Phone Scammers Target Douglas County

By: Leah Uko OMAHA (KPTM) - Scammers have found a new way to wipe out people's bank accounts. The Better Business Bureau is warning the public about three types of phone scams it has been seeing for the past few weeks in Douglas County. BBB's President, Jim Hegarty, said he became a target when a person from an odd "901" area code number called his cell phone and told him he had been approved for $10,000 loan he never applied for. When he called the number back the caller stalled on asking and answering questions for nearly 10 minutes. Hegarty said this was either a Phishing scam or an Advance Fee Loan scam. In a Phishing scam, Hegarty said the scammers will ask for your account number, pin number, social security number and other sensitive information. They then steal your identity and money with it. Hegarty said the calls usually come from fake United States area codes, but the callers are out of the country. "There's nothing that we can do to stop the offshore scammers from attacking us except to be on our toes, to be on guard and do our very best to stay as informed as we possibly can," Hegarty said. In an Advance Fee Loan scam, scammers will tell you that you're approved for a loan, but need to make the first few payments first before you get the money, which is illegal. The most costly, new cell phone scam BBB has seen recently is the One-Ring scam. An odd number calls. A person answers. The caller hangs up hoping the caller will call back. "This is a scam that is designed to play into people's curiosity in hopes that they'll see that number, they'll wonder who's trying to reach them and they'll call the number back. When the person calls back, the company charges $20 per minute and will try to keep the person on the call for as long as possible in order to get as much money as possible. Unfortunately, Hegarty said it can be hard to refute the charges on a phone bill if the person refuting called the number. To avoid becoming a victim of these scams, BBB advises people to: Check their phone bill statements frequently Check bank account statements every day Do not answer calls from unrecognizable numberswait for the caller to leave a voicemail then call back Block scam calls. If you are unfamiliar with this feature, contact your cell phone provider for help. BBB said these scammers are targeting 402 area code numbers.