On Your Side: Avoiding a recent phone scam in our area

Greg Loyd - AMERICUS, Ga- When Terri Rogers answered her phone on Good Friday, the voice on the other end of the line was far from friendly.  The man who called her told her that her social security checks had been frozen and would remain that way—unless she immediately went to the bank and withdrew money to pay a fine.  Much like a kidnapper, he offered her strict instructions.

"[He told me} that they would call me [when] I got the money out of the bank.  Don't call them. They said do not discuss it with anyone," Rogers says.

But it's advice she did not follow.

"I called the police department, and they sent an officer over, and he said it was a scam," says Rogers.

Kelvin Collins,  President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of the Fall Line Corridor, says Rogers did exactly what any of us should do when confronted with such a call.

"This is one of those situations where if they ask you not tell someone, that's the first thing you should do," says Collins.

Collins also says remember that no legitimate government or law enforcement agency operates this way.  Had there been an issue, for example, with Rogers's social security, she would have received a letter, not a phone call.

"And they're never going to ask you to give them any type of personal information and never going to ask for payment," says Collins.

While talking with Rogers, she provided me with the phone number of the mysterious man who called her. I decided I'd like to give him a return call.  He didn't answer; instead, we were greeted by a nondescript standard voicemail greeting.

Rogers says she wanted to come forward to warn others, especially senior citizens, not to fall for phone scams.

If you receive a phone call you find suspicious, do not be intimidated.  Hang up.  Report it to the police. You may also submit it to the Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker.

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