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How To Avoid Falling Victim To Phone Scammers

Source: abcnews.go Release Time: 23:32:00 2020-01-06

Nov. 2, 2010 — -- Telemarketing scams have in some cases become more profitable than drug trafficking, U.S. and Costa Rican authorities have told ABC News, and the result has been a proliferation of illegal boiler rooms filled with expatriate Americans.

"There are millions of dollars that the bad guys have made in perpetrating these types of schemes," Lois C. Greisman, a scam expert with the Federal Trade Commission, said during an interview for the latest edition of "Brian Ross Investigates."

Official estimates suggest the telephone swindlers operating from Costa Rica have scammed victims out of more than $20 million, and the barrage of phone calls targeting vulnerable Americans – most of them seniors – has picked up in recent months.

The callers are using sophisticated internet telephone technology to disguise their locations, telling victims they are calling from federal government agencies in Washington, D.C., and providing phone numbers with the Washington area code 202 where victims can call them back. The scammers hold out the promise of a sweepstakes windfall, but ask for taxes and fees up front.

Greisman had some blunt advice for anyone who receives such a call: "Hang up."

"The main message is this," she said. "There is no one from the federal government who is going to call you and tell you you've just won a sweepstakes. The other tell tale sign it's a fraud is if someone asks you to pay money up front. There's simply not a single legitimate sweepstakes marketer out there who requires an up-front fee of any kind."

The latest edition of "Brian Ross Investigates" also includes two other segments on the massive phone scam, which uses audacious, high-tech methods -- and the good name of a legitimate charity -- to bilk elderly Americans.

Original news address: https://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/avoid-falling-victim-phone-scammers/story?id=12024424

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