OMAHA (KPTM)- Think you're getting a call from your credit card company or a research firm? Chances are it could be a call from a fraud.
The MSR Group, a research company in Omaha, is known nationwide for conducting consumer surveys. But since the beginning of this year, has fallen victim of the latest scam—caller I.D. spoofing.
"We have a lot of consumers that called us because they knew we wouldn't be associated with something like this," said Tracy Keith, public relations manager of MSR.
Caller I.D. spoofing allows a ""scammer"" to hack a company phone number and use its name to call residents around the country, making it seem like a legitimate call.
"These can be offshore 'scammers' who have no interest in helping you but are only interested in getting bank account information, credit card information, or other sensitive information about you that will allow them to steal your id or sell your information to the highest bidders on the black market," said Jim Hegarty, president of The Better Business Bureau.
The scam under MSR's name starts out with an automated message.
"The message says something like the FBI reports that crime has escalated in your area. Very important for you to consider a home security system," says Hegarty.
It goes on to offer a sweet deal of a free home security system before connecting the caller with a live person. A deal many believed was too good to be true.
" ‘Here's what I can do for you,' she says. ‘$99 activation fee, I will wave. A $1,500 system, no charge. You'll get a remote control and you'll have a medical panic button and a police panic button.' …She says, ‘$299 activation fee I'll waive.' I said that's a lot of money and she says, ‘It's only going to cost you $43.99 a month and that's just from the service," said Jackie Devaney, of the first call she received from the "scammers".
" ‘We're going to need a major credit card or we're going to need your bank routing number so that we can access the funds and then we can set that up on an auto-pay.' So, it could be that you'd go through this whole process, end up ending the conversation thinking that you had just dealt with a legitimate firm, only to learn later that they had gone in and taken all of the money out of your bank account," said Hegarty.
Some advice from The BBB: Never give out your personal information on an incoming call. If a company does ask for your personal information, hang up the phone, look up their contact information online or in a phonebook, then call that number you found to verify if the company is who they say they are.
"We put information on our web site to clearly identify that we're not associated with this. People that know us understand that we're not associated with this," said Keith.
The BBB says reports in Nebraska have been coming in since the beginning of the year. It is important that anyone who runs into the scam contact The BBB to further investigate where the "scammers" are located, to stop caller I.D. spoofing.
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