The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

September 23, 2013

Morgan County Sheriff warns of phone scams

From staff reports
Associated Press

— A new phone scam reported in a nearby county could also affect Limestone County residents, according to Morgan County Sheriff Ana Franklin. Franklin wants to warn local residents about two separate scams that have been reported in the area recently.

The first involves a caller identifying themselves as representatives of the social security administration, Medicaid or Medicare. Potential scammers have the names, phone numbers and addresses of their potential victims. 

During the conversation, they ask for the potential victims to read out the numbers along the bottom of their most recent check or check stub from the agency they purport to represent.

This is a scam to collect the routing and account numbers of the checks in question.  No representative from either the social security administration or from Medicaid or Medicare will ask for this information over the phone.  Sheriff Franklin asks the public to simply hang up and refuse to answer any further calls from that number.

The second scam involves calls received from an 876 “area code”.  The caller says that you have won a contest, or sweepstakes, and need you to call another 876 “area code” number to set up payment of “taxes” or “fees” that must be paid to receive the prize(s). 

No actual contest or sweepstakes will require the payment of any fees up front. 

Not only that, but the 876 “area code” is not a U.S. area code.  It is a country calling code for Jamaica. 

When victims back, the scamers try to keep you on the phone for as long as possible, in one case asking the potential victim to stay on the line while he went to Wal-mart to get a Wal-mart gift card to pay the “fees”.  You end up with a large phone bill for the out of country calls.