Local man apparent victim of phone scam

Published 8:03 am Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A Carter County man told police he became the victim of a scam he was told he had been approved for a loan.
On Friday, the 34-year-old man filed a report with the Carter County Sheriff’s Department regarding the scam.
According to CCSD Deputy Amanda Little the man said he had been contacted by someone identifying themselves as an employee of PayPower and who informed him he had been approved for a $3,000 loan. In order to obtain the loan, the man was told he needed to send $200 on a green dot card to the company via MoneyGram.
“(The man) went to Wal-Mart of Elizabethton to purchase the card,” Little said. “He called to give the payment code. At this time they advised him he would need to send $425 cash via MoneyGram.”
The man told Little he sent the cash but has not had any contact with the company since.
According to the website for PayPower, the company provides pre-paid debit or credit cards and also provides debit cards with direct deposit services but does not provide loans.
The Federal Trade Commission warns consumers about several types of scams which can be conducted over the telephone.
“Advance fee loans, payday loans, credit card protection, and offers to lower your credit card interest rates are very popular schemes, especially during a down economy,” warns the FTC.
The FTC offers the following guidelines to consumers to help protect themselves from becoming a victim of a telephone scam:
• Don’t send cash by messenger, overnight mail, or money transfer. If you use cash or a money transfer — rather than a credit card — you may lose your right to dispute fraudulent charges. The money will be gone.
• Don’t agree to any offer for which you have to pay a “registration” or “shipping” fee to get a prize or a gift.
• Resist pressure to make a decision immediately.
• Keep your credit card, checking account, or Social Security numbers to yourself. Don’t tell them to callers you don’t know — even if they ask you to “confirm” this information. That’s a trick.
• Don’t pay for something just because you’ll get a “free gift.”
• Get all information in writing before you agree to buy.
• Check out a charity before you give. Ask how much of your donation actually goes to the charity. Ask the caller to send you written informa­tion so you can make an informed decision without being pressured, rushed, or guilted into it.
• If the offer is an investment, check with your state securities regulator to see if the offer — and the person/company making the offer — are properly registered.
• Research offers with your consumer protection agency or state Attorney General’s office before you agree to send money.
• Beware of offers to “help” you recover money you have already lost. Callers that say they are law enforcement officers who will help you get your money back “for a fee” are scammers.
• Report any caller who is rude or abusive, even if you already sent them money. They’ll want more. Call 1-877-FTC-HELP or visit ftc.gov/complaint.
The FTC also warns against automated telephone calls.
“If you answer the phone and hear a recorded message instead of a live person, it’s a robocall,” the FTC warns on its website. “Recorded messages that are trying to sell you something are generally illegal unless you have given the company written permission to call you.
“If you get a robocall hang up the phone. Don’t press 1 to speak to a live operator or any other key to take your number off the list. If you respond by pressing any number, it will probably just lead to more robocalls.”

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