Archive for Wednesday, February 28, 1996

PHONE SCAM REPORTED

February 28, 1996

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Bob Stevens is calling Lawrence residents, but it's not the Bob Stephens who owns a local real estate company.

The caller is running a scam operation, police say, in which he tries to obtain the personal calling card numbers of unsuspecting residents.

On Saturday, a Lawrence resident in the 200 block of Alabama got a call from a man who identified himself as Bob Stevens. He claimed to be a Federal Communications Commission investigator who was concerned that residents' long-distance calling cards had been used illegally.

He then asked for the woman's long-distance calling card numbers.

A similar incident was reported Monday in the 2100 block of Kasold. In that report, a man identified himself as Bob Stevens and said he was a representative with Southwestern Bell Telephone.

In both incidents, residents gave the man the information he sought.

After the call Saturday, the woman called her long-distance company, who told her several calls to West Africa showed up on her account from her calling card.

"The whole thing is a scam, and we need to alert the public that at no time to give personal identification ... especially when you get calls out of the blue," said Lawrence police Sgt. Susan Hadl.

Police aren't sure where the calls are coming from or how widespread they are.

But customer service representatives for at least one national long-distance company are familiar with the scam, Hadl said.

In Monday's incident, the man left a return 1-800 number to a 20-year-old Lawrence man. The number turned out to be for a "psychic hot line," Hadl said.

Doug Stephens, office manager for Stephens Real Estate and son of Bob Stephens, said he hadn't heard of someone using his father's name in a telephone scam.

"I guess there's nothing we can do about it," he said.

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