Scammers are inundating the Mid-South with calls and texts

Scammers are inundating the Mid-South with calls and texts

Apple, Utility, Law Enforcement all seeing fraudulent impostors

From Better Business Bureau of the Mid-South

bbb.org Scammers often target one geographic area at a time, and this past week the Mid-South has been a hotbed of scam reports. BBB is warning Mid-Southerners about three scams that have had increased activity in this area in the last week.

Imposter Call Threatening to Cut Off Utilities Utility departments are once again cautioning their customers about two ongoing phone scams. In the first version, scammers are calling restaurant and other business owners in the area and threatening to cut off utilities if supposedly past due accounts are not paid immediately. Restaurant owners are reporting that the scam calls are coming in at their busiest times – when they have a restaurant full of patrons. The calls can catch potential victims off guard and send them into panic mode, causing some to pay the phony charges.

Another version of this call targets consumers by telling them they’ll get a discount by paying their utility charges in advance. In both versions, the crooks often ask for payment via prepaid debit cards.

Although the caller and your caller ID may say “Entergy” or “Utility Department,” the calls are not coming from a legitimate caller. No utility company will ever demand payment over the phone with prepaid debit cards.

Imposter Call Threatening Arrest The Crittenden, DeSoto and Shelby county sheriff's department are all warning area residents that they’ve been made aware of an uptick in scam phone calls in the area. The callers are warning residents about outstanding warrants and/or fines and threatening arrest if they’re not taken care of immediately. A statement on the Sheriff’s Department website says that the DeSoto County Sheriff's Department WILL NOT make phone calls of this nature. Another version of this scam has the caller pretending to be an IRS agent. If the caller asks for any money, usually by way of a prepaid debit/credit card, it is a scam.

Apple ID Text Message Scam A text message scam is currently targeting Mid-Southerners as well. In this scam, you receive a text in which you’re told that your iTunes or Apple ID account is suspended. The message says to click on the web link included in the text to avoid losing access to your account. Once clicked, you’re asked to input personal information including your Apple ID account number, Social Security Number, and credit card information. Within one day this past week, three employees at the Mid-South Better Business Bureau received variations of this message. Unsolicited text messages can be reported by forwarding the text to SPAM (7726).

BBB Tips to avoid falling for one of these scams:

• Be suspicious of anyone who demands immediate payment for any reason.

• Never give out personal or financial information to anyone who emails, calls or texts you unsolicited.

• Never wire money or provide debit or credit card numbers or prepaid debit card identification numbers to someone you don’t know.

• If you or your business has been targeted by these scam, share as many details as possible on BBB Scam Tracker at bbb.org/scamtracker/ Memphis.

For more consumer tips and advice on the latest scams, visit our website at bbb.org, like us on Facebook (BBBMemphis), or follow us on Twitter(@BBBMidSouth).

About BBB BBB is an unbiased, nonprofit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses that earn BBB accreditation contractually agree to adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Reviews on both BBB Accredited and non-accredited businesses, as well as educational information on a variety of topics, including scams and frauds, consumer financial education and ethics. The BBB also offers complaint and dispute resolution support for consumers and businesses. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, 113 BBBs serve communities across the U.S., Canada and Mexico, evaluating and monitoring more than 4 million local and national businesses and charities. Please visit bbb.org for more information.

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