Police warn of new telephone scams

Published 5:58 pm Thursday, January 6, 2011

Police warn that a new telephone scam is making it rounds in Troy and Pike County.

A new scam surfaced in Troy on Thursday, and police are warning residents to be wary of any phone calls soliciting credit or debit card information.

“Absolutely never give your information out over the phone to anyone,” said Sgt. Benny Scarbrough of the Troy Police Department.

Capt. Jimmy Ennis of the Troy Police said he received a phone call Thursday morning from a local resident concerned about a phone call she had just received.

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“She said she received a long distance phone call and the people on the other line were telling her she’d been chosen to receive $500 gift card to Wal-Mart and a $200 voucher to Murphy Oil, because she’d been such a good customer of those stores,” Ennis said. “They said the gift card and voucher would be delivered by UPS and she would just have to pay a $1.95 charge.”

The astute woman offered to pay the UPS driver the charge, but was told that she had to supply a credit or bankcard over the phone to process the charge.

“When the first guy didn’t get anywhere, he had her talk with his supervisor, who told her ‘you shop with us anyway … so we have your credit card information,’” Ennis said.

The woman refused, however, and the callers hung up. She promptly reported the call to police, who verified with the local Wal-Mart manger that the phone call was a scam.

“What’s unique about this is they picked Murphy Oil and Wal-Mart, two businesses we have here locally,” Scarbrough said.

Police tried to trace the phone number reported by the local resident but were not successful. “It was not a working number, so they obviously know what they’re doing,” Ennis said.

The call was the second report of a phone call scams received in as many days. Another officer reported that a local resident received a phone call telling her she was eligible for and had received grant money. She was asked to provide a credit card to pay for the processing of the grant funds.

Scarbrough and Ennis said residents should remain vigilant to the possibility of telephone scams. “I can assure you if one person’s been called, there’s no telling how many have been or will be called,” Scarbrough said.

“So don’t give your bank card or credit card information to anyone over the phone.”