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People Warned To Be Wary Of Phone Scams

People Warned To Be Wary Of Phone Scams [Opelika-Auburn News, Ala.]

From Opelika-Auburn News (AL) (December 2, 2010)


Dec. 02--You might call it a prescription for trouble that one Auburn citizen wants to make sure no one unwittingly gets a dose of.

About three weeks ago, Deborah Yount received a telephone call from an individual claiming to be a representative of a pharmaceuticals company. The caller informed her that her husband had been approved for prescription medications.

When Yount, a senior prescription drug intake coordinator with the Lee-Russell Council of Governments, told the caller that her family hadn’t applied for any prescription medications, she was told that the company, which described itself as Global Pharmaceuticals, could still obtain any medications she needed.

On Saturday, Yount received a second phone call from an individual claiming to be a representative of the same pharmaceutical company, and she explained again that neither she nor any members of her family had applied for any prescription medications. She then informed Auburn police of the phone calls.

When Yount got a third phone call from the so-called pharmaceuticals representative on Tuesday, she says she "played along" with the caller, answering basic questions about her height, weight and birth date until they requested credit card information, which she claimed to not have immediate access to.

"I told them that another family member had that information, and they said they’d call back," Yount said.

And call back they did -- six more times that same day, says Yount.

While Yount says she never intended to give out any of her financial information over the phone, she says she engaged the caller in a conversation in an attempt to gather information, which she promptly passed along to authorities.

"If the guys that are behind these kinds of scams aren’t caught, they simply move on to someone else," Yount said.

Yount says her real concerns are for members of the senior community who might fall prey to such a scam.

"What breaks my heart is that there are several elderly persons living with pain who might think they can find medications to provide them relief through this call," Yount said.

Auburn Police Division Capt. Tom Stofer says Yount has filed a report concerning the incident, which he says appears to be a scam.

"While it appears that this may be an isolated incident, it’s just one of the many types of scams out there that take on this kind or a similar appearance," Stofer said.

In the case of unsolicited phone calls in which one’s personal financial information is requested, Stofer has some simple advice.

"The best thing you can do is hang up the phone on them," Stofer said. "If you haven’t initiated a phone call with the party you’re giving the financial information to, you should never give out personal information over the phone."

If one continues to receive such calls after that point, Stofer says the police should be contacted.

"In the end, if you get a phone call and someone’s making an offer that sounds too good to be true, then it probably is," Stofer said.

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Posted: December 2010