Telemarketer Preys on Elderly Scottsville Woman

January 12, 2011

Tries Multiple Times to Get Personal Information


RICHMOND, Va. – An elderly woman in Scottsville, Va., recently received multiple phone calls from a telemarketer attempting to obtain her Social Security number and other personal information.  Her granddaughter called the scam to the attention of the Better Business Bureau (BBB).


The granddaughter said a female caller told her grandmother she had won a free “scooter” (power wheelchair).  In order to obtain the scooter, she needed to provide her Social Security number and Medicare information.  The grandmother told the caller she did not have that information--she said her daughter handled her financial matters.


The caller phoned again the following day seeking the same information.  She said she would be willing to wait on the line until the grandmother found the requested data.  The grandmother declined and hung up the phone. 


The grandmother has since received four more calls from the same number.  Two were from male callers.  In each instance, she hung up the phone and did not provide the requested information.


Tom Gallagher, president and CEO of the BBB serving Central Virginia, said all of the calls appear to be coming from a cell phone number in the Leesburg, Va., area.


Gallagher urged consumers to be skeptical of free offers, particularly when those offers come over the phone from an anonymous source.  “Above all, never release personal information to people you don’t know,” he said.  “This woman did the right thing by simply hanging up on the caller.”


The BBB administers an ongoing program to educate seniors on current scams in the community.  Seniors should report any scams to the BBB’s Senior Fraud Hotline at 804-780-2222.


The BBB in Central Virginia serves Richmond and Tri-Cities, as well as 42 surrounding counties, from Fauquier to Mecklenburg and Northumberland to Amherst. The nonprofit organization was established in 1954 to advance responsible, honest and ethical business practices and to promote customer confidence through self-regulation of business. Core services of the BBB include business reliability reports, dispute resolution, truth-in advertising, consumer and business education and charity review.