States Issue Warnings About Recent Phone Scams

States Issue Warnings About Recent Phone Scams

Several recent telephone scams have prompted officials in Pennsylvania and West Virginia to send out warnings.

HAGERSTOWN, Md. -- Alerts have been issued in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, warning people to be aware of the latest phone scams.

Pennsylvania's attorney general said one scams includes threats of arrest for not giving out personal information. 

Another recorded call claims to be from the FBI and asks you to push “1” to protect yourself from local break-ins.

In West Virginia, attorney general Patrick Morrisey is warning people against a scam that targets especially vulnerable populations.

These scammers have reportedly been targeting elderly and disabled people, claiming to represent Medicare. They have been telling people that in order to receive a new Medicare card, they need to disclose their banking information and Medicare card number.

"And they know that the Medicare number is frequently the same as the social security number,” said Morrisey, “And they're doing that so they can steal someone's identity."

A fourth scam involves an automated call offering a free medical alert system in exchange for your bank account information.

The phone scammer says in an automated message: "I was calling to schedule the delivery of your medical alert system. Let's see-- it says here that the system's already been paid for. Again, it's already been paid for. To schedule the delivery of your emergency medical alert system press one."

Some of these scams are recurring ones from the past, and several often involve repeated calls.

"We've received about ninety written complaints, probably another hundred calls,” said Morrisey. “That means a lot of people are being targeted in the state."

But these phone scams don't just go after people in one particular state.

“We've received an increased number of calls related to telephone scams,” said Washington County Sheriff Douglas Mullendore.

So what are some of the ways you can avoid falling victim to a scam?

“You can check with your local police department, provide the number, we'll check it out for you and determine whether it's actually legitimate or not.  In most cases it's not,” said Mullendore.

Law enforcement officers also say you should not be afraid to contact the authorities even if a scammer is threatening you with arrest.

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