Lake Havasu City Seniors Thwart Phone Scam Attempt

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Phone scam perpetrators are stepping up their game as they try to outwit and undermine their victims. The old "give me your social security number" trick does not work anymore since more and more people are becoming aware of scammers' tactics.

Newer, savvier criminals will call, and before they ask you for your personal information, will give you their account of your existing personal information to validate their authenticity. This action has confused victims, which has resulted in widespread theft.

For residents of Lake Havasu City, Arizona, these calls are all too familiar. Thankfully, Don and Gail Carr realized the scam and contacted the authorities immediately. They were contacted by a person attempting to sell them an item. The callers proceeded to list the Carrs' names, address, and banking information and requested for them to fill in the other details of their personal information.

Lt. Richie Sloma of the Lake Havasu City Police Department is concerned about the rising number of these types of calls. "What made this unusual is that they already had so much information," Sloma said. "But with all of the information that's out there, it's not that tough to find. We encourage people to search for themselves (on the Internet) just to see how easy it is to find information. It's all out there now."

The Carrs were aware of the scammer's tactics when they were offered a new Medicare card. "They said they needed this information to be able to send us a card," Don said. "They supposedly had all of our information, but they needed our Social Security number. That's when I knew it was a scam." Immediately after the call, the Carrs contacted the non-emergency police dispatch for help.

Lt. Sloma warns people to never give out personal information over the phone. When asked about the Carrs and how they handled the situation, Sloma responded, "They did exactly the right thing but there are many who hear an offer that sounds right and they give it away. That's why these exist. But we tell people, if it sounds too good to be true, it is."

Residents will know the call is a scam when they pick up the phone and hear a delay. This is the exact moment the call is transferred to a switchboard. "It's common to see these in these phishing expeditions," Sloma said. "The process of phishing refers to a group of people calling numbers at random and attempting to solicit personal information. They went phishing but they didn't get a bite this time. So they'll try again. And they'll keep doing it because someone will go for it."

Though these scams generally target seniors due to their lack of understanding, the Carrs, age 71 and 73 wouldn't have it. The Carrs admitted that they have received phone scam calls before but they were aware each time.

Sloma said the scams typically involve senior citizens because they're not as aware of technological changes and aren't as familiar with the new methods. Though Don is 73 and Gail is 71, they were still aware of the scams as they were taking place. "I had one guy call me up and tell me he was my grandson and he was in Canada and needed me to wire him some money," Don said. "I knew what it was so I laughed and told him if he wanted to move, he needed to do what I did and get off of his lazy ass and get a job."

The Carrs, savvy and somewhat comical in their old age, didn't fall for the newest scam. If you are ever suspicious about a phone number, never divulge your personal information. Check phone numbers by doing a reverse phone check or by looking up the number in online databases that contain phone numbers previously used for scams. The number used to call the Carrs was later found to be a common scam phone number. If you are very concerned, do not hesitate to contact your local authorities. Chances are you are not the first to report a bogus phone call.