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Better Business Bureau ®
Start With Trust®
28 counties covering Western Pennsylvania
FBI Releases Information on the Latest Telephone Scam
June 24, 2010

Telephone scams have been around for decades but scammers are still finding new twists to trick consumers. On Monday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released information on the latest phone scheme targeting consumers.

The “telephone denial-of-service” scam ends with the consumer receiving an exorbitant amount of phone calls ranging from recorded messages to dead air. What consumers don’t know is that while they are receiving the phone calls, scammers are hard at work.

Scammers find out the victim’s personal information months before they set up these phone calls. They find out account numbers and passwords and then use the phone calls to divert the victim’s attention and prevent any other phone calls from coming in. While the phone lines are busy, the scammer either drains the victim’s bank account through fraudulent transactions or they pretend to actually be the victim using the account information they previously collected. One of two things will happen. The first outcome is the bank will try to contact the victim, but will receive a busy signal and continue with the transaction. The second outcome is the bank will not make the transaction, but the scammer will either try again later or add an additional phone line to the victim’s account so the bank will call them.

Your BBB advises consumers to never give out personal information through unsolicited e-mails, phone calls, or social networking websites. Also be sure to check bank accounts and statements regularly.

If you feel you have been a victim of a “telephone denial-of-service” scam, immediately contact your telephone provider and financial institution, and file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.

For more information on the latest scams and schemes visit www.fbi.gov.