CHARLESTON - Businesses in West Virginia are being warned of a new telephone scam, which is currently targeting offices throughout the US.
The scam involves a business receiving a call from a person (usually a male) claiming to be a local police officer. He begins by asking for a company director by name and then asks a series of questions about whether or not there have been any problems with anti-social behaviour in the area lately. This is a tactic to build a rapport with whoever answers the phone and display a level of knowledge of the local area to make them appear genuine.
After lulling businesses in to a false sense of security with a seemingly sound knowledge of the area and the names of the company directors, the call then takes a sinister turn. The caller goes on to ask whether or not the business will be continuing to support a local police community publication with a small donation, just as they have done in the past. An apparent “colleague” of the caller then calls within ten minutes of the original call asking for payment. Yet when challenged to provide a telephone number so he can be called back, he claims to have forgotten his number.
Kris Hicks of CPR Call Blocker is urging businesses in West Virginia to be wary of unsolicited calls asking for donations: “The issue with this type of scam is that people in businesses could easily be tricked in to thinking that they have supported a cause like this in the past. As many local businesses often give back to their communities through charitable donations, scams like these can be easy to fall for.
“The additional problem with calls like these is that people are naturally more inclined to trust a call that they receive from someone in a position of authority, such as a policeman. However, the police will not ask for money over the phone.
“The use of official records, which are easily available, says it all and people should be warned that knowledge of these details is no guarantee that the caller is legitimate.”
One of the best ways to protect your business is to purchase a call blocker device such as a CPR Call Blocker which simply plugs into any landline and features a ‘Block Now’ button which ends an unwanted call and permanently blocks the number. They come pre-programmed with up to 2,000 known nuisance callers and have the ability to store up to an additional 1,500 numbers.
Hicks continued: “In the meantime, we would advise businesses in West Virginia to be vigilant against these types of calls and suggest they never make a donation over the phone to an unsolicited caller without verifying the caller. This can be done by asking for their full name, job title and telephone number so you can check it out. We would also advise businesses to be aware of all the causes that they have supported in the past so that they cannot be fooled in to donating to fake causes.”