Beware telephone (and computer) fraud

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“Hello, Grandad, is that you? This is your grandson.”

This is how innocently it started. It was not his grandson but a crafty scammer that was trying to bilk the old man out of $2,500. I first heard about it when the incredibly alert people at Columbia Bank called me and told me that my father-in-law was drawing money out of his savings account.

A call to the real grandson proved that the caller was a fraud and the request of money a scam. The money was supposed to be wired to an account in British Columbia. That was important because it is next to impossible to extradite and prosecute across state lines, virtually impossible across international boundaries.

Voice Mail Fraud – Hackers breaking into your phone system

Older citizens are an obvious target but they are not the only victims. Voice mail fraud can happen to anyone. Hackers can break into your system, especially if you have not changed the original password that you were given by your phone provider. International and direct dials are charged against your phone bill. Instead, create a complex password and change it often. Carefully scrutinize your phone bill.

Cell Phone Cloning – Cloning of your mobile identification number (MIN)

Using sophisticated electronic monitors, criminals can read you phone’s electronic serial number and phone number. By programming a cloned phone, the criminal will make direct dial and international calls against your bill. Carefully scrutinize your bill and notify your phone company when you find an illegal call(s).

‘Too Good To Be True’

Beware the stranger bearing gifts. You won’t be a winner in a contest you never entered. The free cruise will not be free, the millionaire will NOT be sharing and the REAL credit company should already know your personal numbers and information. If the caller becomes demanding, and they do, hang up!

809 Area Code Phone Scams

You receive an urgent call of a family emergency or other crisis allegedly needing your immediate response, usually with some sort of money transfer. My phones have the ability to show the incoming call number. Area code 809 is the Dominican Republic, a major site for phone scams. I hang up, never giving them a chance to try their scam on me. I’ll never miss the phony free cruise to the Bahamas that was going to ruin my credit before I ever got on board. Dialing 011 is usually necessary to reach an international location. Beware of receiving calls from this phone code.

Computer Fraud

The above listed scams can be carried out through your computer as well. A call from someone with a foreign accent purporting to be from Microsoft probably really isn’t. What he does want to do is recover your personal numbers from your computer memory and make your money his.

If you suspect a fraud, hang up. Contact your phone company or the state Attorney General or the FCC at 888-225-5322. Better yet, DON’T BE A VICTIM!

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