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Howard Ain, Troubleshooter: Scam To Gain Personal Information
CINCINNATI (Howard Ain) -- Here's something you should never forget. Don't ever give out your personal information over the phone to someone you don't know. No matter how slick they might be.
Local 12 TroubleShooter Howard Ain says forgetting that can end up costing you dearly.
This is a scam that's been around for a while, but people are still falling for it. And that creates quite a few problems for them.
You're looking at surveillance photos inside a bank as a conman named Joseph Dees gets a cash advance on a stolen credit card. That's his co-conspirator, Courtney Mcfeater, leaving various stores after making big ticket purchases.
Brian Plants: "They ran up approximately $270-thousand dollar loss in a six month period."
First, they would search the internet for office managers or someone working in a busy doctor's office or real estate agency. Dees would then tell the victims that he was calling because they didn't show for jury duty.
Plants: "He would say we can take care of this problem right now, you're delinquent jury duty, but we just need some information over the phone."
He would proceed to ask for social security numbers, date of birth, mother's maiden name, and current address. With that information, the suspects could call a credit card company and simply ask for a replacement card to be sent to an address they had access to.
Plants: "After cards are delivered, they would use different cell phone numbers to call and activate the cards and then use the cards until they were shut off."
Victims told postal inspectors the suspects were very convincing.
Plants: "He was very convincing, and very calm and if they didn't want to give out their information, he would somehow keep them talking and convince them to give out personal information on the phone."
That is the lesson.
Plants: "If someone calls you, never give out their personal information to them, cause you don't know who is on the other end of the phone call."
The suspects in this case all pleaded guilty and received sentences ranging from two to six years. All are currently in jail.
Postal inspectors say in all there are about 50 victims in this scam. One of the best ways to combat credit card fraud is to order free yearly credit checks at annual credit report dot com.