Volume No. 18 Issue No. 2 February 2021  

  Beware of phone scammers

     In December, an Elbert resident contacted “The New Falcon Herald” about a possible telephone scam. He said an individual called and told him that he needed to send $200 to get his cable TV box updated. The cable service company “representative” said they could update the box remotely.
   If the money was not sent, the resident was told his cable service would be discontinued. He sent the money but had second thoughts the next day and contacted the cable company. They informed him the call was not legitimate; fortunately, he was able to stop payment on his check.
   While there is an abundance of different types of scams and people should be on their guard against them, this particular scam either might not be too widespread or other victims might not have reported it. Representatives of two local TV providers were not aware of such a scam.
   “This would be my first call,” said a representative of Dish Network, who identified herself only as Dee.
   “We don't ask anyone to send money, all we ask is that they pay their bill,” said Robert Barnes of Stratus IQ.
   “Although we have had reports of phone scams and scams around cons calling to collect money, we haven't had recent reports of that particular scam with the cable company,” said Adah Rodriguez, vice president of development and operations for the Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado. The bureau collects data on scams and works with law enforcement and other organizations to educate and inform people about scams.
   “Most people don't report their scams, so sadly we don't get all the information,” Rodriguez said. She said only one-third of scams are reported and the only way to prevent scams is to report them to the bureau and law enforcement.
   Rodriguez urged people to report any scam to her organization by calling 719-636-1155 or going to http://bbb.org. In addition, the bureau has an online scam tracker at https://bbb.org/scamtracker that reports all known information on scams. The bureau can also check on any business (credited or non-credited) throughout the country.
   Everyone should be wary of any caller who asks for money upfront or presents a special offer, Rodriguez said. Sometimes scammers ask for a debit or gift card that can't be traced, she said. Check with the cable companies or other organizations the potential scammer claims to represent.
   “Step back, take a breath,” she said. “You don't have to act on it at that very moment.”
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