BBB Warns About Phone Scams

The BBB has noticed a couple of telephone scams targeting our area.

First, is the jury duty scam. The con artist poses as a deputy or court official and contacts the victim by telephone, often providing names of judges, courtroom numbers and addresses to make them sound believable. They claim you have failed to report to jury duty and say there is warrant out for your arrest. Then, they take your money, claiming you must either pay a fine with a reloadable debit card, such as a GreenDotMoneyPak, or be arrested.

Second, is the utility bill scam.The person on the other line identifies him/herself as a representative from your local electric, water or gas company. He or she tells you that you are late on your bill. You need to pay immediately, or your utilities will terminate.

In both of these situations, hang up the phone and call the court or utility company using a number that you verify. Both calls are designed to cloud your judgment by using scare tactics.

As further advice, never provide any bank, credit card account or personal information for such phone calls. You should also never wire money or purchase a green dot card without verifying who is on the other line. These payment forms are most commonly used in scams because they cannot be traced.