Police seek help in search for missing man

Betty Sexton

Some crooks are very clever people. If only they would use their crafty ways legitimately, they'd be very wealthy and not have to worry about being hauled off to jail.

Take the bad guys who have cooked up a new scheme to try and trick customers of Verizon Wireless. They put the Verizon name in the Caller ID window and when you answer their call, the voice sounds like a friendly female most Verizon customers recognize.

But don't let that soothing voice fool you. Con artists are on the other end hoping to get your Social Security number, your date of birth, and billing information. Thanks to Billy and Teri Goode of Pueblo West, who told me about the call they received from 719-822-5190.

Teri said her sister, a Verizon Wireless customer in Louisiana, also got the same call. The number that showed up in her Caller ID was 318-822-5190. The woman starts by saying, "Welcome to the Verizon Wireless National Payment Center."

The Goodes didn't fall for the scheme, but they want to warn others. They called the Verizon Wireless customer service line, 1-800-922-0204 and learned the number that appeared in their Caller ID was indeed fraudulent.

"Fraudsters are tricky and customers should be cautious of anyone calling and claiming to be from Verizon," Meagan Dorsch, who works in corporate communications Verizon said. "Verizon never asks for information over the phone unless the customer is calling us and performing specific transactions such as upgrades."

Dorsche said besides calling, customers can also get help by visiting a Verizon store or by going online to www.verizonwireless.com. She said the way customers can tell the difference between the crooks and real Verizon Wireless employees is that Verizon workers can tell you four things: the number of phone lines on your account, the amount of your last payment, the make and model of your current device, and the date you became a customer. The bad guys don't have that information.

Dorsche said they are investigating and hope to shut down the fraudsters whenever possible. "Fraud in every industry that utilizes personal information," she said. "It's more important than ever for individuals to safeguard their information."

No matter what appears in Caller ID, be suspicious of incoming calls. You be the one to initiate a call where you give out personal information. Look up the customer service number. Don't trust the one you're given because you don't know the source. You are your own security force.

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Contact Betty Sexton: bsexton@kktv11news.com or call 457-8214

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