Philadelphia residents are under attack by nasty scammers utilizing a phone scam to trick people into sending them money. The scammers allegedly impersonate law enforcement and call people to tell them they missed jury duty and there's a warrant for their arrest. Then they tell the person that they can pay a fine to get out of it. However, there's a catch. There's always a catch! The potential victim must purchase a prepaid debit card and provide the caller with the debit card number, which means the perpetrator gets the money on the card and the victim gets nothing but ripped off.
Sounds hilarious until you realize that people really fall for this trick. Are the callers breaking the law? Besides impersonating law enforcement figures - I don't know. The caller is simply asking for a number and people really do provide it for them for fear that they're being arrested. There is definitely a law being broken and the only way for people to protect themselves is to be aware of what's going on.
This is like walking up to a person in public and saying "I'm a cop. Give me your debit card number or you might end up in prison" and you're not even a cop. You're just some random guy who sells pretzels on the weekend and looking for some extra change.
Philly Voice had some tips on how to protect yourself before you wreck yourself.
To avoid becoming the victim of the scam, the following tips are offered by authorities:
• Always be suspicious of unsolicited phone calls
• Never give money or personal information to someone with whom you don’t have ties and did not initiate contact
• Trust your instincts: if an unknown caller pressures you, or says things that don’t sound right, hang up
Allow me to add a few extra tips.
- Stop picking up the phone on unknown numbers as if someone's actually calling you. People rarely call each other these days. Everything is done via text and emoji.
- If it was important, then the unknown number would text or leave a voicemail.
- If it's not a scammer, then it's either an angry in-law or ex lover calling to harass you. In the event that happens, then you don't want to pick up the phone anyway.