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Phone scam resurfaces

Several months ago, we reported on a story where a local woman reported to Greene Publishing, Inc. that she was targeted by scammers using her own phone number. That’s right: when the call showed up on her caller identification, it gave her number instead of the one the scammers were using.

Well, it seems the scammers are back and trying this scamming method again.  We received a tip from a local Madison County man who stated he received a phone call using his own phone number. The caller knew all of his credit card numbers and asked for his social security number and bank account numbers.

Do you ask, “why does my caller identification have my own number on it?”

Well, it seems most people would be more likely to pick up out of curiosity than they would for “Unknown Caller,” “Private Number,” or some out-of-state area code.

Do not pick up for these calls. No legitimate company would use these caller identification-masking techniques. If you do, you could be put through to a robo-caller or a real person trying to collect your information. If they get your bank account information, they could steal your money. If they get your personal information like your social security number, full name, date of birth, etc., they could steal your identity.

Victims of identity theft see credit accounts popping up in their name, purchases made through in-store credit in other states and other financial horrors. These can be hard to fight and result in thousands of dollars worth of damages and a ruined credit score.

If you did pick up the phone and are concerned that the call could be legitimate, call your banking institution on a published phone number— like the one on your monthly statement— to be certain.

If you have not been targeted by this scam yet, do not fall for it; ignore the call like you would for an out-of-state number or “Caller Unknown.” Do not discuss your personal information over the telephone with unsolicited callers. Do not allow yourself to become a victim of fraud.

If you do, however, find yourself, or a loved one, a victim of this scam, or any other scam, please call the Madison Police Department at (850) 973-5077 or the Madison County Sheriff’s Department at (850) 973-4001.

-Amber Houston

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