TPD warns against phone scams

Published 5:15 pm Monday, November 25, 2019

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With the holidays about to be in full swing, it is important to remember to be on the lookout for con artists and potential scams over the phone.

According to Thorsby Police Chief Rodney Barnett, certain scammers call and imply that they are with the United States Census Bureau and ask the person on the other end of the line to answer some survey questions.

“When you call the number back it goes to a disconnected number,” Barnett said, after having personally tried that tactic.

He said that agencies such as the IRS and the Census Bureau would mail out information before contacting you over the phone.

A popular way in which scammers get people to pick up the phone is by “spoofing numbers.”

“They use numbers that look familiar to us with our same area code,” Barnett said.

By using a local area code, it allows the scammers to break through the initial barrier by getting people to answer the call.

Even if the phone is answered, hanging up is always the best option prior to giving away personal details.

“If you’re skeptical at all, do not give any important information that they could use against you,” Barnett said.

Although Barnett has heard from residents who have been contacted by scammers in recent weeks, he acknowledged that it is by far not a Thorsby-only issue.

“It’s a countywide problem,” Barnett said.

Oftentimes, the people with the most risk of being taken advantage of are elderly individuals.

“They’re trusting people, but unfortunately that’s who they prey on,” Barnett said.

However, Barnett has also had instances where businesses have been notified as part of a scam identifying themselves as working for Alabama Power and threatening to shut off their power if they did not pay a designated amount.

“There are a lot of scams going on out there,” Barnett said. “It is important to be aware.”