Crawdaddy

Do more than slam the phone on scam artists

Australia/Cagle Cartoons

You can tell the person in the newsroom who got “the call” this time.

“The call” often ends with a phrase something on the order of “I HAVE NEVER STAYED IN ANY RESORT LET ALONE YOURS.” Then, the phone is returned not-so-gently to its cradle. Barely audible muttering continues for a few more seconds.

The call comes from someone who doesn’t want to give you a free luxury cruise, or a stay in an imaginary four-star resort, they simply want to separate you from your hard-earned personal information — bank account number, Social Security number and date of birth, for example. It’s never a good idea to hand those numbers over to strangers.

It’s not just fake trips, it’s quasi-threatening calls from the IRS, or a bank or a credit repair agency. They all have one thing in common, they’re phony.

First, the Mississippi Public Service Commission, in an email Monday, reminds Mississippians they can do more than register on the No Call List at 800-356-6430 or http://www.psc.state.ms.us/nocall/Subscriber.aspx. (It takes up to 60 days to have a registrant’s information added to the list. Once you receive a confirmation letter from the PSC, you do not need to re-register unless you obtain a new phone number.)

Then you can also help by filing a complaint with the PSC at https://www.psc.state.ms.us/nocall/complaint.aspx.

“We cannot track down these scam artists until we know whom they call and from which numbers,” said Ryan Brown, Central District deputy commissioner, in the release. Filing a complaint, “allows our attorneys and investigators to look into these complaints and determine the best legal course of action.”

Finally, spread the word about scams you encounter or otherwise hear about.

“Remind your family, friends, and neighbors not to give their personal or bank account information to people they do not know,” Brown wrote. “Legitimate businesses and government agencies will not call you and threaten action against you. If they need to contact you, they will send you letters. When in doubt, hang up, look up the company’s telephone number, and call them back to ensure that the call you received was legitimate.

“When filling out surveys and forms, do not provide your phone number unless it is a requirement to complete the form. Some companies make money by selling your information to other companies. If you receive a phone call and are told to press a number to “get on the no-call list,” do not press anything. When you do, it lets the company or scam artist know that your number works, and the telemarketing calls may become more frequent.”

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