HOUSTON – Not only will they break into your home, they will get into your bank account if you let them.
John Hall of Houston got a telephone call recently from someone saying he needed a new plastic Social Security card and one would be sent if he would answer a few simple questions.
“He already knew some things about me like my name and address,” said Hall. “Then he asked me what bank I used and my antenna went up. When he asked to confirm my Social Security number I realized it was a scam.”
Hall said the gentleman on the other end of the line was polite and polished.
“But he had a slight accent and I could tell he wasn’t from around here,” said Hall. “This is the first time I have ever had anything happen like this.
“People need to be aware that things like this do happen in Houston,” said Hall. “And they need to guard against it.”
Hall said he did report the incident to police.
Hall said his telephone has caller ID and the number 786-358-6691 showed up.
“When I called it I didn’t get an answer,” said Hall. “It’s pretty obvious it was a scam.”
Houston Police Chief Billy Voyles urged the community to always guard personal information and contact authorities the minute they suspect a scam.
“There is not a lot we can do locally, but we do send that information to Jim Hood at the Attorney General’s office,” said Voyles. “When they catch one of these guys, they take all this evidence and make their case. The more evidence they have the better their case and sometime it can make the charges bigger and the fine bigger, too.”
Again, Voyles urged residents to always personally know the person on the other end of the phone when releasing sensitive information. He also said to beware of anyone who calls you.
“If someone calls you, you really don’t know who is on the other end,” said Voyles. “But if you call your bank or a local businesses – you usually recognize that voice and know those people.”
Voyles also offered these tips:
• Never give out bank account information – The banks have this information and keep this information filed in several locations. Banks rarely call to verify anything and will usually ask you to drop by their office or a branch to conduct personal business.
• Never give out credit card information – Real credit card companies also have all your information and don’t call to verify anything. If you have problems or concerns with your credit card account, you need to initiate the call to the phone number found on your billing information.
• You can not be forced to buy anything over the phone – Scams saying your electricity or water will be cut off if you don’t give them your bank or credit card information can quickly be stopped by calling your local water or power provider.
• Don’t give out computer information – Phone scammers also ask for computer information such as your email. They send an email with an attachment that can access your financial data and reveal personal information.
The Mississippi Attorney General, Consumer Protection Division can be reached by dialing 1-800-281-4418.
The Houston Police Department or Chickasaw County Sheriff’s Department can be reached by dialing 911.