Crime, Fire + Courts

Woodland police warn of ‘robo-call’ scam

By From page A2 | November 26, 2013

Woodland residents have recently been receiving a new “robo-call” that is a scam, according to the Woodland Police Department.

The phone number being used is 805-570-6779. The voice implies that a doctor, or perhaps children, signed the recipient up for a medical alert system. It’s all free, the recording implies, and “everything is ready to be sent to your home.”

If the recipient agrees to sign up, in some cases it can cost $35 a month or more. This type of call is also a way for con artists to obtain bank or credit card information, or even a Social Security number to use later in identity theft.

At the very least, this type of call can pressure recipients into paying for other equipment or services, police said. In some cases, after consumers press a button to accept the offer, they quickly receive another call asking for personal information, including credit card numbers.

The calls recently appear to target the elderly, disabled and diabetic. The automated message says “that someone has ordered a free medical alert system for you, and this call is to confirm shipping instructions.” Other messages may tell of shipments of medical supplies “on the way,” or the need to accept a shipment being sent to neighbors or friends who are in “desperate need of medication.”

In recent cases, the automated calls will say something like, “press 5 for yes.” Recipients of these calls may receive multiple calls about this “free system.” Some recorded robo-calls are made to sound as if they are “live” with background noise. The scammers are clever; the messages sound just believable enough to make the recipient think that the offer might possibly be real, police said.

“If you have not ordered anything recently resembling what is being discussed, and you have high suspicions that the call is not real, just hang up the phone; do not press any buttons,” police advised. “If the caller is a real person, be sure to first ask for the company’s physical address. If the representative wants your address but won’t give out its own address, it’s a red flag.”

Remember: Never give out your personal information over the phone or on a computer unless you are 100 percent certain you know the recipient and you have initiated the phone call yourself. By entering your phone numbers with the National Do Not Call Registry, you may restrict access for these robo-callers: https://donotcall.gov/register/reg.aspx.

Special to The Enterprise

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