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Scammers can't get story straight

Published: Monday, March 17, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT

Readers call us from time to time about scams. They want us to alert the public.

Here’s a rule of thumb: If someone calls you unsolicited and starts seeking personal information, you would be wise to hang up, even if it’s from someone who claims to be working for a company with which you do business.

A few weeks ago, a woman called me saying she was from Verizon, my cellphone provider, and asked me for my address. Why would Verizon need information it already has?

I hung up and immediately called Verizon. A customer service rep said the company had had no contacts with me that day, other than the call I had just made.

Recently, Dixon resident John Laschinski told me that a woman called him asking him to turn on his computer and make changes in his system, which he believes was a way for her to get personal information such as a bank account number.

“I didn’t buy that for a minute,” he said. 

I repeatedly called the Colorado number that appeared on John’s caller ID. (Don’t trust that a call from a U.S. area code is actually coming from inside the country.) The first two times, I asked where the company was based. Both times, I was told Colorado Springs. When I asked for the address, I couldn’t understand one woman’s answer, and the other gave me an address on a street that doesn’t exist in Colorado Springs. 

The third time I called, a man said the company has offices all over the world. When I asked him about the U.S. office, he said it was in Texas. 

The fourth time, a man answering the phone asked me why I had called several times. I asked for the firm’s website.

“I don’t want to give you my website,” he said.

Yet the company very much wanted to get inside John’s computer. Interesting how that works.

David Giuliani is a news editor for Sauk Valley Media. You can reach him at dgiuliani@saukvalley.com or 800-798-4085, ext. 525. Follow him on Twitter: @DGiuliani_SVM.

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