7On your side: Senior refuses to fall for phone scam - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

7 On Your Side: Senior refuses to fall for phone scam

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It seems like the scammers are always out there trying to find an unsuspecting, naive consumer to steal from.
 
Finers Cryer is one savvy senior who refuses to become a victim.

Cryer is an educated man with a master's degree and an honorary doctorate. Yet the caller caught him off guard when he called claiming to be the company which provides "support" for his computer.

"The guy identified himself as a representative of 'Team Support.' He said, 'You had taken out a contract for computer maintenance with us and we are going out of business and we want to refund you $150.' Well, I have a contract with ATT support. When I heard 'support,' I thought that was the contract he was talking about," said Cryer.

First, the caller asked for a credit card number.

"He said, 'We'd like to refund that money,' and he said, 'Can I have your credit card number?' And I kind of hesitated but I said okay and I gave it to him and he came back and he says, 'Well, something's wrong. It won't accept that,'" said Cryer.

When the caller, with a foreign accent, claimed, in order to provide a refund, Finers would need to cash the company's check and then send them a check for the overage, he knew something was wrong.

"The manager said, 'Well, we're going to send you a check Mr. Cryer, which we don't normally do.  But what we're going to do, we don't write checks for under $500 because that's company policy, so we're going to send you a check for $500. You cash it and send us back $330.' Well, I knew right away that was a scam," said Cryer.

Carmen Million, with the Southwest Louisiana Better Business Bureau, says it should always throw up a red flag when someone makes an unsolicited call to a consumer.

"If somebody calls you on the phone you really don't know who they are. Even if it sounds like the company you normally do business with, the best thing to do is not give personal financial information. Just hang up the phone and call the company yourself," said Million.

And legitimate businesses never send a check with a request for the consumer to send some of the money back. 

"There is absolutely no scenario that I'm aware of that would be legitimate that would require a company to send you a check and you wire them a percentage back. It's just a scam no matter how you look at it," said Million.

Finers is amazed at how tricky and sophisticated the scammers are nowadays.

"When they call, they already have your name, address, phone number -- everything about you except your Social Security number," said Finers. He says people need to be alert to avoid becoming victimized.

If you do get tricked into giving a caller a credit card number, it's best to cancel the card and get a replacement. 

For tips on dealing with telemarketers and phone solicitors click here.

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