will never fall for this scam and wants to warn others so they don’t have money stolen from their account.

The gentleman said he called the Social Security office and was told the agency would never call and request information from you—and you should never give out such information. He was also told there was no problem with his Social Security, his address or his account.

Here are some tips you can use when a telemarketer calls:

  • Ask the debt collector to provide official documentation which substantiates the debt.

  • Do not provide or confirm any bank account, credit card or other personal information over the phone.

  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission online if the caller is abusive, uses threats or otherwise violates federal telemarketing laws. Or contact BBB and file a complaint.

Remember, any time you receive a call from a telemarketer, there are certain rights you have and certain rules they have to follow. You can Always Start With Trust. Visit bbb.org for more information.

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About Howard Ain

Howard Ain has been reporting consumer news on Cincinnati television for the past 38 years. He also writes a newspaper column alerting readers to consumer scams. He now joins BBB|Cincinnati as a correspondent.