On Your Side: Confronting a phone scammer


EAST KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) – Phone scammers are constantly evolving, but they have a common thread: The scammers are persistent.

They either call you constantly or insist that you act quickly because your “opportunity” will be lost.

WATE 6 On Your Side’s Don Dare spoke with a couple in Mascot and also with a scammer to see what they knew.

The scammer we heard on the phone insisted that the opportunity for big bucks and fancy car would be lost, if would-be victim Wilma didn’t buy gift cards and send him the information immediately.

What was interesting was the guy on the phone claimed he was physically in Wilma’s neighborhood – but we found out he had no idea where she lived.

Wilma and her husband, Carroll enjoy peace and quiet when their grandkids aren’t around. But there was no peace or quiet one day last week as they received constant phone calls about their “winning prize.” They asked we not reveal their last name.

“Right now I’ve got about 12 to 15 calls from this one guy. His name is supposed to be James. And, I don’t know how many cars I’ve won. Don’t have a total of how much money I’ve won,” Wilma said.

Wilma said the voice on the phone is the same person who had been calling since early in the morning. She got him talking. Playfully, Wilma led the guy on as she peppered him with questions.

He directed her to pick up a gift card for $150 so she could claim her prize, which he said he was going to personally present to her because he was right nearby her home.

When Wilma asked if this was a scam, the caller replied, “we don’t do scams, okay? We don’t do scams.”

What this particular caller was trying to do was an advance fee scam.

The Advance fee fraud is when someone asks you to pay a fee in order to get something valuable. Any kind of offer that seems enticing but requires you to make a payment is the beginning of an advance fee fraud. No delivery will ever be made. Nor is the con artist in your neighborhood or city as claimed, so an immediate delivery of your winnings can be made.

With Moneypak or gift cards the scammer gives you a phone number to call or an email address. Once you buy the card, they’ll ask you to scratch off the serial number on the back and give it to them.

Of course, once that happens, your money is gone.

No legitimate government agency or company will ask for payment using any type of gift card.

These scammers may say they’re right nearby your home, but they’re actually somewhere overseas, not here in East Tennessee.

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