Beware: Phone scam artists are becoming more clever

Latest phone scam
Updated: Jul. 5, 2017 at 6:31 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Answering the wrong number calling your phone could open you up to crooks. Scam artists are so savvy, they can even make your own phone number show up on your caller ID.

"I got a recorded message about the warranty on my vehicle. I don't have a vehicle," said Jo Ann Reese.

She could not believe the call came to her cell phone.

"Where did they get my number from?" stated Reese.

"Scam, scam, scam, there are so many out there," said Cynthia Albert with the local Better Business Bureau.

She said they get complaints all the time.

"We know about these scams, we get calls on them every day, every single day," said Albert.

A 2001 Louisiana law directed the state Public Service Commission to maintain a Do not Call register. Additionally, at the federal level there is the National Do Not Call List. And in 2008, the Federal Communications Commission amended its rules to require telemarketers to honor registrations indefinitely.

But the calls keep coming.

Wednesday around lunchtime, a call came to a FOX 8 issued cellphone.

"Your eligibility will expire shortly, please consider this your final notice," the caller said.

The scams are myriad.

"There's one that's called, 'just say yes,' and the deal with that is that maybe a young lady will just call up and say, can you hear me? And naturally if you can you will say, yes," Albert said.

Uttering that three letter word to a stranger can be costly.

"Now what they do if they know your name, they have the recording saying yes, so in the future what they can do is have you, or have you look like you're purchasing a product or a service," continued Albert.

"With a recording or whether a spoken word and they ask that question, I would be scared to say, yes or no, you know because of the scam," said Reese.

Albert said people are also being fooled by "spoofing." The scam artists can even make a person's own phone number appear in their caller ID.

"And spoofing means that these characters can make any number show up on your ID, so you can't trust your ID and normally what they do they leave a number for you to call and many cases we found that it's a number in Jamaica.  Now they're not under the Federal Communications Commission, so can charge quite a bit of money when you call them. Don't call them," said Albert.

Albert said once people start raising questions and pushing back, oftentimes the attitude of the person on the other end of the call changes in a flash.

"When they realize that you're not going to fall for it, they turn on you, and we've had many, many people say that they've been cussed out, they've been, you know, really threatened," she said.

Reese thinks the government should do more to disconnect the crooks.

"Yes, they should, but I know whatever they use someone could get into it and do whatever. You know, use it for the bad," she said.

The Federal Communications Commission is working to unmask those behind telemarketing and Robo calls who ignore the rules. According to an FCC official, the Do Not Call Registry does not block calls, but instead warns marketers who want to act lawfully against calling numbers on the list. He said they are also working on various ways to unmask those behind Robo-calls.

For more information on Robocalls rules, the Do Not Call List and Call Blocking Services, click here. Also, Louisiana Attorney Jeff Landry's office has a consumer protection hotline. The number is 1-800-351-4889.  Complaints can also be made online here.

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