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Archive for Tuesday, June 8, 1999

BUSINESS BUREAU WARNING OF TELEPHONE SCAM

June 8, 1999

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People shouldn't give out credit or bank account numbers to callers, the Better Business Bureau says.

The Better Business Bureau is warning area residents to be aware of a telephone scam in which callers ask residents to switch telephone companies.

The callers are seeking "personal information," such as Social Security and credit card numbers, and bank account numbers.

"This is an old scam that's being perpetuated again," said Joyce Woodard, president of the BBB in Topeka, which covers Lawrence.

"What we tell people is that unless you made the call, you don't give out anything."

Woodard said that in the latest scam, a BBB member from Lawrence was called and asked to give account numbers.

The caller mentioned Southwestern Bell Telephone, but did not identify themselves as representing the company, Woodard said.

When the potential victim did not give her information, the caller gave her a misleading 1-800 telephone number that belongs to an unrelated Pennsylvania company, Woodard said.

She said that this type of scam often targets senior citizens.

"Sometimes the scam artist don't give the senior citizens enough credit," she said.

Mike Scott, local Southwestern Bell representative, said Monday that the BBB warning was the first he had heard of the scam.

Lawrence police Sgt. Rick Nickell also said he wasn't aware of police receiving recent reports about such a scam.

But he said, "That's a constant kind of thing."

"Always know who you're dealing with," Nickell said. "Never give out credit card numbers or other information, particularly from an unsolicited phone call."

Woodard said that such scams have been on the rise this year because of the Y2K computer problem.

Scam artists have been capitalizing on the problem in attempting to gain credit and bank account numbers, she said.

-- Michael Dekker's phone message number is 832-7187. His e-mail address is mdekker@ljworld.com.

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