A recent scam trends in Florida causes citizens to fall as victims to a scheme systematically and intelligently plotted by con artists. Using a legitimate and official government toll-free number, con artists manipulates the information flashed in their victim’s caller ID, tracks their calls, and extorts money from them. Victims are said to be threatened by the con artists by stating that they press formal charges and arrest them if a certain amount of fine will not be paid within a short course of time.
This scheme is known as vishing or “voice phising”. Vishing is a type of identity theft crime where schemer calls his victim and will introduce himself as an official working for a legitimate organization or the government and then somehow gets to disclose their victim’s personal information or directly extort money from them. In another form, the schemer may use technological advancements like caller ID manipulation or pre-recorded messages and auto-answering machine to appear more like convincing and legitimate.
When this happens to you and you know you owe no debt to anyone or the offer seems too good to be true and requiring your ATM or credit card information, be vigilant and take cautious steps:
- Call the organization back. Never use the phone number flashed on your caller ID registry. Look their contact information from their website or your yellow pages. Confirm the legitimacy of the unsolicited call you received from the organization.
- Do not give out personal information. Keep your presence of mind. Do not give personal information like address, birth date, personal identification numbers, bank account numbers, email address or passwords.
- Report the incident to the authorities. Report the vishing attack to Federal Trade Commission. You may also report it to the Internet Crime Complaint Centre for them to conduct their investigation. You may register the number to the “National Do Not Call Registry” this blocks the number to prevent them from contacting you again.
- Get the help of Federal or State Attorney’s Office. If the schemer successfully extorted money from you contact your Federal or State Attorney’s Office to help you file a legal complaint against the schemers. This also guarantees that there will be less chances of getting others victimized by these criminals.
Do not be a victim. Take precautions and make that move to get that needed protection. At these times, being extra cautious can be beneficial in the long run.