Latest phone scam tries to trick consumer with drugs, crime allegations

By Chris Dickerson | Dec 20, 2018


CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey's office is urging consumers to be wary of fraudulent calls alleging the consumer is linked to a drug offense or violent crime.

The AG's office has received word of a scam in which the caller claims a vehicle linked to the consumer, perhaps through a Social Security number, has been located in Texas with cocaine, blood or human remains inside.

The caller, who claims to represent various agencies, tells the consumer any potential charges can be resolved if he or she pays money.

“This emerging scam is very troubling, as scammers are using scare tactics to bilk consumers out of their money,” Morrisey said. “As this scam makes the rounds, it is important for consumers to remember to never give out their Social Security number and report such suspicious calls to our office.”

The scam artist typically uses a generic-sounding name and claims to represent a variety of entities, including, but not limited to, the Social Security fraud department, local police in Texas and an unspecified Attorney General’s Office.

The caller, at times, will give those targeted by the scam a return telephone number, a badge number and a case verification number, all potentially fraudulent details, in an attempt to earn the consumer’s trust.

The West Virginia Attorney General’s Office has received reports of this scam from consumers in Point Pleasant, Ravenswood, Oak Hill and Big Creek.

Anyone receiving such a call should keep these tips in mind:

  • Stay calm and don’t react out of fear.
  • Never send cash through the mail.
  • Never give bank routing numbers, credit card numbers or sensitive information without verifying the recipient's legitimacy.
  • Be skeptical of any request for a wire transfer or to use a pre-paid debit or gift card, regardless of who the caller says they are.
Anyone with questions or anyone who might have been a victim of this scam are asked to call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-368-8808, the Eastern Panhandle Consumer Protection Office in Martinsburg at 304-267-0239 or visit the office online atwww.wvago.gov.

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