Scammers use familiar cell numbers, voicemail messages to trick victims

Consumer Alerts & Scams

Your phone rings, it’s an unknown number, you ignore it.    

They try again, this time it’s a common area code, a ploy to get you to answer.  

“They’re targeting innocent community members in a lot of different ways,” says FBI special agent, Richard Baer.   

The recognizable number is a technique scammers use called spoofing. It’s one of many scams blowing up cell phones everywhere. In many cases a message is left behind.

News 2 recently obtained segments of a robocall voicemail.   

“You’ll be taken into custody by the local police, as there are four serious allegations pressed on your name,” said the caller.  

This type of voicemail, says Baer, is another one of those fishing scams, in search of a profit through your information.  

“What they’re really doing is fishing for a live individual,” he says. “That essentially is an impulse to them or an input to them, they have a live caller.”  

And the message comes with urgency, accusing you of a crime. 

“It says, hey you’re under arrest, you have some sort of citation, you owe the IRS x amount of dollars,” Baer explains.   

Law enforcement will never do this.  

Agent Baer says the goal is to get you to call back, offer up info, maybe money, or at the least acknowledge your phone number belongs to a live person and possible target.  

The best advice is to resist the urge and not answer. Let your phone ring and silence the scam before it starts. If you’re receiving these calls, report the phone number to the Federal Trade Commission by clicking here

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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