WDEF turns table on telephone scammer

Reported by: Erik Avanier
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Updated: 8/05/2013 6:49 pm
CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee(WDEF) - There is a telephone scam people need to know about and this time there is a recorded voice associated with the crime.

The Chattanooga Better Business Bureau has seen a recent increase in reports about telephone scams involving an 876 area code.

Here is how the scam works: A caller leaves a voice-mail message on your phone to let you know you won a prize but that message may come with two hooks that can drain your wallet.

"They are having to send or being requested to send money as fees to claim that prize," said Better Business Bureau president Jim Winsett.

Get ready for whammy number two. That number with the 876 area code may be secretly linked to a premium 1-800 number. So expect to shell out some extra cash when you pay your telephone bill.

"You're charged a fee for having contacted that telephone number with an 876 code," said Winsett.

WDEF recently received calls from senior citizens who were left voice-mail messages. The caller told them they won a car but had to pick it up at a Walmart parking lot. According to one caller, the man sounded professional until he said there was a fee to claim that car.
"The more professional they are then yes the easier it is to often fool and get people to listen," said Winsett.

The scam artist apparently overlooked a little thing called Caller ID.

WDEF was given the number and told the man on the other line identifies himself as James. A phone recorded phone call was made to James from the newsroom; a newsroom with loud police scanners in the background so James was not sure if if was talking to authorities.

The man apparently knew something was up and immediately hung up the phone.

A second call was made to the same number and the same man who identified himself as James picked up the phone. This time he sounded like he knew he had been caught so he was more cooperate.

When asked if what he was telling people was legit, the man said,"No I'm not. I'm a fake. I'm a fake sir."

The man was asked one more time to confirm an obvious scam. He replied, "yes.Yes sir."

Once the man realized he was not talking to police, he immediately became agitated and hung up the phone.

As the 876 area code, it's based out of Kingston Jamaica but there was no way of knowing if James was actually in Jamaica.

Consumer experts say if it's too good to be true, then most likely it's a scam.

The Better Business Bureau is advising the public to record suspicious phone calls that sound like scams.

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davendianna - 8/5/2013 7:30 PM
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My mom was hit by this scam in 2011. We reported it to the local authorities, FBI, Post master, BBB, and attempted to inform a reporter, not from this channel and no names mentioned, but he had told me that this was just a fly by night thing. Apparently he needs to start paying more attention to viewers instead blowing things like this off!!
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