Phone call scam using local area codes

Phone call scam using local area codes
Still phone scam.jpg

While most scam phone calls come from an unrecognized number, some residents in the Four States are seeing a recent trend in scam artists using local area codes.

Joplin resident Brian Evans has been receiving the same kind of solicitation calls for the past two years.

Every time he blocks the number, the same call comes up from a new number.

This week, it came from the 417 area code.

“I felt pretty comfortable answering the phone because I get phone calls from Joplin all the time, but I was surprised when I started getting the message about interest rates dropping,” Evans said.

Evans says the message is sometimes automated and sometimes not, refers to his credit card debt and offers lower credit card interest rates.

“I asked who it was and what company they were with and asked if I could speak with their supervisor,” Evans said. “They said they would get back to me on that and they hung up immediately.”

A tell tale sign, law enforcement officials say, that the call is a scam.

“One of the quickest ways to find out if something is legitimate or not is to simply ask them for their contact information, so you can call them back,” said Sergeant Ryan West, Joplin Police Department. “Nine times out of ten, they won’t give that to you because it’s not legitimate, and they have no way of actually providing the information to you.”

West warns a local area code does not guarantee that you can trust the caller.

“The important thing to remember is once your personal information gets out there, it’s going to cause a lot of problems for you,” West said. “It’s almost impossible to bring it back and it can take years to repair the damage done to your credit rating.”

West advises anyone who may have received this type of call to report it.

As for Evans, he plans to continue to ignore the calls as often as he can.

“I list a bunch of them under spam, so whenever they call back they can’t get through,” Evans said. “Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be working because they call from different numbers every time.”

Law enforcement officials remind residents to use trusted numbers and sources when sharing personal information over the phone or via email.

Officials say relaying that information in person is always best.